Outsourced customer service: How to benefit without risking your company’s reputation
One of the biggest trends in business at the minute is taking a customer centric approach. Businesses are realising that by focussing on customer experience they can retain more customers and generate more referrals.
Both of these are key factors when it comes to having a successful, growing business, so it makes sense to prioritise customer service.
But what about small businesses or sole traders?
Can they prioritise the customer experience without a dedicated in-house customer service department?
For some, the solution might be to outsource customer service entirely, which is why today we’re going to take a look at outsourced customer service.
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What is outsourced customer service?
First off, let’s start by trying to decide what outsourced customer service is.
Typically, it will revolve around outsourcing certain services like telephone answering (or pay as you go telephone answering), live chat, or aspects of social media management.
However, different providers will be able to go to different lengths when it comes to providing customer service via these channels.
While some will offer basic message taking only, others will be able to answer FAQs, and some will even be able to fully integrate with your CRM and do everything an in-house customer service team can do.
When you come to choose an outsourced customer service provider you’ll need to know what level of support you need from them.
If you just want someone who can provide ad hoc support as an when you need it, basic message taking might be fine. If you need a fully outsourced customer service department you might need to consider a bespoke option.
Common concerns about outsourcing customer service
So if it’s so easy to outsource your customer service, why aren’t more businesses doing it?
Unfortunately, outsourcing and outsourced customer service got a bit of a bad name during the late 90s and early 2000s as lots of big companies outsourced their inbound call handling to countries like India to cut costs.
The practice was generally viewed negatively by the general public with many people feeling like these big outsourced call centres provided a poor standard of customer service.
Today, many of the companies that sent calls overseas have brought their call centres back in house to try and rebuild their reputation as customer service providers.
The whole saga surrounding offshore call centres has scared many businesses off outsourcing for life.
This could be a mistake though, as today there is an active call answering industry in the UK that is adept at providing outsourced customer services for small businesses.
So the question is – should you consider outsourcing your customer service?
Why you should consider outsourcing customer service
There are a number of reasons that small businesses should consider outsourcing customer service.
The first is overheads. When you outsource customer service you only pay for the time your customer service calls are being managed.
This can be considerably cheaper than employing customer service staff in house and paying them a salary.
As soon as you pay someone a salary you invariably end up paying them for downtime in between calls or when there are no customer service enquiries coming in.
When you outsource your customer service this doesn’t happen.
The second reason is simply to provide better customer service.
Without a dedicated customer service team, it can be difficult to give customer service the attention it deserves.
When you outsource customer service you know that there is always someone there to answer customer service calls 24/7.
You know that person is a customer service expert, and that their only responsibility is to manage that specific caller’s enquiry.
Outsourcing is a great tool when it comes to improving customer service standards.
Finally, there is the fact that outsourcing customer service gives you the time away from work that you deserve.
If you run a business, it is invariably a customer service issue that keeps you at the office late or makes you log on at the weekend, when you could just send it to the office answering service.
When you outsource customer service you can get your free time back, safe in the knowledge that any customer service issues that do arise are being managed by a dedicated team of customer service experts.
Find out more
If you think that customer service outsourcing might be right for your business, then we can help advise you further. Feel free to get in touch and discuss your requirements or visit our outsourced call centre page to find out more.