Customer service is one of the least enjoyable tasks of running a business. However, it’s also one of the most crucial—turning an upset client into a happy one is a fine art that people skilled in customer service can achieve.
Because of its delicate nature, you might be hesitant to outsource your customer service tasks. In this article, we’ll cover the pros and cons of Outsourcing, tips on pricing, and how to choose a quality provider.
What is Customer Service Outsourcing?
Customer service outsourcing is the transfer of a business’ customer service tasks to a third-party service provider. Traditionally, customer service outsourcing involved a call center. Thanks to the boom with Amazon and other drop shipping companies, many outsource customer service agents also specialize in responding to customers in writing.
When to Use Customer Service Outsourcing
Customer service outsourcing isn’t for every business, but it can be immensely beneficial. Below are some scenarios when seeking such Support could be a good fit for you:
- You want to cut back on employee costs.
- You’d like to use your employee’s energy for more intensive tasks than the often repetitive nature of customer service.
- Your company is undergoing rapid growth, and you can’t keep up with your customers’ service needs.
- You’d like your clients to have access to 24/7 support but are having trouble finding people locally to work off-hours.
Pros of Customer Service Outsourcing
Time-saving benefits have likely attracted you to researching customer service outsourcing. Saving you and your employees time dealing with client questions and complaints is undoubtedly one of the most significant benefits of outsourcing your customer service. However, there are several other advantages, as shown below.
If you’re currently using your full-time employees to manage your company’s customer service needs, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t need to pay outsourced customer service representatives a fixed salary or benefits.
Furthermore, you don’t have to provide (and maintain) a laptop, headset, and customer service software. Simply pay your outsourced customer service representative by the job or by the hour and delegate larger tasks to your full-time employees.
If you offer services to clients who speak a different language than you, then customer service outsourcing using someone who speaks that language is a huge advantage. Fewer things will calm an upset customer or convince a potential buyer to purchase your product than connecting with someone who speaks their native language.
Customers view having 24/7 access to customer service as a big plus when considering which business they want to choose. By outsourcing your customer service, your clients will have their questions answered and complaints managed at any time of day or night.
Cons of Customer Service Outsourcing
You may have heard stories of big banks like JP Morgan Chase closing all their U.S. call centers despite receiving a $25 billion bailout after the 2008 financial crisis. Some people frown upon moving jobs from their home country to overseas. Besides the social pressure you may experience, below are some other factors to consider before jumping on the outsourcing bandwagon.
Your customers may have access to 24/7 support, but if that support is in the form of people without in-depth knowledge of your product, are challenging to understand, or are unfriendly, you could risk pushing customers away.
You’re Not the Top Priority
Outsourced customer service representatives often work for multiple clients. For this reason, they may be juggling supporting your clients between supporting another company’s customers. They may not show as much passion as you do towards your business, and they might not take the time to learn your business inside out.
Your outsourced customer service agent may need access to your client’s personal information to support customers properly. They may even have direct access to their credit card information. The good news is that many call centers have security protections in place to reduce the risk.
Typically, pricing models for outsourcing customer service has one of two forms:
- Pay per minute
- Pay per hour
Pay per minute is most common for customer service phone calls and typically ranges from 70 cents to $1 per minute, while people on an hourly rate average of up to $25 per hour. Professional customer service agents are those who typically receive an hourly rate.
Several factors impact pricing for outsourcing your customer service needs. Experience, the agent’s expenses (whether they operate from home or in an office), and the quality of their IT infrastructure all impact the price they charge.
Another item to consider is whether or not you need live messaging or phone answering services. These live services, especially if you want a dedicated agent instead of a rotating team of agents, are more expensive.
How to Choose a Service Provider
There are many customer service outsourcing providers available to you. But you might be wondering: what are signs to look for to know they’re a good fit?
Below are some of our top recommendations for picking out the best possible customer service outsourcing provider for your needs.
Understand Their Specialty
Some call centers may be experts in Managing Upset Clients over the phone, while others might have loads of experience dealing with Amazon customer complaints. Make sure to check if the customer service center has experience working in your industry and the type of support you need.
Ask About Quality Control
Your customers may contact you about quality control, so first, you should understand the customer care center’s quality control standards. Ask about the outsourced center’s strategy for managing upset clients and request examples so you can see them firsthand.
Understanding the security software they use (and confirming that they have security software) is crucial before hiring an outsourced customer service company. They’ll likely be handling sensitive client information, so it’s essential you know that their inbound and outbound networks are secure.
You don’t want someone working with your clients who only has a day of experience. Understanding how rigorous a training process customer service agents go through will help demonstrate the company’s quality of customer care.
At IntelligentBee, we specialize in offering outsourced customer service with our experienced team based in Eastern Europe. We provide both email and chat support services with 24/7 coverage, full transparency, a flexible pricing model, and no hidden costs—you pay for results and nothing more.
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