If customer experience is not one of your core competencies and you are finding it increasingly hard to keep up with your customers’ expectations, you might be considering outsourcing your customer service. However, before taking the plunge, it might be worth weighing the pros and cons.
To give you a full understanding of what it means to outsource, I’ve listed the biggest pros and cons.
Let's start with the pros:
Expertise at your disposal
When you work with an outsourcer, you stand to benefit from years of experience in providing customer support. Most outsourcing companies will have a ton of experience in all areas of customer support including implementation, tools, recruitment, training, and data. You will be able to leverage this experience to provide a better customer experience for your customers.
Flexibility & scalability
If you are expecting fluctuating volumes, working with an outsourcer will provide you with the flexibility you need to answer all your customers, without worrying about overstaffing. An outsourcing company will have the knowledge and infrastructure to be able to quickly scale up but also shrink down a support team where necessary.
If you decide to outsource, the outsourcing company that you partner with will be responsible for managing all the risks associated with hiring support representatives, buying licenses for software, and acquiring the right tools.
Access to multilingual talent
Depending on your geographical location, you might struggle to find support employees with the necessary language skills. If you sell a product internationally, you will want to provide support in your customers’ native languages. Find an outsourcer that specializes in multilingual support as they will have the experience needed to provide support in multiple languages and across time zones.
Outsourcing support means that a lot of work will be taken off your plate. There are several things to consider when it comes to providing customer support. Think recruitment, onboarding and training, coaching, quality assurance, and customer service reporting. A good outsourcer will provide all of these services as part of their standard offering, meaning you won’t need to worry about that.
Tools/ecosystem already in place
When you scale your customer service operation, you will need to invest in setting up the right technology infrastructure and tools. Working with an outsourcer means you will be able to plug into their systems and use their tools. No separate investment needed.
Now, let’s have a look at some possible cons. Keep in mind that outsourcing does not mean you will experience all these cons; most cons can be mitigated if you partner with the right outsourcer. By having a thorough search and comparison of vendors, you can start on the right foot and never experience any of them.
Less direct control
Working with an outsourcer means you will not directly manage the support team. In some cases, changes that need to be made, whether that concerns updated policies, procedures, or changes to staffing, might have to go through a project manager working on the outsourcer’s side. However, having a strong partnership with your outsourcer can go a long way towards mitigating this.
Not necessarily more cost-effective
Although outsourcing can be an opportunity to save costs, in some cases, outsourcing may cost more than you think. When you build your team, processes, and infrastructure in-house, you’ll only pay for the naked costs. An outsourcer also has a bottom line. Depending on your setup and plans, it could be less cost-effective if you only look at the dry costs.
Cultural matching more challenging
One of the keys to providing an excellent customer experience is ensuring a culture match between your customers, and the support team helping your customers. Depending on whether you choose to onshore, nearshore, or offshore, the cultural chasm between your customers and your support team might increase and you will need to work with your outsourcer to close that gap. The biggest risk here is offshoring, where your support operations are carried out by a contact center halfway across the world. When choosing an outsourcer, make sure to check that they can deliver support agents that match your customers culturally.
Potentially slower feedback loop
Customer feedback is crucial. Any outsourcing company worth its salt will provide its clients with valuable customer feedback regarding products, services, or the customer experience itself. However, if the external company handling your customer support doesn't have a solid reporting system in place, this could slow down the feedback process. Before outsourcing your support, make sure you choose a partner who keeps you in the loop at all times.
As you can see, there are a lot of upsides to outsourcing your support. You'll bring in a ton of external expertise and benefit from the years of experience that many outsourcing companies have while the cons traditionally associated with outsourcing can be mitigated by being careful when choosing a vendor, and ensuring you build a solid partnership.
If you need help handling your support volumes or lack the resources to provide the support your customers deserve you should consider outsourcing it as a viable option. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about customer service outsourcing, or if you’d like to request a quote, please feel free to contact us.
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