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Tips On How To Outsource Your Customer Service
Are you thinking about outsourcing your customer service? If you believe a third-party company can handle the work more efficiently and/or if you don't necessarily have the budget to handle it within your company, the answer is likely a 'yes.' While these aren't the only reasons you should be considering outsourcing your customer support, they are some of the most pertinent ones. After all, you might be operating in a business that operates in seasonal cycles where you require more support during particular times throughout the year. For these companies, an outsourced team is likely to provide you with the ability to effectively scale your team based on your current demands.
You might even be just starting your business and working with an experienced set of customer support professionals makes a lot of sense. You might even need to get more assistance during the weekends or offer around the clock support and having a third-party customer service can help you do just that.
No matter the reasons, you need to do it properly to get the desired results you are seeking out of it. Here are 6 different steps you can follow in order to outsource your customer service the right way.
1. Establish A Clear Set Of Goals
You will have the ability to attempt to reach goals from two different fronts. First, what do you want for yourself? Secondly, what are you seeking from the company you are outsourcing to?
Let's begin with why you are outsourcing, to begin with.
If your clear-cut goal is to reduce costs, you will want to set a definitive number that you are looking to save prior to entering into any type of deal. If you are much more interested in alleviating a lot of the workload from your staff to work on other result producing activities within your business, you want to ensure their roles are fully covered by the team you will be outsourcing to. If you are looking for the best customer support from trained and experienced staff, you should focus exactly on that.
You must have all of the top-level executives and decision-makers agree on the set goals. From there, you can begin to define exactly what you want from them. What exactly are the support team's primary objectives and goals? Is it to provide specific technical support to any existing customers or to increase the retention of your customers? What are the included services within the outsourcing agreement?
When you are in the process of establishing these goals, you want to seek professional legal assistance to ensure there aren't any potential legal or security issues that you would run into from outsourcing your customer service efforts. You might be restricted by specific company policies set forth or how much client information you can give out to a third-party.
2. Consider The Needs Of Your Customer
Absolutely no one knows your customer as well as you do. After all, you have all of the needed information ranging from what social media channels your customers use, how they prefer to interact with you, and what contact preferences they have. All of these are things that matter when you are thinking about outsourcing your customer service efforts.
Think about your customer's desires including whether or not they would want to interact with a call center, talk to someone through live chat on your website, or message you via a specific social media platform.
By knowing more about your customers and their desires, it will allow you to make the right decision on which type of company to partner with and who to hire for the job. The company that you outsource to must be able to sound just like you in every communication you have with your customers no matter if it's through the phone or through digital means. Thus, they should know your brand and the type of tone/voice you have with your customers and you will want to work with them to ensure they are able to reflect it accordingly.
3. Choosing The Right Partner
Whenever you are outsourcing, you will have a variety of companies to choose from. However, they are not all created equal. Thus, you should look to schedule interviews with multiple managed service providers in order to identify the right one to satisfy your needs. For instance, if you have clients around the globe, you might want to find one with a 24/7 customer service team that is multilingual. Likewise, you should be looking to choose the best customer service representatives with the right skills for the job. You want to figure out how the company you are considering handles difficult clients. Determine how much volume they would be able to take on. Examine their track record and look to make contact with some of their references.
It's important to understand that cheap doesn't mean better in this situation. While it might save you money over the short term, it could cost you in the long run with poor customer retention.
4. Train Them For Quality
One of the main reasons you should be thinking about outsourcing your customer service efforts has to do with the ability to save money on training costs. Managed service companies will have trained customer service representatives on staff with experience handling all kinds of different situations.
That being said, you still need to do your due diligence in training the partner you end up choosing. You should be working with them to ensure they understand your brand and your culture and any quality standards you have set forth for your business.
5. Measure The Success
Once you begin to work with the partner you end up choosing you will want to ensure that you are measuring the performance. This includes doing things like paying attention to ticket volume, average response time, average resolution time, and more. You don't want to completely ignore your customer service objectives as soon as you outsource it. You can still look to control all of the results you are able to get without completely micromanaging it. You just want to be certain they continue to remain on track throughout.
6. Open Up Your Communication
Your partnership is only going to end up succeeding if you have the proper 2-way communication in place. Thus, you should be looking to discuss what's working, what isn't working, what has to be improved, and more. The staff that you end up outsourcing needs to act as if they are a complete extension of your own business.
Try To Aim For Success
Your customers are going to be the end judge on how well your customer service is working no matter what. Therefore, you want to listen to your customers and make the necessary changes that need to be made to give them exactly what they want.
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