Service outsourcing is a way for businesses to simplify their processes and often reduce costs. Through outsourcing, you can outsource some of the work to a third-party company that will perform tasks for you. Most often, entire chains of processes are outsourced, for example, marketing, website maintenance or customer service. Let’s talk about customer support outsourcing today.
Communication tasks in business are one of the largest items of operating expenses. To optimize them, it is often advised to outsource these processes. But does it really help to reduce costs – or does it only bring additional costs? If your company is considering moving from in-house communications to outsourcing to a call center, read this article. Here, we will talk about outsourcing customer service in general, as well as the pros and cons of hiring an external call center in particular. Go!
A company can outsource three types of communication tasks:
▪️ technical support – that is, a department for solving problems for existing customers;
▪️ sales department – incoming and outgoing calls to process leads and attract new customers;
▪️ customer service department to serve an existing audience.
Outsourcing to a call center allows you to reallocate time and resources to other aspects of the business: product development, content creation and sales. Instead of hiring more people in your sales/service department, you can hire an external team – a call center – to perform a specific business function. At the same time, the call center hires and trains employees on how to communicate with your customers (with the involvement of you, of course).
What is important: outsourcing sales to a call center has its pros and cons. And all of them should be taken into account when making a decision about outsourcing to a call center.
“Customers are becoming increasingly busy, the need for speed and efficiency of communication channels is of paramount importance. (…) In fact, the need for agility has grown across the board, averaging 25%” — DRIFT and HEINZ Marketing “2020 State of Conversational Marketing.”
The more interaction channels are used, the more difficult it is to adjust the quality and speed of request processing. Outgoing and incoming calls, sales and technical issues, forms on the site and letters to email boxes – customer service can be a real problem. And that’s why it’s so important to keep up with the times: to respond to changing consumer habits. Outsourcing to a call center is just one of the biggest opportunities to stay competitive in today’s world.
Choosing a quality call center can help you answer questions about your products or services, increase cross- and upsell sales, help resolve customer complaints, and get feedback on product improvements. And save money with call center outsourcing, scale service levels, expand into new territories, remove language barriers, and more. Let’s look at the pros and cons of outsourcing sales to a call center in more detail.
|Financial Resource||Outsourcing saves money on serving English-speaking clients when hiring a call center from countries with lower wages. When working in the local market, outsourcing reduces costs when hiring regional call centers in small towns||It is difficult to achieve cost optimization in the local market. When working in a country with a unique state language (Ukraine – Ukrainian, Belarus – Belarusian), outsourcing opportunities are limited|
|Time resource||No time spent on daily operational tasks for the manager (control, daily work analysis)||Less control over daily work|
|HR processes||Recruitment and training of personnel takes place on the side of the call center||The quality of staff and the level of knowledge may be lower due to less involvement in the business|
|Flexibility||Call center employees work for your company as needed, not as employees. This allows you to quickly respond to changes and reduce / expand staff without having to keep your permanent staff at the rate. In large countries, you can distribute “night” shifts to branches in other time zones so as not to overpay for night shift work||Possible communication barriers due to the language barrier (dialects, accents, slang). Because outsourced call centers are less involved in the business, they don’t have as much motivation to deliver flawless customer satisfaction.|
|Scaling||If the company is already operating internationally or considering expansion, it is useful to have contact centers in the target country with employees who speak the same language and belong to the same culture.||By outsourcing call centers to other countries, a business can take away job opportunities from local residents. This is not a plus or minus in terms of business, but definitely a thesis worth keeping in mind.|
We have already mentioned that various processes can be outsourced to a call center, even technical support, even customer service. But there is a huge difference between the two processes. And it’s about managing complexity.
An external contact center can manage complex processes, but only if they are highly repetitive. The more individualized a service needs to be, the more difficult or expensive it is to outsource it. That is, if you are an Internet provider and your technical support receives standard calls with 20-50 standard questions, creating documentation and outsourcing the process is one thing. And if you are selling a complex SaaS product to B2B clients, where the manager must fully understand the specifics of the product and the working conditions of the target audience, this is completely different.
Conventionally, communication with customers can be divided into several levels:
▪️ Level 1 is the easiest (for example, password reset, checking delivery status).
▪️ Level 2 is more advanced (for example, I’m trying to create a report in a SaaS product, but I need help with formatting).
▪️ Level 3 – Advanced (for example, I install software on a company server, but I have security problems).
It is optimal to outsource tasks of levels 1 and 2 to a call center – these are standard technical support tasks. Also, a third-party call center can conduct sales for simple products from a formed market niche. Your task is to find those areas or tasks that reduce the repetitiveness of tasks for your employees and outsource them first. And then you can evaluate the success of outsourcing and test the transfer of other processes.
Technical support is what is outsourced to the contact center most often. Its problems are just for 1 and 2 levels of complexity, that is, it is the provision of simple answers and solutions for the user. If the operator understands that the client needs a higher level of support, he can redirect him to a higher level of support. This can be a separate expert department in a call center or an in-house team. The general idea is to weed out all the simple tasks and outsource them, and leave inside the company only what no one else can handle.
As for communication channels: often the outsourcer assigns operators to a specific channel. For example, online chat operators, voice call operators or employees for email communication. When contact center technologies allow these agents to see all interactions of a single customer, regardless of channel, this is called an omnichannel environment. An omnichannel environment is extremely important, especially if you keep some of your communication and outsource some of it.
In general, there are three things that will help you decide on outsourcing:
▪️ Expenses for the in-house department. If your economy shows that the operating costs of your contact center are hurting your company’s profitability more than you can afford, it’s worth making a financial projection for outsourcing processes.
▪️ HR processes. A contractor in the form of a call center is a great help, because it takes care of all personnel issues. When you outsource services, you reduce personnel risk and increase compliance at the same time.
▪️ Flexibility. The strong influence of seasonality on the number of calls, the uneven distribution of calls by day, and other reasons – all this makes a permanent in-house team not very flexible. Outsourcing increases this flexibility, especially with an hourly billing model, as you don’t overpay for “idle” agents, and at the same time, there are enough people in the call center to handle all the calls during a burst of activity.
Outsourcing customer service to a call center is a good solution for large companies that want to reduce internal operational processes and streamline their business. Formulate your requirements, choose the best call center – and grow your business with GotYourBack Support!