Should I outsource my customer service?
This is one of the most pervasively asked questions in business. The idea of outsourcing customer service is certainly enticing, but would it truly benefit your company?
The answer is, of course, ” it’s complicated.”
Outsourcing customer service is a big decision that almost every business owner will have to approach at some juncture. Costs, customer service quality, and professional-grade service are all items which factor into making such a decision.
Outsourcing customer service is by no means something that should be taken lightly by any business owner.
At Check Issuing, we advocate outsourcing check writing services. But no matter what your company decides to outsource, weighing out the good and the bad is always a good first step in deciding what the right move is.
So, let’s get to weighing, shall we?
Here are the points to consider before outsourcing customer service.
What’s The Current State Of Your Customer Service
Is customer service a thorn in your side?
Do you constantly get complaints about your customer service?
If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, your company should consider outsourcing customer service.
Outsourcing customer service could offer your company a big improvement in terms of quality of service. I know that a lot of company owners are looking first and foremost at the cost savings associated with outsourcing customer service. However, that’s a bad approach.
The first thing you need to do is decide if your customer service is good or bad.
Even if your customer service is good, you might still decide to outsource it. But at least you have a good idea of what’s on the line following such a transition. As well, you understand your leverage when you do open up negotiations with a customer service outsourcing company.
In other words, if your customer service is good, that’s favorable for you. You are less desperate, less motivated to move to an outsource solution.
What’s The Total Cost Of Your Customer Service Department
Here’s the biggest factor in most business owners’ minds – what the heck can I save?
Well, it turns out, quite a bit, but savings can be a term that’s used loosely.
Many customer service outsourcing companies are based overseas, offering huge savings in terms of payroll for the outsourcing company. This allows them the ability to pass on the savings to companies like yours.
But foreign outsourcing companies may not speak great English, or understand basic concepts associated with your product. That means more training, or it means your customers will suffer when they have to call in and ask questions.
You don’t “save” on customer service when your customer service loses you, customers.
The first thing you need to do is to assess what your customer service costs you in total. Next, decide what real savings would be for you.
In other words, if your customer service costs you $40k a year, you might feel that outsourcing customer service would be a win for you if you could bring that down to $25k annually.
Take The Budget, Shop Around
Now you know two important things:
Whether or not your customer service is already good or bad
How much savings makes sense to consider outsourcing it
The question now becomes, what type of outsourced customer service quality can you find for $25k a year? Next, you simply run that customer service quality against your company’s current customer service quality.
Is the quality better or worse?
If the quality is worse, how much worse is it? Are you willing to live with a small loss in customer service quality in order to save $15k a year?
Clearly, the numbers I’m using are hypothetical, but they achieve the point I’m trying to make.
What Could Go Wrong?
If you don’t perform due diligence on the customer service outsourcing company that you are considering, you might end up with a much larger mess than you need.
The fact is, customer service outsourcing companies survive and thrive by selling companies on their services. So you are being sold. Nothing wrong with sales, but it is up to you to see if they offer a trial period and to reach out to current clients who utilize their services.
This is why it is important to NOT just jump at a cheap price pitch. There are too many factors to consider besides just cost savings.
Make sure you understand exactly where the customer service outsourcing company’s agents are located, how proficient their English is, and how easily they learn about new products.
Expect To Continue To Work
Outsourcing customer service doesn’t mean you won’t have to do any work in that arena anymore.
You will need to produce guides for outsourcing agents about your products. You need agents to understand what your company policies are on returns and how to handle angry customers.
You need to monitor quality control. Your brand remains exposed and at risk!
Outsourcing customer service can both improve your company’s customer service as well as lower overall company cost. But if you don’t approach it strategically and weigh the pros and cons, you might end up with a much larger mess than you can handle.
In other words, you can make things worse.
Lots of companies outsource, but doing due diligence on customer service outsourcing companies is important.