Many large companies use outsourced technical support as a cost-effective way to handle incoming support requests from their customers. Often, these organizations pick up and drop off this service quickly because they feel that it's not compelling enough. However, with a few considerations in mind, your outsourcing efforts can be highly effective and an asset in the long run.
Things To Keep In Mind When Outsourcing
- Nature Of Your Products And Services
The nature of your products and services determines the kind of technical support that your customers will need. Whether it be on support or compliance, the rule of thumb is the more complex your product or service is, the more work it’ll require to be outsourced effectively.
Thus, when considering outsourcing or not, work on finding the most competent technical support companies in your industry. Prior to that, however, it’s recommended to look at all aspects of your business, including customer demographics, industry, market, competition, and, most importantly, your own capabilities. If you feel that your company is the only one capable of providing the best possible technical support experience to its customers, it may be better not to outsource.
Another scenario is to consider if the support you want to outsource is your business's core product or service. For example, if you rely on customer satisfaction on troubleshooting Internet connectivity woes as your revenue stream, customers who call for support must receive excellent service. In this scenario, outsourced support may not ensure this level of service due to multiple reasons. These reasons can come from the language barrier and cultural differences, among others.
- Reputation Of The Outsourcing Company
Another important consideration is the reputation of the company that you want to outsource to. You must be sure that their services and your satisfaction with them will live up to your standards and needs.
Similar to hiring your first employees, getting an outsourcing partner takes time, thinking, and effort. When evaluating possible candidates, it's best if you can meet them in person. It won't reveal all about an organization, but meeting a representative at least shows whether they’re professional and organized enough to be competitive in this space. In the meeting, you may also check if they have a proven track record of delivering quality service and support to clients. This will usually be reflected in the terms and agreements that they operate under.
If you can't attend a face-to-face meeting, look for testimonials or reviews by other customers you can reach out to directly. Also, you may exhaust e-mails, virtual meetings, or calls to discuss your requirements and terms, as well as define expectations with the candidate company.
- Turnover Of Your Business And Company
If your business is experiencing a high turnover rate or has undergone significant changes recently, you should also be careful regarding how you go about outsourcing. When there are changes within the company, it can be challenging to manage third-party support. Thus, if your staff changes often or your inventory is performing poorly, you may want to reconsider outsourcing until employee turnover is reduced or inventory ratios are up again.
- Communication And Training
Ensuring that all employees have the same training and experience level before outsourcing can also allow your company to provide the same level of expertise and service to your customers, regardless of who answers the phone. If your employees and agents don't have similar backgrounds, their communication will be less than ideal. This result isn't something you want to see since it undermines customer satisfaction and retention. Thus, before hiring an outsourcing partner, you may want to consider the right balance between low-cost and high-quality technical support trainings.
It's also essential that you clearly communicate all expectations and requirements to the outsourcing company. These include what you want them to do, how often, and how long it’ll take to complete a task or project. You may even ask your partner to provide you with proper support metrics. It may even be essential that you're supplied with call tracking data for all support made. This data can be used to help make adjustments in your current processes or personnel choices. Also, this information can serve as a benchmark for future improvement efforts.
- Customer Feedback
Lastly, you may also consider establishing a program to obtain regular feedback from your customers. A robust direct communication line with your customers can better understand their technical issues and how they’re handled. This information is invaluable when considering whether your current customer service model works well enough or not. This way, your company can also track what is and isn't working. This can help you identify areas where you need to improve or whether outsourcing support is worth it.
Overall, outsourcing technical support can be an effective way for many companies to provide top-quality customer service. By following the five key considerations mentioned above, you can better ensure that your outsourcing plan is on the road to success—continues to deliver the technological resources and level of service that your customers deserve.