The importance of customer service to a business is often understated, both as a way of optimizing retention and creating opportunities to upsell consumers at a time when they're most engaged with a brand.
Even on a fundamental level, 42% of customers are put off by unfriendly or unhelpful customer service staff, creating a scenario where they may ultimately leave and spend their money with a market rival.
Because of this, companies often use call center outsourcing partners to handle their customer service. But what are the key considerations when choosing a potential partner?
Getting Started by Understanding Your Needs
The art of informed decision making relies on data and insight, so the more knowledge you can collate, the more you can understand your business's precise customer service needs.
But what are the most important insights when determining the right customer service outsourcing partner for you? Here's a brief breakdown:
- How Much Volume do You Handle?: It's not uncommon for customer care service providers to place demands on their clients, such as the requirement to provide a minimum of five full-time agents as part of the agreement. However, this may not be necessary. Ecommerce customer service provider Salesupply, offers both dedicated and shared agents depending on your ticket volume.
- What Type of Service Do You Require: If you're an established business with an existing customer service team, you may not want to fully outsource support to an external partner. Instead, you may want to expand your level of support to include evenings and weekends, using an outsourcer to provide this service without disrupting existing employee working hours. And if you only need assistance during seasonal peaks when the demand for customer service creates issues for your team that is possible as well.
- Is Your Focus Local or International? Many online businesses operate in several countries across the globe. This can create linguistic challenges from a customer service perspective. In this case, you'll need to prioritize multi-lingual service providers with a significant global reach, particularly if you also want to outsource your ecommerce fulfillment needs.
- What Support Channels Do Your Customers Prefer: While your business may process most customer requests by phone or email, consumers are also increasingly likely to get in touch online in the digital age. You'll need to understand precisely how your customers like to get in touch with agents, before identifying service providers that are active through the relevant channels. Ideally, you'll partner with a company that supports multiple channels, including live chat, social media and WhatsApp in addition to telephone and mail.
What to Look for in Service Providers
With the above points in mind, you should be able to compare the market and create a shortlist of outsource partners who are capable of meeting your needs.
It's at this point that you can delve a little deeper into what's on offer to arrive at a final decision, with considerations such as agent training particularly insightful.
For example, it's important to ensure that agents are adequately trained and knowledgeable enough to represent your business. However, this can be challenging if you're only permitted a nominal role in the training process of said representatives, creating significant gaps in knowledge that undermine the quality of service provided.
Ultimately, you should look for outsourcing partners who adopt a more collaborative approach to agent training and enable you to play a strategic role in developing skills and knowledge.
The main purpose of outsourcing customer service or ecommerce fulfillment is to leverage market expertise and afford these business components the focus that they require. However, you'll need to justify the required investment through improved performance and customer retention rates over time, using data and insights to track these metrics closely.
Real-time insights are particularly important from the perspective of customer service, as you'll want to identify potential issues before they start to impact on retention or satisfaction.
So, try to find a service provider that takes insight seriously and commits to delivering an accurate and real-time overview of performance.
The Last Word
As we can see, your choice of outsourcing partner will depend on a number of variable factors, from the volume of calls that you handle and the nature of your business to the key communication channels used by your customers.
Certainly, Salesupply ticks all of these boxes, with a specialist focus in ecommerce and complete omnichannel coverage. Salesupply is also active in 36 languages and three time zones, creating an international focus that can benefit a huge range of businesses.
Salesupply also works with more than 500 reputable brands, while retaining a presence in a huge and diverse range of industry sectors.