Outsourcing customer service in 2023 is a cost-effective way for businesses to support their customers without hiring, training, and managing a team of in-house customer service representatives. As you’re probably aware, customer service is an essential part of doing business whether your company sells products or services, and there are a number of considerations when subcontracting customer service including choosing the right outsourcing provider, setting expectations and goals, and managing the relationship.
We recommend going through the following steps when choosing an outsourcing company to subcontract customer service in 2023.
1. Determine Your Customer Service Needs
The first step in outsourcing customer service is to thoroughly and realistically assess your business’s needs. This includes identifying the volume of customer inquiries you receive, the type of inquiries you get, and the level of support you need to provide. For example, do you need 24/7 support or can you only handle inquiries during business hours in your time zone? Do you need support in multiple languages or only in English? Answering these questions will help you determine the type of customer service outsourcing provider you need.
Identify gaps in your current customer service by understanding what your customers expect and need from your customer service, then fill those gaps. Once you’ve identified your customer service needs, you’ll be able to decide which aspects of customer service you should outsource. For example, you may opt for contact center outsourcing or after-sales service but keep sales inquiries in-house.
2. Research Potential Providers
You can begin researching potential providers as soon as you have a clear idea of your customer service needs and the aspect of service you need to outsource. Look for providers with experience in your industry and that offer the services you need. Consider factors such as their experience, pricing, and the level of customization they can contribute.
Another important thing that you should consider is the company’s reputation so checking reviews and testimonials from current and/or previous clients can give you insight into how the company performs and its overall level of customer satisfaction.
When researching potential providers, it’s important to consider a number of different factors including:
- Experience: How long has the outsourcing provider been in business? Do they have experience working with companies in your industry?
- Capabilities: What types of customer service does the outsourcing provider offer? Do they have the capacity to handle a high volume of customer interactions?
- Quality: How does the outsourcing provider ensure that customer interactions are handled professionally and effectively? Do they have any certifications or awards that demonstrate their commitment to quality?
- Scalability: Can the outsourcing provider handle increased customer interactions as your business grows?
- Customer service: How does the outsourcing provider handle customer complaints? And are they able to provide detailed reports on customer interactions?
- Location and time zones: Does the outsourcing provider operate in the same time zone as your customers?
- Price: What’s the cost of the outsourcing provider’s services? Are there any additional fees or charges?
By considering all of the above factors, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which outsourcing provider best suits your company’s needs and who will ensure that your customers are well-served. You may also want to consider asking for a trial run of the outsourced service with your potential outsourcing partner before committing to outsource your customer service. This will give you a chance to evaluate its usefulness and ensure that it’s a good fit for your company.
3. Negotiate the Terms of the Contract
Once you’ve identified a few potential providers, it’s time to negotiate the terms of the contract. It’s important to clearly define the responsibilities and expectations of both parties in the agreement to ensure a smooth and successful working relationship.
When negotiating the terms of the contract, several vital points should be discussed and agreed upon by both parties. These include:
- Scope of work: This should clearly outline the services the subcontracting outsourcing company will provide to your business such as handling customer inquiries, complaints, and billing issues.
- Service level agreements (SLAs): Specify the level of service that your business expects from the subcontracting outsourcing company. It should include metrics such as response time, resolution time, and customer satisfaction rates.
- Communication and reporting: You’ll need to establish clear lines of communication and reporting procedures between your business and the outsourcing company. This will help to ensure that any issues or concerns are quickly identified and addressed.
- Costs and billing: The contract should clearly outline all costs associated with the subcontracting services and associated payment terms, timelines, and schedules.
- Confidentiality and data protection: You’ll need to establish clear confidentiality and data protection agreements to ensure that any sensitive customer information is handled securely and appropriately. Make sure that you pay attention to relevant privacy rules affecting the country or region of the world for which you’re subcontracting customer service.
- Exit strategy: It’s important to determine how both parties will manage the ending of the contract – whether it’s a renewal, termination, or mutual agreement, it’s essential to specify this information in order to avoid any potential conflicts.
By discussing and agreeing upon these key points in the contract, your business can be confident that your outsourcing provider will render the necessary customer service and that your working relationship will be mutually beneficial.
4. Set Up Systems and Processes
Before the outsourced customer service team takes over from your in-house team or other outsourcing provider and begins working with your customers, it’s important to set up systems and processes to ensure a smooth transition. This includes setting up a customer relationship management (CRM) system, establishing a process for handling customer inquiries, and providing training and support to the outsourced team.
You’ll want to make sure that you establish proper communication channels to streamline communication between your customer service team and the offshore or nearshore outsourcing company. This will also help your company deal with any customer complaints and escalations more effectively and efficiently. Also, don’t forget to provide the subcontracting vendor’s customer service team with the necessary training on your company’s products or services and any specific processes or procedures that need to be followed.
Since you’ll need to monitor and evaluate the progress of the outsourced customer service, it’s imperative to consider setting up a system for monitoring and assessing the performance of the subcontracting vendor’s customer service team such as regular check-ins, performance metrics, and customer satisfaction surveys.
Keep in mind that setting up these systems and processes should be an iterative process that’s continuously monitored and adjusted as needed to ensure smooth and efficient customer service subcontracting.
5. Monitor and Manage the Relationship
Once the outsourced customer service team is up and running, it’s necessary to monitor and manage the relationship to ensure that it meets your expectations. Regular communication with your subcontracting partner is crucial to ensure that both sides are aware of any issues or concerns that may arise.
Another way to monitor performance is by establishing metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the performance of your outsourcing partner’s team and track these metrics over time to identify areas for improvement. This can include response time, resolution rate, customer satisfaction, and more.
Use your service level agreements (SLAs) tool to help ensure that the service your subcontracting partner is providing meets your requirements and expectations as agreed. Encourage your customers to give feedback on the service they are receiving from your outsourcing partner, and use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments. Regularly review the process and training for your outsourced team to ensure that your team can provide the best customer service possible and make improvements as necessary.
Ultimately, by monitoring and managing the relationship with your subcontracting partner, you’ll be able to ensure that the customer service they provide meets your customer’s needs and aligns with your business goals, thus improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Subcontracting customer service can be a great way to provide high-quality customer support while reducing costs and increasing efficiency. But it’s important to carefully choose and manage your subcontracting partner to ensure that they meet your needs and provide high-quality service to your customers. By following the steps we’ve defined above, you can ensure that you choose the right outsourcing provider and set up a successful subcontracting relationship.
Get Reliable, Fast, and Effective Customer Service with Tyme Global Direct
With over 30 years of delivering all the necessary customer services, including managed call centers, DID management and contact communication to different companies, we guarantee our clients a reliable, trustworthy and healthy business working relationship for any outsourced customer service. Contact Tyme Global Direct and let us provide the outstanding customer support you need and generate the high return on investment (ROI) you deserve.