Outsourcing customer service is one of the first things small business owners find they must do as their business starts to grow. After all, you can’t be on call all the time, so you need someone to back you up so that you can do what made your business grow in the first place.
A successful business is nothing more than a well thought out and well executed system.
Customer service is one aspect of this system that you must attend to, just as you would attend to all other aspects of your business. But you cannot afford to spend all of your available time answering the phone, if you plan to run a successful business.
Before we dig into the topic deeply, let’s give a definition for outsourcing. It basically entails contracting with an outside service provider to handle some process of your business that you can’t do yourself or don’t have the time for. Customer service is a great example of this because depending on what type of business you have, you may not need a lot of employees to manage the bulk of the work. But you do need someone to be available to answer calls from customers, and outsourcing customer service is the easiest and most efficient way to do this.
If you think outsourcing customer service is the direction you want to go in, then it’s best to start by sitting down and doing some planning. Put your thoughts down on paper. Why do you think you need to outsource your customer service?
What kinds of tasks would you need them to do? Would they act as customer support services providing technical support for your product or service? Or would they offer contact center services and simply handle your incoming phone calls? What exactly do you need them to do?
If you worked at one of these outsourcing call centers, what would you need to know about your business, products, or services in order to be able to deliver stellar customer service? Use your answers to these and other questions to draft detailed instructions for the service provider you will contract. This one simple step could mean the difference between your business success and failure.
After you have a plan of action set down on paper, it’s time to find a customer service call center that meets your needs. Do some research to find reputable companies that specialize in the type of customer service you need.
Be sure to ask what kind of call volume they can handle. You should already have an idea about how many calls you are expecting per day, and possibly at certain hours of the day. Remember that standard call times may vary widely for customers in the continental U.S and around the world.
Four hours’ difference doesn’t seem like a lot to some, but in the world of customer service, it is significant.
Also ask the call center how scalable their services are. Some companies may not accept you as a client if you start out with a very small number of calls per day.
The number one thing you should be concerned about when outsourcing customer service is the language skills of the people answering the phone. An Indian call center, for example, could be very excellent and very affordable to use, but you must do your due diligence before contracting one. The language skills required for this type of service are a must, and you don’t want to have someone with poor language skills answering the phone. It isn’t a pleasant experience, and it’s the quickest way to drive away business.
Also, you want to make sure you hire a service provider with at least a couple of employees on staff. You don’t want a one-man show type of company. If he or she is sick, your customers have to wait. That is not good for your business.
Seriously consider outsourcing customer service if it makes sense for your business. The rewards could be tremendous and go beyond just cost savings.