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Customer service is a thing as old as business. As long as humans have exchanged goods and services for money, or goods and services for other goods and services, there has been someone on the retail end of that exchange to manage customer complaints and expectations, for better or for worse. Imagine a farmer in the days of yore trying to pick between two plough merchants in ye olde country. One offers quality products at undeniably high prices, the other mediocre items for ridiculously cheap. How is the farmer to choose?
The answer may have been customer service.
Let’s imagine that the merchant offering cheaper merchandise had a bad attitude to go with his low-low prices. He was rude, smarmy, overbearing, and if something broke he said: tough luck. He never answered any questions to the satisfaction of the farmer, and believed that the inexpensiveness of his ploughs was gift enough to his customers.
On the other hand, the expensive plough merchant was friendly, kind, and understanding. When the farmer expressed concern at the price of the plough, this merchant took the time to explain how the quality materials and expert engineering of his product resulted in a higher price tag. She also offered a lifetime warranty and discounted maintenance fees for her products, which meant a higher lifetime value and ultimately less expense for the farmer in the long run.
Who would you choose?
Having quality customer service as an integral feature of your business is a key distinguisher, and customer service reps that know the product inside and out can be an enormous advantage. However, outsourced customer service has the potential to save you big bucks, and may also come with other advantages. If you’re thinking about outsourcing your customer service, this article will help you understand the pros and cons, and help you make the right decision for your business.
What is Customer Service Outsourcing?
Internal customer service departments are included under the umbrella of your larger company. Outsourced customer service, on the other hand, is when all of your customer communications are handled by a third-party call center or application. The company you outsource to will usually be a dedicated organization which employs agents who are specifically trained to handle customer calls, complaints, and inquiries.
Like all choices you might make for your business, outsourcing customer service is a complex decision not to be taken lightly. In the next two sections, we’ll get into the costs and benefits of outsourcing your customer service.
Benefits of Outsourcing Customer Service
Here are some of the pros to outsourcing customer service.
- Location agnostic. Outsourced customer service means that agents can function literally anywhere in the world, so long as they are able to connect with your customers via phone or internet. This additionally allows you to expand your customer service potential farther than you might be able to with a more localized CS operation. This fact may prove true for integral customer service too, however, as the majority of the corporate workforce works remotely through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Less expensive. The cost of hiring contracted customer service agents is usually far, far less than that of hiring full-time employees. Most external customer service solutions offer flexible pricing packages to fit the needs of businesses of different sizes. Not only that, but outsourcing your customer service operations also saves you financial resources by freeing you to focus on the day-to-day instead of dedicating time and personnel to hiring and onboarding procedures.
- Volume. Customer service solutions like Gladly are dedicated companies that do little else than help your clientele get what they need. Outsourcing your CS operations allows you the potential to handle fluctuating or spiky volumes of customer calls. And outsourced customer service isn’t married to your hours of business. With an external customer service solution, you can help your consumers day or night, 24/7 in any timezone.
Drawbacks of Outsourcing Customer Service
Here are some of the cons to outsourcing customer service.
- Shared representatives across multiple businesses. Problem number one with outsourced customer service is that you share CS reps with other companies who are also using the same service as you. We don’t need to tell you that having dedicated agents who are experts in YOUR business practices means higher quality service. This is a situation in which an in-house customer service team may prove more effective.
- Language barriers. Maybe you’ve chosen to outsource to an offshore call center. And maybe the majority of your customers are still local to you. This means that sometimes communication will be difficult between rep and customer if either has a difficult time understanding the other. This issue can be mostly resolved by having a text-based outreach platform for your customers to use, but may still prove problematic for customers who need to contact you over the phone.
- Loss of control. You will always be able to provide your external customer service agency with guidelines to your company’s policies and standards of customer service. However, you cannot guarantee that these policies will be met, or that your standards will be upheld. You save a lot of time and money by outsourcing your customer service, however you risk losing direct oversight on things like service quality, and customer feedback and satisfaction.
How Gladly can help your customer service outsourcing needs.
Gladly is the only people-centered customer service platform that allows you to reap the benefits of outsourcing, while maintaining the control and personality of an internal service. Gladly’s customer service solution has all channels built-in so your agents can help out clients with an average 20% more efficiency. And with customer history at their fingertips, they can deliver better and more personal service, with the potential for a 10% increase in contact-generated revenue for your company. With Gladly, you can save money, handle high-volume calls, and deliver specific, on-brand customer service that helps your clientele feel seen and heard. And that’s worth its weight in gold.
Wanna know more about how Gladly works? Check out this article: 9 Ways Gladly Makes Your Service Heroes More Efficient.