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How to Outsource Customer Service the Right Way - RUI

March 4, 2022 Andrew Reiter

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With a lot on your plate, outsourcing customer support is an attractive idea. If you’re overwhelmed between your core business processes and managing customer service, outsourcing removes a lot of stress and helps you scale efficiently to meet customer demands.

But it’s something you need to do right. Sending your customers to the wrong people means frustrating, or even losing, them. In fact, 96% of customers will leave you for bad service. It’s clear why: we all know the headache of speaking with under-informed, overworked outsourced call centers with long wait times, poor communication, and language barriers.

At RUI, we’re dedicated to providing the best customer experience at every interaction. Is it possible to do that with outsourced support agents?

In this article, we’ll go over the benefits and challenges of outsourcing customer service, and offer eight effective tips to outsourcing customer service the right way.

When is Outsourcing a Good Fit?
When is Outsourcing Not a Good Fit?
8 Tips to Effectively Outsource Customer Service
Choose the Right Outsourcing Partner

Not All Outsourcing is Created Equal

Outsourcing customer support involves using a third-party service provider to handle your customer service for you.

There’s a wide range of quality levels in the landscape of customer support outsourcing. Here’s the thing: nobody enjoys talking in circles to a scripted contact center agent who’s struggling to connect through language barriers. They don’t enjoy waiting 30 minutes on the phone to hang up and call again, or calling multiple times to get a problem solved.

But not all outsourcing is cheap, scripted, and frustrating. The best in the business offer friendly, empathetic, and effective support agents to drive strategic improvements and wow customers, every time.

So when should you outsource, and how can you do it well?

 

Nearshore vs. Offshore vs. Onshore: Which Call Center is Best for Me? →

 

When is Outsourcing a Good Fit?

There are many benefits to outsourcing customer service, and many situations where outsourcing makes sense. When your business is growing quickly or going through changes, outsourcing customer service is a way to maintain high quality experiences and stay responsive.

When you need to quickly increase coverage

Industries like retail and e-commerce see major shifts in support volume during different seasonal cycles. With outsourced customer support working as an extension of your team, you can quickly and easily scale up and down to meet demands, instead of hiring and letting go throughout the year.

When you hire in-house, it can take weeks or even months to find, interview, hire, and train the right people on your products, services, and processes.

With an outsourced partner like RUI, you get a dedicated team of highly trained agents without the stress. What’s more, we take the time to understand the challenges your business is facing, so we can provide more than just a body count, but solutions and process improvements.

When you need to scale your business

When your business is rapidly growing, your growing pains can mean you’re not able to focus on customer experience. How can you make sure that your customer service keeps up, and keep the personal touch your customers love you for?

Outsourcing customer service helps you stay responsive and provide high-quality customer service as you find your ground and decide the direction of your company.

When you need to manage operational costs

For startups, outsourcing customer support is an appealing alternative to hiring a full-time in-house team. 59% of businesses say reducing business expenses is the number one reason for hiring a customer service outsourcing team.

When hiring in-house, you need to consider everything from specialist, supervisor, and QA salaries, to recruiting services, call center workspaces, devices, and IT support. The cost factors of initial set up and infrastructure, along with training and retention, can add up.

What’s more, outsourcing customer service means you don’t have to pay for employee benefits, like healthcare, paid time off, and overtime.

When you want to improve customer experience

When you look at your reports and stats, you may find gaps in your customer service that indicate areas of improvement. The right outsourcing partner can work closely with your internal teams to improve and iterate for better results.

A few important results include:

  • First contact resolution rate
  • Average first response time
  • Ticket volume and backlog
  • Average resolution time
  • Customer satisfaction rate
  • Customer retention

At RUI, we work with customers to understand their current processes and obstacles. Through data-driven insights and a customer-first approach, we work as an extension of your team to optimize and deliver better customer experiences.

One partner looking to reduce customer churn mentions,

“RUI consistently exceeds the goals we’ve set for call volume and payment received per month, which means that they continue to focus on our accounts and work them effectively. We are truly pleased with the company and their staff. We consider them part of our family.”

 

- Contact Center Manager

Contact Center Manager

By partnering with RUI, they saw continuous improvement in retention, first-call resolution, and handle time, achieving approximately $9M in retained customer value the first year.

According to our customer’s feedback, this is a great example of customer experience transformation.

 

6 Benefits of Outsourcing Customer Support →

 

When is Outsourcing Not a Good Fit?

Outsourcing isn’t always the best option. Based on our experience, here are a few examples:

When you want to make drastic budget cuts

Yes, outsourcing customer support can be more cost-effective than an internal hire.

But while outsourcing will help you cut costs in the short-term, many low-cost outsourcing support providers can handle only simple and repetitive tasks and aren’t suited to solve specific problems or offer support solutions.

Outsourcing a small number of well-trained support agents isn’t always the cheapest option.

When you want to avoid responsibility

Outsourcing customer support doesn’t mean taking a hands-off approach. The best results come from partnerships with regular communication on both sides. To make sure your support stays connected to your brand, it’s important to check in to review quality and work together with your provider toward your business goals.

8 Tips to Effectively Outsource Customer Service

1. Set clear goals from the start

Set the stage for your outsourced customer support partner with the right customer service goals. Create Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals to set objectives around customer satisfaction and loyalty. For example, you may want to reduce customer wait times and first response time, or improve customer loyalty and customer retention rate.

2. Think about your customer

To get the most out of your support partner, you need to understand where you’ll use them. What problems do you want your partner to address, and what solutions will they provide? What types of conversations should be handled by an external agent, and when should customers be directed elsewhere?

3. Establish your tone

Your customers are accustomed to you speaking with your brand voice– whether it’s on the phone, email, or other channels. For a seamless experience, you need to work with your third-party partner, so they sound just like you. Be clear about your brand guidelines, and provide examples during training to help them pick up your tone.

4. Think of legal and security considerations

Check your legal considerations and security requirements. The partner you choose will be handling sensitive customer information, so you need to be sure they have the right people and processes in place. Have your legal team review your selection before signing any contracts.

5. Find the right partner

It’s critical to select a partner that matches your customer service approach and the quality of service your customers deserve. When choosing your partner, consider factors like primary language, call center technology, and security. Consider your needs (whether repetitive tasks or strategic solutions), and ask for testimonials of their customer service success.

6. Be involved in training

'Outsourcing doesn’t mean handing off responsibility. No matter how busy you are, set aside some time to properly train your outsourcing partner, so they can handle whatever situation comes their way, with the same care you would provide. Keep your partner updated on any changes, so they can provide the highest-quality customer experience at all times.

7. Open two-way communication

The most successful outsourcing happens when both the business and business process outsourcing work together. Assess what's working well and what support agents are learning on the ground. As an extension of your team, they can inform how you improve processes and provide insights to your internal team.

8. Measure success and optimize

Your customer experience should always be evolving for the better. Check in with your partner for reporting. At RUI, our expert consultants use technology and analytics to measure success and refine your customer experiences.

Choose the Right Outsourcing Partner

When deciding whether to outsource and the partner you’ll choose, business executives need to keep cost and quality in mind. You’ll want to talk to multiple partners to find one that meets your needs and approach.

At the end of the day, the right partner will help you maintain high standards of customer service, without the internal investments of time and resources. If they can provide friendly, helpful, and effective service, it won’t matter if they’re internal or outsourced.

 

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