The very phrase “outsourced customer service” can bring to mind poorly-lit phone banks filled with ashen-faced employees reading from call scripts in monotone voices. It probably feels impossible to trust this group of faceless strangers with your consumer interactions.
But some of the most successful brands across industries are outsourcing their customer care with great success.
This negative image of customer service and support is the result of a variety of myths about outsourcing, which this series will address:
- I’ll lose touch with our customer care process—and our customers.
- I will have to give up control.
- I can achieve better results in-house.
- I can only outsource simple processes.
- All vendors are the same, so I should hire the cheapest one.
Myth #1: I’ll lose touch with our customer care process—and our customers.
TRUTH: You may be concerned that “off-site” means “out-of-mind” when it comes to customer care, but a quality partner will provide complete transparency so that you can manage and monitor the process as closely as you want. Choosing an customer care provider to work with your customers doesn’t mean you won’t have insight into their concerns or how they’re being handled.
A strong customer care partner will keep you in the loop—not in the dark. With a reliable reporting structure in place, you can stay informed of customer support activities while freeing up valuable time for more strategic projects.
What to Look for in a Partner
To stay in touch with the customer support process, you need to understand why customers are reaching out, what channels they’re using and how their issues are resolved. Look for a partner with an established system of check-ins, score cards and reporting (including real-time dashboards) to keep you up-to-speed on customer satisfaction levels, service level agreements and other program metrics, including the key reasons your customers are calling.
Questions to Ask Potential Partners
1. What types of standard reports do you offer?
Minimally, you want a partner to report on call volumes and dispositions, peak times, first-contact resolution rate, and the key drivers behind requests for care. Your partner should also be able to provide more holistic insight into total customer effort.
2. Can you create custom reports?
The right partner should be willing to work with you to develop the reports you need to discover trends and actionable insights.
3. How timely are these reports and how often are they provided?
Make sure reports are provided often enough to allow you to stay in touch with your program and make timely adjustments if necessary. Daily reports are usually sufficient, but you may need live reporting through real-time dashboards in some instances, such as live events.
4. Can you share reporting examples?
Make sure the examples your potential support partner provides contain the information you need, presented in a way you can easily understand.
5. Are reports accompanied by recommendations for improvement?
A strong customer care partner won’t just deliver reports; they’ll offer recommendations on ways to improve customer support and satisfaction.
With accurate, reliable reporting and data-driven recommendations for improvement, there's no need for you to lose touch with your customer care process. In fact, the right customer support partner may be able to help you achieve a deeper understanding of your customers and their needs than you have today.
Stay tuned for my next post that busts outsourcing Myth #2: I will have to give up control.
About the Author
Terry Arnold, Senior Director and Solution Consultant, has extensive experience guiding customers in the design and development of inbound and outbound contact center programs in a wide range B2B and B2C markets. With over 28 years of experience in the development, execution and management of integrated direct marketing programs, Terry has filled an ever-widening array of roles related to managing customer engagements.More Content by Terry Arnold