Many think of customer service outsourcing as expensive, inflexible, and low-quality. You might expect non-native speaking agents, and a call centre partner who is disconnected from the heart of your company’s operations.
If you’ve fallen into the trap of believing any of the above, it’s time to rethink your approach to outsourcing customer service. When done in the right way, outsourcing can be an effective way to rapidly scale, flex your CS team according to demand, and optimise customer experiences — all while providing significant cost-savings.
In this article, we’re going to look at four common myths surrounding outsourcing customer service and debunk them as we go. Let’s get started!
Myth 1: Outsourcing is the same as offshoring
Outsourcing and offshoring are often assumed to go hand in hand. This is in large part due to media coverage of outsourced customer service — which tends to refer to the two terms as synonymous.1
Reality: offshoring is a type of outsourcing
In actual fact, offshoring is just one of several different types of customer service outsourcing. Most businesses will have two key options when it comes to outsourcing:
- Offshore outsourcing = Using the services of low-cost agents that are located in a third-party country.
- Onshore outsourcing = Using the services of agents based in the same country as the business at hand.
In most cases, onshore outsourcing is the best choice. This is because agents are more experienced in their respective fields and can understand the specific headwinds and challenges customers face in the UK. Plus, many offshore agents face language barriers that make communicating with your customer base difficult — an onshore team eliminates this problem.
With the right provider, your CS quality will be higher and agents will be highly reliable and responsive. Onshore outsourcing can also give you a competitive edge, allowing you to:
- Introduce omnichannel customer services
- Rapidly scale outsourcing services according to demand
- Reduce CS costs by eliminating the need for permanent, full-time staff
- And source the best skilled talent, with agents who are experts in your field from around the UK
Myth 2: Customer service quality goes down
Outsourcing customer service can leave business owners feeling uneasy, often assuming the quality of their CS function will decrease and that the subsequent cost of poor customer service will be high.
This has historically been true — after all, offshore agents are so distant from the business that it’s hard for them to get a clear idea of their brand identity and messaging. But onshore outsourced customer service teams take a different approach…
Reality: the right partner can make all the difference
The right onshore team will ensure the quality of your customer service remains high. Distributed call centres — where agents are based in locations around the UK and work remotely — are generally the best choice for achieving a high standard of service. They can:
- Match you with agents experienced in your industry: Distributed onshore call centres have access to expert agents around the country. This ensures your customers are talking to experts within your relevant field, rather than a standard agent. This has the potential to massively extend the reach of expertise within your workforce without needing to invest time and money training your customer service team. Whether you’re looking for eCommerce customer service outsourcing or financial industry customer support, distributed centres can connect you to your best-fit agents.
- Connect with your brand identity and tone: Great outsourcing partners use your communication style, deeply understanding the ins and outs of your tone of voice and what makes your customer service stand out above the rest. Using a consistent communication style builds trust between you and your customer base.
- Cut wait times by scaling on demand: A good onshore call centre will allow you to rapidly scale your customer service up or down, depending on demand. This will enable you to process a higher volume of tickets at a faster pace, improving customer service quality and customer satisfaction.
Myth 3: You lose control over your customer service
This common outsourcing myth is born from the idea that moving your CS to an external team will reduce your visibility over your customer interactions. Once again, whether this myth is true or not will depend on which provider you partner with and the extent to which they collaborate with your team.
Reality: You can choose to stay in control
Some businesses prefer to outsource and keep a distance from their customer services — but most will want a high level of visibility and control over how their CS team operates.
The best outsourcing partners will regularly send detailed updates, so you’ll be kept in the loop and remain well in control. Being equipped with these regular updates means that you’ll receive all of the feedback needed to improve customer service efficiency, and, if this is your first outsourcing experience, get better insight into how an efficient CS team operates.
If control is a top priority for you, it may be worth considering a hybrid CS model:
Hybrid customer service = Using a mix of outsourced customer service and in-house teams.
This allows you to keep your core CS close to the heart of your business, and use outsourcing when demand increases or you need overflow call answering services.
This solution works well for small/medium-sized businesses with an already-established customer service team, who are looking to expand their workforce. The burden of hiring and training new staff members dissolves, and you can avoid the stressful process of firing existing staff members.
Myth 4: It’s not relevant to small businesses
‘I own a small business; surely outsourcing my customer service team will eat up our budget and wind up being more trouble than it’s worth?’.
Being concerned about budgetary and time constraints as a small business is natural. But compared to most traditional customer service models, outsourcing is a highly cost-effective solution.
Reality: Small businesses benefit from a pay-as-you-use model
Outsourcing brings a plethora of benefits to small-sized businesses where manpower needs to be focused on other core areas of the business. Many outsourcing companies will offer ‘pay-as-you-use’ pricing models, allowing you to:
- Eliminate the upfront costs of hiring an in-house team, software development, and procuring the right call centre infrastructure
- Minimise costs while maximising your customer service flexibility
- Rapidly scale up customer services as your business grows or demand fluctuates
Small businesses can also benefit from the overall flexibility of outsourcing. Hiring an in-house team of staff who work 9-5 — or even 24/7 — can be incredibly expensive. By outsourcing your customer service, you can extend your CS hours and provide a higher level of support to your customers at a lower cost.
This is crucial during the high-growth stage of your business, when maintaining customer satisfaction and getting your brand message out there is essential to increasing profitability.
Outsourcing can meet a range of business needs
Many of the myths surrounding outsourced CS are based on offshore outsourcing — which is characterised by low-quality, low-cost customer support. In this article, we’ve debunked the top outsourcing myths and shown that the outsourcing industry is so much more than offshore services.
Onshore outsourcing is an effective way to scale up your customer services while continuing to deliver high-quality support. And while a fully outsourced team won’t be the right choice for every business, the flexibility of onshore outsourcing means you can decide to keep some or all of your core customer services in-house.
Odondo is a UK-based outsourcing partner with an extensive network of experienced agents. Odondo is renowned for its:
- Experienced agents who are matched with businesses based on their specialisms and skills
- Long-term partnerships based in reliable, trustworthy and high-quality customer services
- Supportive management: each business is assigned a dedicated account manager who will work alongside them to manage CS operations
- Flexible pricing with no fixed-term contracts. So you only pay for what you use
Want to learn more about how we can help your business today? Speak to an expert.
Bobby spent 11 years as an Investment Banker before going on to co-found his own e-commerce start-up, where Customer Service was one of the core functions that fell under his remit.
He has spent the past 9 years in and around the start-up space, most recently co-founding Odondo with the aim of reimagining the delivery of Customer Service. Bobby has pursued a very traditional career path for someone who ultimately aspires to be a hardcore gangsta rapper.