What is the Best Customer Service Model in 2021?

Your Guide to Customer Satisfaction

Operating a successful business requires awareness of customers and their needs. Customer service tools can range from self-help options to specialised technical support, and these services are needed throughout the entire lifecycle of a given product or service.

But, what is the best way to go about constructing a customer service model which is right for your business? Customer service models that both recognise your unique business requirements and satisfy your customers can be expensive, time-consuming, and at times, not feasible given your in-house capacities.

In this article, we’ll be looking at how best to keep customers happy through a detailed consideration of customer service models, and discussing how outsourcing customer support can be a quality-driven decision.

Back to customer service basics…  

Customer service models are key to satisfied customers — satisfied customers make your business grow and succeed. But first… 

What is a customer service model? 

Briefly put, a customer service model is a plan or strategy designed to effectively deal with customers who have questions, issues or complaints whilst engaging with your business. 

Customer service models are most successful when contextually tailored to specific business requirements and its operations. This of course requires understanding how your existing customer service function is performing. 

Why are these models important?

A well-executed customer service model offers a number of benefits to your business. These include: 

  • Reputation boosts: Customer service models are necessary to turn dissatisfactory encounters into positive ones and boost your brand’s reputation as trustworthy and customer-oriented. 
  • Customer retention: Putting the effort in to make sure they leave (and remain) satisfied is a way of generating loyal repeat customers. After all, it is 5x more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an old one. 
  • Consumer Endorsement: Satisfactory experiences don’t just retain existing customers, it prompts recommendations to new potential customers too. Given the current prevalence of customer testimony on social media, it couldn’t be more important to produce positive endorsement and social proof. 
  • Insights and feedback: Without the capacity for customers to communicate their gripes to you, you lack insight into your business, products, and services. A customer service model which opens up channels of communication is a perfect way to illuminate where your business both works and doesn’t. 

How can you evaluate your current model? 

To construct your new model, you’ll need a detailed audit of your function as it stands now. The best way of achieving this is to pose questions relating to current capabilities, existing customer experiences, and future capacities. 

  • Current capabilities: After asking certain questions about how you do things currently, you can reflect, set targets, and refine your current model so it’s better tailored to your business needs.
  • Customer experience: After assessing your current capabilities you’ll need to review how well they serve your customers. By analysing this, you can come to understand specific function shortcomings, and in what areas adjustments should take place. 
  • Future capacity: Whatever your specific goals as a business, you should be looking towards future demand and support capacities. If your current function predictively cannot accommodate the support demand that could grow as your business does, then you need to expand your function. 
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Tailor your model to your requirements!

Effective customer service models are ones that take into account the nuances of your business operations. In this section we’ll go over four different customer service levels (0-3) and what support each category entails. From here, you’ll be better suited to consider how each kind of function might form part of your specific customer service model.

Type of CS Support What is it? Why do you need it? 
Level 0This category of support includes self-service and other automated options — such as chatbots, document assistance for complex products, and pages devoted to FAQs. If you can preempt problems effectively, this level of support is a great way to resolve issues without needing agents.
Level 1This level focuses on ‘front-line’ support. Essentially, agents here solve the kinds of individual, unique problems that can’t be remedied by Level 0 tools. These kinds of agents don’t require in-depth product knowledge to solve these problems. This kind of customer service offering is vital if you want your customers to feel seen and heard. Exceptional front-line support demonstrates to your customers that you value them. 
Level 2This category involves more complex ‘problem solving’ and are ones which your agents at Level 1 probably aren’t equipped to resolve. Accordingly, agents at Level 2 should be more senior, and able to provide more intricate support. Mastering Level 2 support shows a real depth of skill and attention to your customers. If you deliver this kind of support effectively you can inspire truthful, meaningful customer testimony that speaks to your agents adeptness as technical support.  
Level 3Here we find ‘technical support’ — technical issues often require the likes of engineering and IT teams to implement technical alterations. Communication between various employees and customers can be tricky here, so requires extensive technical knowledge.This kind of support may be necessary given the nature of your products or services. What’s more, it is necessary to effectively deliver technical support like this. If your product is complicated and your customers can’t use it, you’ll lose them and potentially put off new customers too. 

Some businesses may only require lower levels of support to constitute their customer service models, whereas others might be best served by all four. It’s about working out what levels you need to offer within the context of your operations. 

With different levels of support now characterised, it’s time to assess what customer service tools are best suited to being outsourced.

Outsource what you can’t do in-house

As a business it’s natural to want to focus on growth, maintaining quality, and achieving goals, all whilst offering customers the best kinds of support possible. But these support services can be expensive and demanding to maintain, particularly across multiple channels. In any case, outsourcing with an expert can be a great help, let’s find out why: 

1. High-quality agents

First, note that outsourced support doesn’t necessarily equate to offshore support. Whilst the latter notoriously results in lower-skilled (albeit cheaper) agents, outsourced onshore agents — like those at Odondo — are of a much higher skill set and quality.

The specialist nature of Odondo’s onshore agents partly derives from a ‘distributed model’. Rather than traditional support services with physical locations, distributed models like Odondo’s allow agents to work remotely. The simplest upshot of this distributed model is greater on-demand access to broader talent pools of experienced, specialist agents.  

Omnichannel

Remember: Odondo’s agents can form the entirety of your customer support team, augment an existing function (such as technical agents needed for Level 3 support), or remove pressure from agents at the lower levels of support.

2. Flexibility

Flexible access to customer service resources is particularly useful for businesses who: 

  • Experience seasonal peak times (particularly those in eCommerce).
  • Are undergoing (or planning to undergo) high-growth periods.

In these scenarios, additional support is needed to satisfy periodically demanding customer bases — the last thing any business wants is to be overwhelmed when it comes to keeping customers on-side. 

Odondo’s outsourced agents can be rapidly deployed to assist with fluctuating customer service needs. Such agents are ready to jump in when necessary, with support scaling up and down with demand, rather than only being available in a ‘static’ sense like traditional third-party support. 

This way of operating means that the lengthy in-house recruitment processes are removed and your business always has flexible access to support resources.

chart showing growth

3. Cost-efficiency 

Outsourcing also offers numerous cost-saving benefits, this approach allows you to: 

  • Eliminate overheads: Avoid making long-term structural and technological commitments when the need for such capacities is only temporary
  • Avoid recruitment costs: Recruitment processes are lengthy and expensive, avoid these associated costs by accessing agent talent pools quickly through outsourcers
  • Pay-as-you-use: With certain outsourcers, you simply utilise agents as and when needed. With Odondo, you always have the spare capacity ready, whilst only paying for what you actually use. (Critical note: Watch out for outsourcers who tie you into fixed contracts, as this does not provide you with the necessary flexibility or cost-efficiency)
  • Realign business focus: Gain undistracted focus on other profit-generating business aims — when you choose to outsource agents you can focus on wider business growth 
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Partner with Odondo

Here we’ve discussed the nature and importance of customer service models, alongside the questions you should be asking about your business before you go about formulating one. However, irrespective of whatever structure your model takes, it’s clear that outsourcing can often play a crucial role.

But not all outsourcing partners are made equal. Odondo provides specialised onshore agents who can operate at the various levels of customer support that your business specifically needs. The pay-as-you-use distributed model used at Odondo offers flexibility and helps keep costs low — allowing you to satisfy the fluctuating needs of customers, and to focus on other areas of your business. 
If you’re looking to profit from the kind of outsourced customer service model we’ve just described, then get in touch today.

Aamir Baloch

Aamir is one of the Co-Founders at Odondo, where he obsesses over the details to deliver a strong and compelling proposition for each of his clients.

Prior to Odondo, he was CTO at one of the UK's largest price comparison websites, with contact centres in the UK and India. In his spare time, he loves reading, politics, tennis, and playing the piano (badly).

Front cover of the new approach to customer service ebook

How to keep customer service agile, improve customer experiences and increase retention.

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