How to Make Outsourced Customer Service Work for Your Small Business

According to recent data, small businesses make up 99.2% of the total UK business population.1 If you want yours to stand out from the crowd, you need to start by nurturing the factor that, arguably, is most important to your growth: your customer service.

After all, 80% of customers say that the experience they’re getting out of a business is just as important as the actual products and services they offer.2

Matching the resource-heavy and always-on customer service levels that larger businesses tend to have may seem like a daunting (and expensive) task. However, outsourcing your customer service can help you strike the right balance.

There are a lot of misconceptions about how effective outsourcing customer service is, especially when the appeal of your small businesses is likely the close connections you have with your buyers. We’re here to demystify them and give you actionable advice on how you can see the benefits of outsourcing customer service — with the help of the right partner.

managing customer service costs

Why outsourced customer service is ideal for small businesses

Let’s first cover what we mean by customer service outsourcing. At its most basic level, it involves partnering with an external organisation and relying on the agents they match you with to handle customer interactions on your behalf. 

As a small business, outsourcing your customer service is ideal to help you better address demand, save on costs and resources, and deliver greater support to your buyers.

But there are a few different ways this could happen. The two most common approaches are offshore and onshore outsourcing.

Offshore outsourcing involves outsourcing services to agents that are based in a different country from where your business operates. This tends to be the first kind of model people think of when they hear the word “outsourcing.”

While offshore outsourcing tends to help save on costs while granting access to a large pool of agents, there are some cons to this approach to keep in mind. For one, these bigger sets of agents are unlikely to have specific, detailed expertise on your business. You also have little to no control over how your customer service function operates and it can be difficult to scale this level of service to your demand, leading to higher costs in the long run.

More importantly, this kind of model can leave your customers feeling pretty detached from your business. On top of common issues like language barriers and time zone constraints, some of your customer service being onshore and some offshore can lead to information silos. 

Onshore customer service outsourcing, on the other hand, involves outsourcing your customer service through a third party within the same country that your business operates. For example, using a UK-based provider if your business is based in the UK as well.

Onshore outsourcing is effectively an upgrade to offshore outsourcing. It provides you with more of the benefits of a larger talent pool than you’d be able to reach in-house while remaining scalable. The best onshore outsourcing providers will even give you a pay-as-you-go model that allows you to match demand to the number of agents you’re paying for.

Plus, with onshore outsourcing, you have a greater guarantee of being matched with agents who can seamlessly learn about your business and provide effective guidance to your customers.

With these differences covered, let’s get into the specific ways you should be addressing outsourcing your customer service 

Prioritise the human touch

One of the biggest benefits of offering human-led customer service in general is the personal connection it fosters with your customers. While developments like chatbots and FAQs are important and great timesavers, they can’t fully compare to the personalised support that a human can offer.

And your buyers feel as much. 90% of consumers prefer to get their customer service from a human rather than a bot.3 Unlike automated systems, human agents can provide empathy, tailor their responses to individual needs, and handle complex or sensitive issues with nuance and understanding.

When a customer faces a problem or has a query, speaking with an expert who can listen, understand, and provide informed and empathetic solutions is invaluable. This level of service can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Suggested reading: There are a ton of ways you can incorporate tech into your customer service — check out our guide to call centre technology trends for 2024  

Invest in a scalable approach

For small businesses like yours, adapting to market changes and demand fluctuations is crucial. Whether it’s due to seasonal changes, different marketing campaigns, or any kind of unforeseen circumstance, you should have a customer service function that can be easily adjusted to demand.

Otherwise, you risk either:

  • Paying for a large number of agents you don’t actually need and suffering poor ROI as a result.
  • Not having enough agents to address customer service demand and harming your brand reputation.

This is where relying on a specialised outsourced customer service provider comes in handy. On top of using one that can match you with highly skilled agents to begin with, you should look for a provider that offers you flexible pricing. That way you’re never paying too little or too much for your customer service.

Cost efficiency and resource allocation

Investing in cost effective customer service has a lot of knock-on benefits. 

For one, it lessens the need for large investments in your customer service infrastructure and staffing. The savings you get out of it can be redirected into other core areas of your business that need attention, like product development, marketing, expanding your sites… the possibilities are honestly endless. 

You also get to free up your internal resources. As a small business, you and your teams are likely juggling a lot of different hats and tasks. When you leave your customer service functions to a trusted partner, you can give yourselves a lot of free time that can be focused on other, higher-level jobs. All while resting assured that your customers are receiving excellent support.

Prime your small business for growth with Odondo’s support

As a small business owner, there’s no better time for you to realise the benefits of advancing your customer service function. 40% of companies still view customer service as an expense, rather than an investment.4 And a lot of that is because while 80% of companies believe they offer great customer experiences, just 8% of buyers actually agree.5

If you want to rise above that and have all of your existing (and prospective!) customers coming back to your business for more, don’t hesitate to see the benefits of outsourcing your customer service.

We at Odondo are here to help. As seasoned experts in the world of onshore outsourcing, we can match you with agents who will immediately supercharge how you support your customers. With our partner-led approach and pay-as-you-go model, you can guarantee you’ll get a bespoke strategy that gives you total bang for your buck.

Find out more about how we can help you grow your small business’s customer service by getting in touch today!

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1 Business population estimates for the UK and regions 2023: statistical release – GOV.UK
2 State of the Connected Customer report
3 25 stats about AI in customer experience that show how consumers really feel
4 40 Customer Service Statistics for Small Business
5 Customer Experience Is The New Brand

Bobby Devins

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.

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