High-quality customer experience is one of the greatest differentiators between a business and its competitors. Furthermore, according to Microsoft, customer service is an important driver of long-term customer loyalty.1 This brings its own set of benefits, with 80% of consumers more emotionally connected to a brand when customer service solves their problems.2
Providing consistent customer support can be difficult, especially for small and medium businesses. As a company grows, so does the volume of customer questions and enquiries, and dealing with this increase can be a huge challenge.
Small teams may be able to keep your customers happy most of the time. But if you are launching a new product or running a seasonal business, things can quickly become difficult to handle without compromising customer service quality. That’s why scaling your customer service function to meet demand is crucial to business success.
Today, we will look at how you can do just that and ensure continued growth and success for your business.
Taking the outsourced approach
As your business scales up and down, you need to reconsider your approach to customer service. If you’re looking for efficiency and consistency, outsourcing is the way to go. That’s because outsourcing your customer service operations is the most effective way to manage changes in demand.
It may seem counterintuitive to entrust an external provider with such a critical business function. However, it provides quality without significantly increasing your overhead costs. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of an outsourced approach in more detail:
- On-demand flexibility: You can increase the size of your customer support team when you need it and reduce it when demand drops. Meeting customer demand or service requests without delay keeps customers happy and leads to repeat purchases.
- Reduced overhead costs: Few companies can afford to retain a large customer service team when there aren’t enough enquiries. Having to foot the bill for a sizable in-house team may prevent you from investing in crucial areas like product development.
- Better overall customer service: Outsourcing allows you to increase the number of support requests your company deals with whilst lowering resolution time. Alongside access to quick-response tools like live chat, the overall time it takes to resolve customer queries is a major contributor to customer happiness.
Consider the on-shore outsourcing vs offshoring debate
Customer service outsourcing is often misunderstood, with a variety of different models available. So, when you’re faced with these different options, you need to be able to identify the right solution for your business.
Two of the most popular are offshoring and on-shore outsourcing, models which can often be confused unless the distinction between them is understood. Let’s get a look at both of these approaches:
- Offshoring: Over the past few decades, countless businesses have been looking for ways to reduce the costs associated with customer service. For many moving customer service teams offshore has been the answer. These companies benefited from cheaper overseas labour, but at a price. Oftentimes, offshoring can look like a decision to sacrifice quality to take advantage of lower costs, and can also result in communication problems, decreasing the quality of customer service delivery.
- On-shore outsourcing: On-shore outsourcing takes a completely different approach. Rather than retaining a large team, your company gains access to qualified, trained customer service staff when you need it most. Furthermore, thanks to remote access technology, outsourced customer service professionals can work from anywhere, ensuring access to a top-quality customer experience without losing out financially.
The benefits of on-shore outsourcing
Now that we’ve established what on-shore outsourcing is, we can examine the benefits this approach to customer service could have for your business:
- Reduced cost of space: If we’ve learnt anything in recent times, it’s that business functions don’t always require a physical office location to be successful, and that includes customer service. Outsourcing your customer service operations to a specialist provider significantly reduces the cost of running a call centre space. These resources can be reallocated to other areas to ensure efficiency and continuous improvement.
- Reduced recruitment costs: Hiring a customer service team may seem straightforward, but you should never underestimate the cost of recruitment in terms of both time and resources. Outsourcing your customer service saves time and effort, with recruitment left in the hands of specialists, so you can concentrate on growing your business and meeting consumer demand.
- Access to expert customer service staff: Despite the skills and knowledge required, customer service positions aren’t always associated with highly qualified staff. Outsourcing changes that, providing flexible jobs that appeal to a different type of employee. Working remotely attracts professionals and university graduates who wouldn’t necessarily consider call centre jobs. As a result, businesses can gain access to expert skills that are difficult to obtain and retain in-house.
Choosing the right outsourcing provider
Being able to react quickly as customer demand fluctuates allows businesses to take advantage of growth opportunities. Scaling back when things are quiet is critical, particularly in industries that see significant seasonal dips and spikes, like travel and tourism.
As we have seen above, outsourcing customer service is an incredibly effective way of meeting these demands. However, businesses need to work with outsourcing providers that meet their requirements and provide the benefits an outsourced approach can offer.
When it comes to looking for an outsourcing partner, there are three key things you need to consider before making a decision:
- Quality customer service agents: If you are selling a high-end product or service, can you afford to employ under-qualified customer service staff? Of course not. Your customers would immediately notice the discrepancy between brand promise and customer service experience. Well-trained, knowledgeable and experienced agents are essential to providing a quality service.
- A proven track record: A proven track record is a hallmark of an excellent outsourcing provider. Ask for customer testimonials and check whether your potential provider has long-standing customer relationships of their own. If not, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.
- Flexible contracts: Flexible contracts allow you to just pay for the services you use. It may be easy to absorb the costs of a permanent customer service team when things are busy, but you may find it difficult at other times. Innovative outsourced customer service is based on on-demand flexibility and accessibility at the time of need. Find a provider that lets you pay for their services as you need them without compromising on quality.
Scale up and down with Odondo
Scaling your customer service offering to meet the demand is crucial to business success in the current climate. However, you need an effective strategic partnership with a provider that delivers quality customer service while keeping costs low to make this a reality. That’s where Odondo can help.
Our model matches customer service resources to the specific requirements of your business. It’s an outsourcing approach that avoids expensive, long-term contracts and allows you to pay for services as you use them, so your team grows in line with demand.
With Odondo, your outsourced customer service team is made up of agents who care about your product and bring with them a considerable knowledge base. We make sure they understand your customers’ demographics, making it easier to establish a rapport that improves customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Rather than treating the delivery of your customer experience as just another job, our agents relish the flexibility of their position and enjoy learning about new products and services. Your company benefits from a qualified, motivated, and experienced customer-facing team who reduce response times and provide exceptional customer support experience.
So, if you want to scale your customer service to meet demand and benefit from the outsourced approach we’ve outlined above across your customer support channels, get in touch with our team today.
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).