Customer service outsourcing is the process of contracting with a third-party provider to manage customer service interactions on your behalf. It is a popular option for businesses that want to focus on their core competencies and leave customer service to experts.
When done correctly, outsourcing customer service can lead to improved customer satisfaction, lower operating costs, and increased efficiency. But it’s important to choose the right outsourcing partner and set clear expectations to ensure a successful relationship.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about outsourcing customer service, from finding the right provider to setting up your account and managing expectations.
Table of Contents
- 1. Establish Your Clear Goals and Objectives
- 2. Know Your Customers
- 3. Do Your Research and Find the Right Provider
- 4. Set Up a Trial Period
- 5. Train Your Provider
- 6. Get Feedback from Your Customers
- 7. Manage Expectations
- 8. Measure Success
- 9. Communication with Your Provider often
- 10. Use a Project Management Tool
- 11. Customer Service Outsourcing Checklist
1. Establish Your Clear Goals and Objectives
Before you start outsourcing customer service, you need to have a clear idea of what your goals and objectives are. What do you hope to achieve by outsourcing customer service? Do you want to improve customer satisfaction? Reduce operating costs? Increase efficiency? Once you know your goals, it will be easier to find a provider that can help you meet them.
2. Know Your Customers
Next, you need to have a good understanding of your customers. What are their needs and expectations? What are their pain points? Knowing your customers will help you choose the right outsourcing provider and set realistic expectations for your customer service team.
3. Do Your Research and Find the Right Provider
To find the right provider for your business, you’ll need to do your research and ask around. Talk to other businesses in your industry and see who they use for customer service outsourcing. Read online reviews and compare pricing. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, contact each provider and ask them questions about their services.
4. Set Up a Trial Period
Once you’ve found a provider you’re happy with, it’s time to set up a trial period. This will give you a chance to test out the service and see if it’s a good fit for your business. Make sure to set clear expectations with your customer service team during the trial period so there are no surprises down the road.
5. Train Your Provider
Once you’ve chosen a customer service outsourcing provider, it’s time to train them to meet your standard- what you do when yourself do customer service. Make sure you have all the necessary information (such as your company’s branding guidelines) ready to go.
Then, provide your customer service outsourcing provider with a list of FAQs and any other materials they’ll need to help your agents succeed. Finally, schedule a training session for your agents so they know how to handle customer interactions.
6. Get Feedback from Your Customers
After you’ve been using the outsourcing service for a while, it’s important to get feedback from your customers. How are they feeling about the service? Have their needs been met? What could be improved? Use this feedback to make changes to your account and ensure that your customer service team is always providing the best possible service.
7. Manage Expectations
It’s important to manage expectations when you’re outsourcing customer service. Be clear about what you expect from your provider and what they can expect from you. Set up regular check-ins and communication channels so you can give and receive feedback. And, most importantly, be patient! It takes time to build a successful customer service outsourcing relationship.
8. Measure Success
You need to measure your customer support team’s performance, to see if they are meeting (and preferably exceeding) your expectations. The best way to do this is to set up KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and track them over time. Some KPIs you might want to track include:
- First contact resolution rate
- Customer satisfaction score
- Average handle time
- Number of customer complaints
- Number of customer churn
If you outsource customer service and don’t track KPIs, you won’t be able to improve your team’s performance over time. And without improvements, your customer service will likely suffer.
When setting up KPIs, it’s important to involve your customer support team in the process. They will be the ones responsible for meeting (or exceeding) the KPIs, so they need to have a say in what they are.
Once you’ve established your KPIs, you need to track them over time. This can be done manually or with customer support software. Tracking KPIs manually is time-consuming and error-prone. And without tracking, you won’t be able to improve your team’s performance over time.
Customer support software makes it easy to track KPIs (and other data points). It can automatically collect data from multiple sources and give you insights into your team’s performance. This way, you can quickly identify areas of improvement and take action to improve your customer support.
9. Communication with Your Provider often
When you outsource customer service, it’s important to have regular communication with your provider. This will help you stay on the same page and avoid misunderstandings.
One way to improve communication is to set up weekly or monthly calls with your provider. During these calls, you can discuss any issues that have come up and give feedback on your team’s performance. You can also use these calls to discuss any changes that need to be made to your customer service outsourcing agreement.
Another way to improve communication is to use a project management tool like Asana or Trello. With these tools, you can easily keep track of tasks and deadlines. And you can assign tasks to specific team members, so everyone knows what they need to do.
Finally, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your customer service outsourcing agreement. This agreement should outline the roles and responsibilities of each party. It should also include contact information for each party. Having a clear agreement will help avoid misunderstandings and provide a reference point if there are any disagreements.
10. Use a Project Management Tool
When you outsource customer service, it’s important to use a project management tool. This will help you keep track of tasks and deadlines. And it will allow you to assign tasks to specific team members.
There are many different project management tools available. Some popular options include Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. Each of these tools has its own advantages and disadvantages. So, you should choose the tool that best fits your needs.
Using a project management tool will help you stay organized and on track. And it will make it easier to communicate with your customer service team.
11. Customer Service Outsourcing Checklist
When you’re ready to outsource customer service, use this checklist to make sure you’ve covered all your bases:
- Define your customer service goals: What do you want to achieve by outsourcing customer service?
- Research customer service outsourcing providers: Get recommendations from friends and colleagues. And be sure to read online reviews.
- Compare customer service outsourcing providers: Once you’ve narrowed down your options, compare the providers based on price, quality, and customer service.
- Set up a trial period: Before you commit to a provider, set up a trial period so you can test their service.
- Measure success: Set up KPIs and track them over time. This will help you see if your customer service team is meeting (and preferably exceeding) your expectations.
- Communicate often: Have regular communication with your provider. This will help you stay on the same page and avoid misunderstandings.
- Use a project management tool: A tool like Asana or Trello can help you keep track of tasks and deadlines.
- Have a clear agreement: Make sure your customer service outsourcing agreement is clear and concise. This will help avoid misunderstandings and provide a reference point if there are any disagreements.
By following this checklist, you can be confident that you’re outsourcing customer service the right way.