More and more businesses are outsourcing customer service for seemingly good reasons. The fact is, it can cost a business much less to use a third-party call center than it would cost to hire one or more employees, provide those employees with benefits, and handle the training, scheduling, and managing of a customer service department.
All That Glitters Is Not Gold
Outsourced service providers can deliver around-the-clock customer support, easily handle overflow call volume, and help to make your company look larger and more professional. All for a fraction of what it would cost to do it yourself. The problem? Companies that outsource customer service just to save money end up short-changing their clients.
An MIT Sloan School of Management study shows that outsourcing customer service often results in lowering service quality and customer satisfaction. Language barriers, lack of knowledge, poor communication between service representatives and increased privacy concerns can negatively impact the relationship you have with your client. When a company outsources call center operations to an external service provider, they are putting critical client interactions in the hands of a stranger.
When it comes to handling complex problems, an outsourced customer service rep is not up to the task. Support tickets for these issues will need to be bounced up to someone who can resolve the issue internally. This adds to the length of time it takes for a customer problem to be resolved, frustrating and irritating customers. Your customers begin to feel like their problems aren't important to you.
No matter how much training an outsourced customer service rep goes through, they will never know your business as well as a full-time employee. They won’t know when new features are in development. They won't know when a new release is about to go live. They won't know details about your customers and they won't know about your own company's culture. Training quality customer service reps isn’t only about the classroom training environment. It requires situational and incidental experiences that happen under your company's roof, day-in and day-out with other employees.
Companies who outsource customer service lose focus on what's most important: positive customer interaction. Third-party call centers are most often assigned to handle workloads for multiple clients. Their attention and time is split between several companies and these reps are never completely devoted to one company or its customers.
Invest In Your Customers
Outsourcing is not a "lights-out" customer service solution. In order to maintain good customer relationships and deliver industry-leading support, you need customer service personnel who truly believe in your company. You need to manage them, lead them, and pay attention to them. Smart companies see customer service infrastructure as an investment. Good customer service keeps your customers happy, and happy customers are more likely to be loyal customers.