Jeremy Watkin talks us through his ideas for improving customer experience through outsourcing.
Improving the Call Centre Outsourcing Customer Experience
Looking back a decade or so ago, I was a customer service manager at a small SaaS (software as a service) company feeling my way through the contact centre.
For various reasons we signed on with an outsourcer to help grow our team and that’s where some significant growth for both me individually and the company I worked for began to take place.
Our customer support operation began to mature and that was due in large part to partnering with a company that had vast amounts of experience in the contact centre industry.
Fast-forward a few years, and I now work for the outsourcer.
For many consumers and professionals there’s a stigma around outsourcing — and there are certainly cases where this sentiment is warranted.
I’m sure many folks have had the pleasure of calling customer service only to be connected with someone who didn’t speak fluent, understandable English, didn’t understand the cultural application for the product they were supporting and sounded like they were reading directly from a script or a basic product manual.
No company that actually cares about their customers would want to put them through such an experience.
The reality here is that the world of outsourcing is huge and global — and by global, you might hear terms like onshore, nearshore and offshore.
While there are certainly opportunities to doom your customer experience, there are also plenty of ways the right outsourcing partner can help take your customer experience to the next level.
Here are four ways an outsourcer can help.
1. Tap into Best Practices from Dozens of Different Companies and Years of Experience
While outsourcers have multiple departments, the vast majority of the company is customer operations and they typically service many clients. I like to tell folks that our product is customer service.
Outsourcers have an immense pool of customer service and customer experience talent and experience. New to the industry, I had no clue about service levels, or Erlang C, instructional design, technology, or a variety of other standard industry topics.
But when I signed on with our partner, they let me set up camp in their contact centre and took me to school.
Are you curious about best practices for quality assurance or surveys like customer satisfaction or NPS? A good partner will help you optimize what you’re doing there and set and achieve the right goals for your business.
2. Distribute Your Operation for the Sake of Redundancy
I used to work in Southern California and was asked more than once by customers: “What happens to our account when the ‘Big One’ finally happens and California falls into the ocean?”
I’m still not sure that will ever happen, but hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, heat waves and resulting power outages all happen every year and pose a severe threat to the level of service you provide to customers.
Distributing your team in more than one location adds redundancy so your customers can always call, email, chat, tweet, etc. and reach a human being.
3. Follow the Sun and Offer Better Foreign Language Support
Perhaps your company has a major presence both in the United States and in Europe. Some companies might choose to source everything in the US, but imagine hiring people who speak the various European languages and then asking them to work overnight.
Sourcing people who love to work overnight is difficult enough—let alone finding people who speak those languages who want to work less than desirable shifts.
It would make more sense to hire people in Europe who speak those languages and have them work during those business hours.
4. Save Money While You Scale With a Lower Cost of Living
Is your business located in cities like Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco where the cost of living is through the roof and getting worse? You can start adding the likes of Austin, Nashville, Seattle and Portland to that list while you’re at it.
Scaling a customer support operation in these cities is expensive. Contact centres are thriving in rural communities where there’s an able workforce and a significantly lower cost of living.
There are significant financial savings to be had while still remaining onshore.