The common perception is that outsourcing is only for large, international organisations.
Yet, the reality is that, according to a 2019 survey from YouGov, more than three-fifths of small businesses and 81% of medium-sized companies in the UK outsource one or more of their key services to third parties – from accounting and finance to IT and printing.
Outsourcing can deliver a range of benefits to businesses of all sizes – particularly SMEs, the management of which tends to be under significant time and resource pressures from a variety of functions within their companies.
Looking to a third party that specialises in a particular operation can unlock these, not least by providing access to knowledge and expertise, but also in terms of lifting the burden of compliance, freeing up time for other work, and managing risk.
Supporting organisations of all sizes is one of the reasons we established our Bureau service. The Bureau is a shared resource that helps businesses outsource their customer service function, whether they receive five or 100 calls per day.
Our advisers are trained to work on behalf of multiple brands or campaigns at any one time and the service can cover any channel, to any volume of enquiries, at any time of day or the year. It is specifically tailored to each of our clients, depending on what level of service they need.
Nine Benefits of the Bureau
Businesses of all types, shapes, and sizes use our Bureau service. Among our current clients are: The Lady magazine; Simply Media, which trades DVDs and CDs; online training platform Upskill People; Churchill Retirement Living; and the Royal Horticultural Society.
Some of the reasons they use Comdata’s Bureau include:
- Cutting Costs – Outsourcing customer services can be hugely cost-saving for companies. Unlike with in-house contact centres, they are only paying for productive time. There are a variety of contracts available to manage costs, ranging from hourly rates for advisers to talk-time models, where you only pay for the time advisers spend on the phone.
- Time Saving – The more non-core functions in your business that you outsource, the more time you have to focus on what matters most to your company. SMEs are typically the most time and resource-constrained organisations, with management teams being pulled between different jobs on a daily basis. Outsourcing customer service leaves them free to focus on growing their business, rather than handling customer enquiries.
- Access to the Latest Technology – Partnering with a specialist provider can give SMEs access to tools they would unlikely be able to afford in-house. We have already invested in a variety of technologies such as TechSee, which provides visual contactless assistance for consumers through artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR). These tools can significantly enhance your customer experience and ensure it remains at the cutting edge, without the need to continuously invest.
- Access to Experienced Staff – Comdata’s customer care advisers are highly trained to be experts in your brand and stay within our business for a lot longer than in-house contact centre staff. They also do more varied work, giving them experience in handling email correspondence, telephone calls, and specific campaigns. This gives you access to high-level staff that know your business, without the headache of training and HR.
- Extended Operating Hours – When you outsource customer service, the provider should be able to provide coverage seven days a week – an expensive undertaking for in-house contact centres. Our standard Bureau operating hours are 8:00–18:00 during the week and then 09:00–17:00 on weekends and bank holidays. However, there are all sorts of models that can be created to suit your business’s and customers’ needs.
- Contingency Plans – As the experience of the last 18 months shows, all companies need to have a plan for exceptional circumstances. Many of our clients could not set up their contact centre operations to work from home when the pandemic began – but Comdata has the technical capability for our teams to work remotely whenever necessary. The same applies when our clients have sickness problems in their teams – they can effectively flick a switch and outsource their calls to us. Whatever the circumstances, we can adapt and change to our clients’ needs.
- Easy Set-up – Setting up with our Bureau team is simple and straightforward. We provide the full technical requirements to set up the service – all our clients have to do is divert customer enquiries to an email inbox or telephone number provided by Comdata and our team will begin handling them.
- Receiving Referrals – Access to The Bureau can help small and medium-sized companies learn from what other companies are doing. We make a point of introducing the businesses we work with to one another if we believe they can collaborate for mutual benefit. For instance, two of our clients worked together on a mailer that saw one of them place a marketing flyer in deliveries for the other company, leading to a boost in sales.
- A Starter in Outsourcing – Using the Bureau gives companies a starting point for outsourced services. If in year one they receive a handful of calls per week, and that grows to 100 as the business expands, the Comdata team already knows how to handle those enquiries and is well versed in speaking on behalf of the brand. This can support a company’s plans to scale up and take on new customers, without teething issues from a customer service perspective.
Of course, sharing a resource comes with a degree of give and take. But unless you have enough work for at least 10 advisers, then it tends not to be worth outsourcing consumer care as a dedicated service. And the whole process is designed to be invisible to your customers, regardless of the size of your operation.