How to Outsource Your Customer Service

How to Outsource Your Customer Service

Technology | Posted by YouInc.com - November 25, 2013 at 12:00 am
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Dealing with customers may not be your thing. Fortunately, there are affordable and easy-to-use solutions.

It’s hard to do everything yourself.

And yet that’s the exact challenge confronting many Canadian business owners who struggle everyday trying to stay on top of tasks for marketing, bookkeeping, and human resources management – as well as customer inquiries and requests.

But it’s that latter task that can consume all of your time and patience.

Once someone buys from your business there is a certain level of expectation. They want the product or service to perform as promised. While you want to honour that pledge, you may find it challenging to maintain your desired level of customer service and support as your business grows.

Customers want to reach you. In-house contact centre operations can be an expensive, constantly changing and an “always-on” operation that may best be served by a vendor that’s set up for it. Here’s what they have to offer your business.

 

Up-to-date technology

To remain competitive, a modern contact centre must keep up with the latest technology. Most contact centres offer a range of services that are technology-dependent so you don’t have to be.

You’ll find services to monitor and manage email, voice, live chat, website or fax orders and inquiries, mobile text messaging, interactive voice response, and automated call-backs. Most offer 24 hour service so your customers will always be supported. 

The investment required to match the kind of turnkey operation offered by an outsourced customer contact centre is intimidating. Hiring, training, and managing a team of employees – and supplying the above technology – may be both cost- and time-prohibitive to your business.
 

Scalable, flexible and convenient

The old idea of a “call centre” may not fit with the needs of today’s tech-savvy customers. A bank of employees sitting around answering telephone calls is no longer the situation for most modern contact centres – contact centres today integrate online, mobile and landline communications to give your small business customers state-of-the-art service options.

Worried about customer service bandwidth? The contact centre does the hiring, training and managing of its employees, so more people are available to work on your account as your business grows – just pay the additional service fees.
 

Less money than you may think

While fees vary according to the type and volume of services ordered, you can expect to pay between $20 and $35 per hour. There are many contact centres featuring monthly service packages from $149 and up. Some centres offer per-minute billing, as well as customized programs (for example, your industry may require some specific legal compliance requiring specialized training).

The cost of wages, employee benefits, training, office space, furniture, technology, and supervision associated with an in-house operation may be far greater than you’d pay to outsource the customer service function completely.

If you plan to go global, don’t forget the language issue in terms of customer support. You’ll want to offer customer support in the preferred language of any market you enter. Most professional contact centre vendors employ people from around the world so your business can respond to customers in any language.

A contact centre is an important bridge between your business and your prospects and customers. It should give them immediate access to the information and support they want. Outsourcing this function of your business may help your bottom line as well as enable you to focus on what you do best.

 

Check out this post from a YouInc member on Customer Service.

Have any tips or anecdotes about great customer service? Please share your stories with the YouInc community.

 

Tags: call centre, customer service, customer support, outsource, technology, health

Roger Pierce
With Roger’s experience in starting and running 12 small businesses, it’s no wonder that he is Scotiabank’s small business expert. Roger takes what he has learned and shares it with thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide in articles, blogs, videos, and presentations. He’s also co-author of the book, Thriving Solo: How to Grow a Successful Business.
Comments
Mark Burdon
November 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm
If you are outsourcing your customer contact centre, might I recommend considering a vendor such as HGS, TELUS or others that have contact centres in Canada, not just overseas. Many large companies have outsourced to offshore countries only to realize that when customers call they might bristle when asked what state Markham is in, or basically not have a clue about Canadian culture? If you remember the damage that was done to Royal Bank when word got out about their offshoring of employment, you will know what I mean.

It might be a sweet deal to get a contact centre service for $149 but how much would it cost you to get a customer back if you lose them due to sub par service? The adage that you get what you pay for can definitely apply with customer service. There are some contact centres in countries like the Phillipines however the cost of customer service can't be measured by just the HR costs of an employee alone. Roger didn't specifically mention offshore call centres however Canada has some great companies that offer these services at home.

I wrote an article on a related topic for Startup Canada here:

http://www.startupcommunities.ca/2013/06/14/keep-your-loonies-local/
Mark Burdon
November 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm
Another good strategy is to set up your Website to help customers serve themselves with a knowledge base of Frequently Asked Questions and (answers of course) or a live text chat function so customers don't have to call anyone, they can be served over the Web via text chat which is something Microsoft does well. Support forums are great too so if the question has been asked once it might answer another customer's question.
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