The Economics of Outsourcing Customer Support

The Economics of Outsourcing Customer Support

Companies today must look for innovative ways to reduce costs without compromising the customer experience. Outsourcing offers them one way to do that, but it's important to understand the pros and cons. In this article, we'll look at the economics of outsourcing customer support.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Help Desk

Let's look at why you should consider this move.

Cost Savings

Most companies opt for this step to reduce operating expenses. Many outsourcers operate in countries with lower living costs and overheads. This allows them to offer very competitive pricing.

What's more, you don't have to worry about recruiting or interviewing candidates. There are no overheads or staff benefit packages for you to worry about.

Operational Efficiency

Companies offering the service specialize in support. Therefore, they have the infrastructure, technology, and expertise to deal with customers effectively. You can hand over the support function and focus on your core competencies. 

Scalability

Is the demand for your product or service seasonal in nature? Or do you have a steady flow of business with peaks during holiday seasons? Either way, you need to be able to scale up your support as necessary.

Working with an outsourcing company can help you do that. It gives you access to experts without you having to worry about training or maintaining the team. If you have an idea of when your peak seasons are, you can plan ahead with your outsourcing partner. 

Access to Talent

Sometimes, it's not easy to find the talent we need in our own geographical area. Even if you can, you have to entice the employees away from other opportunities. Outsourcing to regions known for the skilled workforce alleviates this problem.

These companies offer attractive benefit packages and working conditions to attract the best talent. You don't have to rely on your local area but can draw on the global talent pool.

24/7 Support

We sometimes wonder if customers need round-the-clock support. After all, how many people in our target market will be up at 3:00 am wondering if you have your trademark shoe in black?

The answer is probably surprisingly higher than you think. Irrespective of this, if your customers are used to 24/7 support from other providers, they're likely to expect it from you.

Maybe they'll never reach out in the early hours of the morning. If they do, however, and you're not there, they might go to a competitor.

Unfortunately, running a 24/7 call center is prohibitively expensive. Working with an outsourcing company can mitigate these costs. You could even share consultants with other companies to make it even more cost-effective.

Technology and Infrastructure

Outsourcing companies usually invest in the latest technology and infrastructure because it gives them a competitive edge. By partnering with these businesses, you benefit as well. The upside is that you don't have to face the capital outlay or upkeep costs. 

The Challenges Associated With Outsourcing

There are clearly many benefits to going this route. However, companies must do their due diligence before they consider an outsourced answering service. If you're considering this option, it's wise to understand the risks.

Quality Control

You're essentially handing over control of your support operations. You no longer have any control over who joins your team. You also don't have any say in the day-to-day operations.

This isn't an insurmountable obstacle. Part of the reason to source in the first place is to make logistics easier for yourself. What you need to do is establish clear guidelines, monitor performance, and make sure your team has all the resources it needs.

When you're working with a reputable company, they'll be happy for you to listen in on calls. They will also give you access to reports so that you can see how well they're doing their job. 

Cultural Differences

Outsourcing doesn't necessarily mean going offshore, but it can amount to the same thing. Many business service providers and countries where the cost of living is lower. This allows them to be more competitive when it comes to pricing. 

The downside is that some cultural nuances make it lost. Therefore, it's important to choose a partner that fully understands your target market.

Data Security and Privacy

You'll need to share sensitive customer data with the company you choose. You, therefore, need to be sure that they take security as carefully as you do. You must ensure that they comply with all the valid regulations in their country and yours. 

Communication Barriers

You'll need to be sure that your chosen team can speak your home language fluently. There should be no misunderstandings because of accents or different dialects. 

Conclusion

While outsourcing your customer support desk can make sense in most cases, it's not always the best option. You need to choose the right partner, or you risk upsetting your customers.

However, if you do your due diligence, this might be one of the best moves you can make. Our advice is to weigh up the pros and cons carefully and not to rush into anything.