Should You Outsource Customer Service?

At the heart of your small business are the customers. Without customers, after all, you wouldn’t have a business of which to speak. The key is therefore keeping those customers happy. We live in a review-driven world; meaning, if a customer has a negative experience, they are likely to write about it—everywhere.

You simply cannot afford to have negative reviews out there. And you certainly cannot afford to have a slew of unhappy customers. Smaller businesses especially often depend on word of mouth to draw in new customers and thus grow their business.

One thing your company could consider is outsourcing your customer service. Not exactly a new phenomenon, outsourcing customer service is currently growing in popularity. And especially as labor shortages loom, this could be a solution that fits your business model well.

What is Outsourced Customer Service?

When you outsource customer service responsibilities, you are in essence hiring a third party to handle incoming calls and also, depending on the provider you opt to work with, they may also handle different types of communication with your customers.

There are various levels of third-party customer service providers, some may offer solely call answering services while other firms will provide you with a dedicated customer service rep. The cost will depend upon the level of service you select. The dedicated customer service manager will generally handle things such as complaint management, instituting calling campaigns as well as implementing customer retention strategies. The question is, is this service right for your small business?

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Customer Service

As with outsourcing any component of your business, this too comes with both advantages and drawbacks. It is important to weigh both in order to determine whether or not outsourcing customer service is the right move for you.

Pros:

• Less on your plate. Let’s face it, small business owners do a lot. Sometimes way more than they planned. Add dealing with customer service issues into the mix and things can slowly spiral beyond your control. By outsourcing customer service and hiring a third party to take care of issues of this nature, you really do free up some incredibly valuable time.

• Longer span of coverage. The great thing about working with a third-party customer service provider is that you get the benefit of their longer working periods. In other words, versus having staff answer calls and respond to complaints, staff that consequently calls it quits at the end of the day, many customer service providing companies have a 24/7 option available. Customers are generally happier when they can get a hold of someone when they need to—not necessarily just during working hours.

• Long-term cost savings. While you are spending money to hire on this third-party firm, in the long run, this investment might actually be saving you money, thus giving you a positive ROI. Hiring a full-time in-house customer service rep comes with a number of costs beyond just their salary—there are benefits, insurance, employment tax. With a third-party firm handling things, you avoid these costs and still get the benefit of dedicated professionals attending to your customers’ needs.

Cons

• They may lack knowledge of your company. Having an in-house rep means having someone deal with customers who is very familiar with the workings of your business. Whereas, with a third-party firm, they may lack some knowledge about your company and its products/services.

• They have other clients. This means that your company may not necessarily be their first priority as they have to service all clients equally. You want to make sure that you understand going in exactly how they prioritize their tasks and responsibilities and what this means for your business.

• Customers may have a negative response. At times, customers can get annoyed with dealing with a call center. It is thus key that you first interview the customer service firm regarding their track record and history of success.

First Union Has You Covered

Many small businesses do struggle to handle all aspects of their business. And yes, customer service may be one component that you have difficulty managing at times. If you are considering outsourcing customer service and need additional funds to do so, we would love to help. Call today! 

Published in Small Business

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