Customer service should never be an afterthought. Instead, winning brands must make it a priority to consistently deliver great service before, during and after the sale.
Providing great service pays off. According to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Consumer report, 71% of consumers have made a purchase decision based on the quality of customer service they’ve received. And 91% indicate that a positive customer service experience increases the likelihood that they’ll make another purchase in the future.
On the other hand, poor customer service is a surefire way to drive away customers — and cause a blow to the bottom line. A survey from Netomi found that over three-quarters of U.S. consumers have stopped doing business with at least one company based on poor customer service. And per research cited in a Salesforce article, $62 billion is lost each year due to poor customer service.
Customer Service Expectations are Growing — And Brands Must Adapt to Meet (and Exceed) Them
Consumers have high expectations when it comes to customer service. And in the last year, their standards have gotten even higher. The same Salesforce report cited earlier tells us that 58% of consumers admit that the crises of the last year have raised their standards for customer service.
The pressure is on for brands to deliver great customer service — every single time. But consistently providing great customer service at scale requires a whole lot of time, resources and attention.
Today, a growing number of brands choose to outsource customer service so they can more easily scale and optimize this critical function. Read on to learn what customer service outsourcing is, as well as some of the key reasons customer-centric brands are taking this approach.
Customer Service Outsourcing, Defined
Before we discuss the many benefits of outsourcing customer service, let’s take a step back and take a look at what customer service outsourcing actually is.
As the name suggests, customer service outsourcing is the practice of hiring an external service provider — such as a business process outsourcing (BPO) company or call center — to handle customer service operations. Some companies that provide customer service outsourcing include our great partners: Alta Resources, Wunderman Thompson, Premiere Response, and Stafford Communications.
Agents from these third parties are equipped to handle a brand’s customer service needs via a variety of channels, including phone, email, live chat, reviews, and Q&A, just to name a few.
8 Reasons to Outsource Customer Service
A growing number of brands are moving away from managing customer service internally — and instead outsourcing this important function. And for good reason. When it’s done right, customer service outsourcing is a great way to deliver great service at scale — while freeing up internal resources to focus on other critical activities and initiatives.
Here are eight of the many reasons winning brands are opting to outsource customer service.
1. Cost Savings
At first glance, customer service outsourcing can seem like just another expense. But the reality is, it’s actually a lot less expensive than hiring and training your own full-time customer service staff.
According to data from Mercer, customer service has an average voluntary turnover rate of 17%, not including involuntary terminations and retirements. And per a Gallup article, the cost of replacing a single employee ranges from one-half to two times the employee’s salary!
Hiring and training new customer service reps is expensive — especially when the turnover rate is so high. Outsourcing customer service is a great way to avoid these costs.
2. The Ability to Focus on What Your Brand Does Best
It’s tempting to attempt to manage all operations internally. But the reality is, it’s better to do fewer things well than to do a lot of things poorly.
If you outsource customer service, you’re freeing up your teams to focus on the things they do well, including creating great products and marketing them to the right audience.
3. Access to Customer Service Expertise
BPO companies and call centers are customer service experts, leveraging best practices and proven processes and procedures to consistently deliver great service. Many of these organizations are also active members of SOCAP International, which is a member-driven association focused on advancing customer care and engagement. SOCAP offers tools, resources, events and networking opportunities that help these organizations meet the ever-evolving expectations of customers.
What’s more, the agents at BPO companies and call centers are specialists in their field. They’re always equipped with the tools and ongoing training they need to solve problems and delight customers.
When you outsource customer service, you can tap into this expertise — without having to hire and train teams yourself.
4. Greater Time Coverage
Modern customers expect to be able to reach out to brands and get the help they need, whenever they need it. And oftentimes, a need arises outside of the standard business hours of 9:00 to 5:00.
It’s important to provide a greater range of time in which customers can get help (ideally, 24/7) — especially if you’re a global business. But if you handle customer service internally, that’s impractical — and expensive. If you outsource customer service, though, it’s a lot easier to expand the hours that your brand provides customer service. That way, customers can get the help they need, whenever they need it, regardless of location.
5. Multilingual Support
A survey from CSA Research found that 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand again if the customer care is in their language. Clearly, it’s important to deliver service in your customers’ languages — especially if you’re a global brand.
But it’s not always easy to deliver multilingual customer care, especially if you handle customer service internally. It’s cost-prohibitive (and frankly, nearly impossible) to hire internal customer service agents that speak every language your customers do!
However, many call centers and BPO companies offer multilingual customer service, which ensures your customers get the help they need regardless of language. Some third parties even leverage Translation Studio from 1440, which enables them to translate within Salesforce to effectively communicate with customers in 100+ languages.
6. Shorter Wait Times for Customers
One of the biggest frustrations consumers face when seeking out customer service is long wait times. According to a Zendesk report, nearly 60% of customers say that long holds and wait times are the most frustrating aspect of a customer service experience.
If you handle customer service internally, there are a lot of factors — such as an employee calling sick — that can contribute to longer wait times. Those long wait times can contribute to poor customer service experiences, which puts you at risk of losing customers for good. According to research from Microsoft, over half of customers will sever a relationship with a business because of poor customer service.
However, if you outsource customer service, those factors aren’t a concern. And your customers are able to get the help they need — quickly.
7. Access to Cutting Edge Technology
Consistently delivering great customer service requires the right combination of tools and technology. But the cost of these tools adds up.
The best BPO companies and call centers use the latest technology to deliver winning service that’s always on brand. For example, many leverage Reputation Studio, which provides response templates, keyword tagging and approval processes to help BPOs and call centers maintain a brand’s voice when communicating with its customers via reviews and Q&As across multiple tools. And Translation Studio from 1440 allows BPOs and call centers to communicate with customers regardless of language.
By partnering with a BPO or call center, your customers will benefit from the latest and greatest technology, without your brand having to invest in it.
8. Better Customer Service Experience
All of the benefits we’ve explored throughout this post contribute to the biggest benefit of all: better customer service experiences. Great customer service leads to happy customers. And these happy customers are more likely to be loyal to your brand and tell others about their great experiences.
Scale Customer Service with Outsourcing
Consistently delivering great customer service has never been more important. Just one misstep can result in a lost customer.
Outsourcing customer service can help your brand deliver superior service at scale. And by doing so, you’ll be well-positioned to win and retain more customers.