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How to Outsource Customer Support

Call centers that strive for efficiency often undergo major upgrades in technology, staffing, and even training to maintain internal customer support teams. This often leads to unpredictable costs, making budgeting and capacity planning a headache. 

Outsourcing customer support is the solution to this problem. The process enables access to advanced technologies and on-demand, flexible staffing, leading to increased productivity with little cost. 

In this article about how to outsource customer support and outsourcing customer service costs, you will learn how to leverage outsourcing to enhance service levels. 

What Is Outsourced Customer Support

Before we delve into tips on how to outsource customer support, we will explain what outsourced support entails. Outsourced customer support means using an external company that will handle some or even all of a business’s customer service needs rather than relying on a single internal team. Usually, this means hiring a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider. They could also be an independent call center or on-demand support service. Around 84% of companies that invest in their customer experience report an increase in profit.

In addition, 54% of all companies now rely solely on some degree of outsourced customer support, further emphasizing how mainstream tapping external teams have become. Besides profit increase, other benefits of outsourcing are as follows:

  • Access to existing infrastructure: there is no need to invest in building a support center’s worth of technology, tools, or other processes.
  • Flexible capacity – there is no need to expand full-time staff by scaling up and down to match demand. 
  • Specialized expertise – outsourcing support teams focus deeply on innovations, best practices, and the latest tools.

The outsourcer is an extension of the client business. They handle different customer queries, from ticket management to even social media presence and engagement. This allows the business to concentrate its resources on core products and operations rather than support overhead.

Outsourcing Customer Support

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As customers continue to raise their expectations for timely and personalized services, many businesses now turn to outsourcing to handle these increasing support requests and scale ongoing operations effectively. Recent research has shown that 65% of customers change to a different brand because of encountering a poor experience with a customer service representative. 

Fortunately, global outsourcing firms now provide access to advanced resolution tools and proven support practices. Many global companies have cut their costs a lot by moving some customer support to service providers. They have done this instead of relying only on in-house teams.  But success with customer service outsourcing doesn’t come without effort. 

Below, we present five expert tips on how to outsource customer support for enhanced benefits: 

Define your goals clearly

Take your time to find the business goals you want to achieve with your outsourcing partner. You should strive to achieve some common goals, including cutting support costs and boosting first contact resolution rates. This will lead to you gaining the flexibility to meet seasonal peaks or fluctuations more efficiently.

Make sure to create quantitative targets around certain metrics. For example, you might create a target for support costs to decrease to X% of revenue, inquiry response times to reduce by Y hours, or customer satisfaction scores to improve by Z%. 

Outline priorities for the provider so expectations are aligned from the start on what success looks like. Finally, revisit goals regularly to track how much progress you have made.

Understand the requirements of your customers

Carefully document where, when, why, and how your current customers seek support to help your potential partners understand the required service levels. Make sure to assess types of inquiries, inquiry volume by channel ( email, chat, phone, social media), typical response time, and what content leads to issue resolution.

In addition, you need to gather recent customer satisfaction metrics or even common pain points raised. This is the level of effort needed to maintain quality standards through outsourcing, so keep taking the pulse of your customers’ needs.

Assess potential partners thoroughly

Conduct in-depth due diligence on several providers’ capabilities to handle required customer support tasks and tools. Make sure to examine their expertise, background serving your industry, scalability to adjust for peaks, and even global footprint if relevant. 

In addition, reviewing satisfaction levels from current clients is crucial to choosing the right partner. If you’re outsourcing for cost savings, then weigh expenses versus expected service quality. Above all, make sure that your values are a match—partners that share your customer-centric mindset tend to fare better in the long term.

Establish clear staff training expectations

Set clear expectations for your staff. You need to define what product knowledge, system skills, and soft skills like written tone or de-escalation techniques you expect the outsourced staff to have. 

Build training guidelines and brand voice documentation to guarantee quality services. Don’t forget to monitor interactions so you can address additional development opportunities before customer perceptions shift.

Define key success indicators

Determine quantitative metrics that will define the success of the outsourcing engagement, relating to your original goals and targets around client satisfaction, issue handling, and cost savings. 

Your outsourcing partner should commit to providing transparent reporting on metrics like first contact resolution, wait times, and expenditures. This way, you can regularly assess progress made against benchmarks.

How Much Does It Cost to Outsource A Call Center?

When determining the costs of outsourced customer support, several factors come into play. Key factors that influence the costs of outsourcing are listed as follows:

  • Volume
  • Duration & Complexity
  • Availability 
  • Languages
  • Channels
  • Level of Support 

Depending on location and service provider capabilities, pricing can vary significantly when estimating costs to outsource customer support call center operations. According to industry benchmarks, average hourly rates for outsourced call center reps may fall within these ranges as determined by region:

  • United States/Canada – Between $25-$45 per rep
  • Western Europe – $38-$55 per rep
  • Asia/Philippines – $10-$18 per rep
  • Latin America – $15-$25 per rep
  • Eastern Europe – $15-$35 per rep
  • Africa/Middle East – $10-$30 per rep

The ultimate goal is to enrich the relationship beyond cost savings into a true partnership. Vet several firms to find the balance of pricing, capabilities, and cultural fit.

Closing Thoughts 

To wrap up everything that has been said so far, outsourcing customer support enables businesses to tap into advanced technologies, proven expertise, and flexible capacity that elevate service levels in a cost-effective model. The result is the ability to concentrate internal resources on core operations rather than support overhead. 

With the right provider, outsourcing delivers significant added value beyond mere cost savings alone. Let us partner up and provide value to your customers.

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