Most companies are convinced of the value of customer service. It’s what will help you retain your customers in the long term and keep them happy with your brand. Customers expect a quick and effective response from a knowledgeable member of your service team. With a high standard of customer service, 81% of customers will be more likely to consider making another purchase from your business.
Aside from quality products, customer service is the defining factor in customer retention. Even so, you probably don’t need a dedicated customer support team.
In order to run more efficiently, many businesses choose to outsource their customer service operations, which can help to cut costs and offer the ability to cope with fluctuating call center volumes. When you outsource customer support services, this means you don’t have to worry about training and onboarding your staff because your provider handles it all. Another benefit of outsourcing is that you can have customer support agents available to respond to your customers out of hours and provide 24/7 support.
It’s important to note that there are different models when it comes to delivering effective customer support – there isn’t just one way of doing things. We’re talking about dedicated versus shared customer service models that have various benefits in helping you handle your customer service volume.
4 signs you don’t need a dedicated customer support team
- Your customer enquiry volumes are very unpredictable and you don’t always have a need for dedicated staff to be on hand. For example, you might have peak contact at lunch times or during seasonable periods and this fluctuation means you might benefit from shared customer service.
- You only have a need for tier one agent skill sets because your customers only send in general enquiries. Your customer service agents don’t need particularly specialized knowledge to be able to help your customers with the majority of their issues.
- Your call lengths tend to be around five minutes or less so you don’t need staff to devote lengthy amounts of time to taking care of customers. Customer issues can be resolved quickly and efficiently.
- You are already able to handle your customer support tickets in-house and share the responsibility among your team. You don’t get so many customer tickets that your team is struggling under the load and customer service is suffering as a result.
What is customer service outsourcing?
Customer service outsourcing is the choice to outsource some area of your customer service operations to a third-party supplier or service provider. The outsourced contact center is made up of a team of agents who are trained in your products and services to be able to provide a consistent customer experience and support your company.
Outsourcing means that your company is spared the responsibility of managing an in-house customer service team.
Outsourcing your customer service might be domestic or international. Outsourcing to another country with a lower cost of living can be significantly cheaper than hiring domestic agents. You can hire agents of equal caliber to provide customer support and pay them a decent wage while staying within a reasonable budget. This might prove to be a more viable approach if you are thinking of investing in a dedicated customer service team, which costs significantly more than opting for a shared customer service.
What is dedicated customer service?
Dedicated customer service means you are hiring a team of agents who are focused exclusively on supporting your company. They don’t allocate any resources to helping any other client and so they are essentially a remote supplement to your business. A dedicated customer service team is the next best thing to hiring agents in-house.
Dedicated customer service means your business can replicate an in-house customer service team without the headache of managing staff.
A dedicated agent is able to stay on a call as long as required and they have extensive product and service expertise. They are able to provide extra services for your company such as replies sent to customers within 20 minutes or a follow-up survey to customers to gather feedback on how they found the service.
It’s a good idea to choose dedicated customer service if you have consistently high call volumes that require agents to regularly be on hand. You’ll have access to a team of support agents who are always available to help your customers, and are well-versed in their issues. Dedicated customer service is also best if you require your agents to be very highly trained in the ways of your business and troubleshooting for customers.
The difference between shared and dedicated customer service
There is quite a big difference between shared and dedicated customer service. With shared customer service, the outsourced team is providing resources to a number of different clients and you’ll pay only for what you use. Shared service is a viable option if you have unpredictable call volumes with surges at particular times.
Shared customer service is like a pay-as-you-go model of customer service. It’s an effective way of conserving resources and can adapt to your business’s needs.
Shared customer service can be a significant cost saver since you aren’t employing staff to sit around waiting for customers to contact you. The provider will only bill you for time spent helping customers and takes on the responsibility of maintaining staffing levels. With shared customer service, you don’t have to think about whether to hire more agents and call wait times are kept consistently low.
See for yourself
With both options, your company is able to spend more time working on core business functions and less time worrying about customer support. You’ll rest easy knowing that your customers are taken care of by skilled agents who understand your products and services and how to handle customer queries. Outsourcing customer service means someone else takes care of the day-to-day operations while you quietly reap the benefits in more satisfied and loyal customers.
The benefits of dedicated customer support
When you hire a dedicated customer service team rather than opting for a shared service, your agents have the freedom to learn your business intimately and be able to deliver support in your brand voice. Customers are given a more consistent experience that enhances your brand’s reputation, and customer feedback is integrated more easily and used to improve the service.
Dedicated customer service is devoted to your business and is the next best thing to building an in-house team.
Dedicated agents will feel like a more unified part of your company and you’ll have more oversight into your customer service operations. You can make changes as required and be assured that your dedicated agents will follow the instructions you give them. Dedicated customer service means your agents will spend all their time learning your company’s nuances, which will translate into more personalized customer service.
They will become more involved with your company’s strategy and be able to identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities. They can handle more complex enquiries that take time to resolve and will increase customer satisfaction. They can spend all their time and attention making your customers happy which takes customer service from a cost center to a driver of revenue.
The small business option: customer service as a task
If you are a small business, you may not need to outsource your customer service at all. Customer service can be a task that is handled by other employees in your organization if you don’t have too many enquiries.
When you keep customer service in-house, everyone from your CEO downwards can be involved in helping customers.
All-hands customer support is a great way for your whole team to keep a finger on the pulse of your customers and discover what their pain points with your products are. It’s a way of embedding customer service deeply into your company culture and making sure everyone is in constant contact with your customers. Requiring customer service to be a task for everyone is the best approach to keeping customers at the heart of everything you do.
If your business is small, it might be possible to avoid customer service becoming a specialized function. When everyone in your company is involved in customer service, the entire team becomes more customer-oriented and this is reflected in the choices you make. Stakeholders don’t make decisions that are alienated from the needs of the customer because you are talking to them every day. Service becomes better and better as you strive to eliminate customer pain points and see the results right in front of you.
No company can get away with neglecting their customer service. But whether you take care of customers in-house or you outsource to a dedicated or shared customer service is unique to every business. While admittedly there can be significant cost savings involved when outsourcing to a provider, you need to make sure your chosen service is a good match for your company’s culture.
Outsourcing not only has to be cost-effective but it has to be a better option than keeping customer service in-house. Great customer service is not a way to save money, but should be an investment in your customers and a means of making them happy. Selling quality products and services is no longer enough – you must provide positive customer service experiences for customers to come back for more and that will result in them advocating for your business to others.