Should You Outsource Your Customer Service Center?

With a recent focus on superior customer service, it is no surprise that large corporations are looking for ways to promptly handle thousands of customer inquiries on a daily basis. Although they all have the option of developing customer care call centers in the United States, many have decided to outsource their customer service overseas.

A company shifting its call centers overseas can fairly inexpensively mass train a large number of employees on the varying aspects of their business, products, and services. They will also typically train the employees in areas such as accent to help diminish the language barriers. In most cases, they pay a lot less for outsourced customer service than if they opened a similarly sized call center in America.

However, it is not idealistic to say that an outsourced call center is optimal for customer satisfaction. There are many cons to outsourcing a customer care call center, something that businesses such as Dell have learned in the past.

What are some of the disadvantages that customers find with these outsourced call centers?

Although the employees have received language training, many customers have a difficult time clearly understanding what the customer service representative is attempting to communicate. After having the same sentence repeated several times without clarification, customers are likely to get upset.

In studies related to Dell outsourced customer service centers, customers complained that the customer service representatives appeared to be reading off of a script. Should the caller’s unique situation require a unique resolution, the CSR was unable to complete it unless it was offered on their “script.”

making overseas customer service support an efficient successAlthough many of the CSR employees were able to answer a wide variety of general questions, they typically did not have the resources or knowledge to answer very specific questions. Should the customer call in with a specific complaint or issue, the CSR may have had to put them on hold to research further or they simply could not answer the question. Dell quickly learned that losing customers and business was not worth the money they saved on less than quality customer service.

Economic Pressures to Cut Costs Through Outsourcing

With the lingering economic downturn and the pressure from investors for increased corporate profits, many businesses that previously tried outsourcing but then shifted their customer support centers back to the United States are once again taking a second look at outsourcing.

JPMorgan Chase and Capital One saw decreased customer satisfaction when they outsourced customer care several years ago. However, with the ever increasing demand to handle thousands of customer contacts each day, companies like these have little choice but to outsource. For some companies, this may mean outsourcing calls to India or the Philippines after normal business hours in order to offer the increasingly expected 24/7 service availability. For others, it may mean outsourcing all calls.

Efficiently Outsourcing Your Customer Service

If you are going to outsource your customer care center, how can you do so without hurting your business? The first thing to do is plenty of research. According to Gartner, 80% of companies who outsource customer care simply to cut costs will fail. Therefore, if you are outsourcing simply for the saved money, most likely you will fail.

However, if you are outsourcing for better customer care, with cost cutting in mind, you have a greater chance of success. Those who outsource simply for money do not invest enough into proper training for the employees that will be handling their valued customers. Without the proper training, these employees will only damage your company’s reputation, and you will lose customers.

Outsourcing does allow many businesses to handle thousands of customers in a shorter amount of time, with more readily available, less expensive labor hours. Therefore, outsourcing customer care centers is not all bad. The extended availability can enhance customer satisfaction if executed correctly. In fact, Gartner also concluded that, if done correctly, outsourcing projects could save companies 20-30%.

If you are planning on outsourcing your customer care center, do so to enhance customer service and availability. However, be prepared to provide plenty of training so that your employees do not sound as though they are reading from a script. Also, give your front line employees the authority to make decisions without having to place customers as frequently on hold.

If you have implemented an outsourced customer care center, be sure to regularly ask for feedback from your valued customers. If customers are specifically complaining about a recurrent issue, find a way to alter it. Listen to your customers and adapt as you go to increase customer satisfaction, while also cutting costs .

About Andrew Jensen

Andrew Jensen, a business growth, efficiency & marketing consultant, provides business advisory services for clients in the Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; York, Hanover, Lancaster & Harrisburg, PA regions. Andrew advises regarding business growth, productivity, efficiency, business startups, customer service, and online/offline marketing. Follow Andrew on Google+

Comments

  1. I agree. There needs to be a balanced approach to deciding to outsource and choosing an outsourcing partner. Outsourcing after all is also an investment on people time and resources, and requires careful consideration.

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