In the days of only bricks-and-mortar shops and services, customer service was already an important component of a company's success. The digital economy, however, has changed how customers interact with companies and transformed their expectations for customer service.
With unprecedented access to information at their fingertips and stiff competition in the market, customers now expect exceptional service at every touchpoint. They're not hesitant to reach out for assistance before or after a purchase, and how they experience that interaction is very important. According to Zendesk's 2022 report on customer experience, 81 percent of customers say they're more likely to make another purchase if their experience of customer service has been positive.
As a result, many brands have recognized the importance of customer service to build a brand and boost sales. In short, it is no longer a luxury but a necessity. A barrier, however, to scaling up customer service is the financial burden it places on a company. That is why many businesses are choosing to outsource this function which is not a core part of their business but is fundamental to its success.
The State of Outsourced Customer Service Today
More than half of companies have hired a third-party team that is responsible for connecting with customers, and it is clear from the statistics that this arrangement is not going away anytime soon. Globally, 78% of businesses feel optimistic about outsourcing partners, while predictions for the outsourced customer experience market show that it will reach US$81.5 billion in 2023.
Research suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic increased demands being made by customers, and in response, businesses have heeded the call. Many of those companies embraced innovation more readily during the pandemic period, and the trend toward continued process and technology evolution has continued.
Outsourcing Customer Service Delivers Many Advantages
There is little wonder that so many companies are outsourcing their customer service as they aim to stay ahead in the game without draining resources away from their core focus areas. The upward trend validates that more companies are embracing outsourcing for customer service, and here are some of the key reasons why companies are choosing to outsource this crucial function of their business:
Meet Peaks in Demand
When demand peaks, businesses that have outsourced customer service do not have to worry that they cannot meet those needs. By using a third party whose entire effort is dedicated to that function, no gaps are left open. This becomes especially useful to plan around seasonal peaks. For example, Black Friday is not a surprise event and often brings a surge of buying that kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season. Brands can rely on third parties to ramp up customer service operations and ensure every customer gets appropriate attention and support.
Delivery of More Consistent Experiences
With brand loyalty and the quality of customer service being so closely linked these days, customers do not look favorably upon unpredictable experiences. They want to trust the support they receive as a customer just as much as they do the product or service itself. An outsourced team can be trained to offer a consistent experience because that is their core function.
Access Specialized Expertise
A negative customer experience, especially in this age of social media, can cause significant damage to a company's reputation. It is thus incumbent on companies to ensure that their customers are interacting with a person with the right skills and knowledge. A third party that provides customer support can hire, train and upskill the right people consistently across the lifespan of a company. This means that highly qualified agents become the norm associated with the brand.
Achieve Omnichannel Support
With today's lifestyle, customers are constantly moving between different devices, even when working towards the same goal. A customer may submit a query via email but wish to follow up on the phone while commuting home from work. Customers want to communicate with a business at a time that is convenient but want the experience to be integrated and not have to start from scratch each time. When customer service is outsourced, this smooth journey across channels is far more possible because that is what the outsourced team and their technological equipment and expertise are specifically there for.
Attain Cost Efficiencies
The cost of creating an in-house might not seem high until you're actually trying to do it. First, you have to recruit the right people. This process alone can draw workers away from their core function in the ecosystem of the business. Then, even after you've hired personnel, you would have to constantly train them to keep up with the digital evolution of the different support channels. On top of that, the cost of extra workspace and the right equipment for customer service personnel can be a significant liability.
Keeping Up With Trends
Without question, it is clear that customers' expectations have risen dramatically over the past few years, and the global pandemic only added fuel to the fire. As a result, companies are continuing on their journey of outsourcing customer service but at a greater pace than before the pandemic.
Trying to build, maintain and upskill an in-house team is a cumbersome choice that can drain away company resources. Outsourced customer services, on the other hand, are more cost-efficient for the company and also make it easier to adapt to seasonal fluctuations.
Added to this is that third parties are more equipped to deal with omnichannel support, which is now a significant trend and can also ensure that customers have a smooth and consistent experience before, during, and after a transaction. If that engagement is not smooth, a negative experience of even one customer can proliferate on social media and threaten to destroy a brand reputation that may have taken years to build.
That said, choosing the right third party is very important. This means getting on board with a dedicated and experienced team that offers multilingual support across all channels, that combines AI with the human touch, and that ensures safety and privacy are a fundamental part of all services.
To find out more about securing that ideal third party for customer services, contact the experts at Helpware.