By Alison Stanton
As the owner of a rapidly growing business, you are both delighted with your company’s success and constantly thinking about how to handle the upturn in business. Lately, you have begun to consider outsourcing at least part of your customer service department — while you know there can be advantages to doing this, this is all new territory for you and you are unsure of how to go about it.
The following tips can help you decide when the best time might be to outsource customer service, as well as how to go about doing it as effectively as possible:
To outsource or not to outsource: that is the question
There are a number of good reasons to consider outsourcing customer service. For example, if you have found that your current team can no longer keep up with the increasing flow of work, outsourcing at least part of it may make sense. In addition, if you are about to expand your services or take on a new project, getting outside help to assist on the additional work can be a good idea. As Bill Gosling notes, outsourcing is also a great idea if you simply do not have the room to expand your existing call center, or if you would like your team to handle other tasks rather than focus so much of their time and energy on customer care. Outsourcing is also a solid option for company owners who want to expand their hours of customer service to be available around the clock, as well as for businesses that want to offer other ways to answer customer questions — for example, through 24/7 live chat, texting and email.
How to outsource successfully
Now that you know more about the “whys” of outsourcing customer service, it is time to delve into the “hows.” As The Balances MB notes, before hiring an external service provider, it is important to take a number of things into consideration. For instance, start with a clear goal of what you hope to accomplish by outsourcing, as well as how long you intend to use these services. Evaluate a number of service providers, and be sure to check references to be sure you are hiring a reliable and reputable vendor. While it can be tempting to choose a company based solely on their cheap prices, remember that you usually get what you pay for and focus more on which companies will give you the best value and great results.
Some additional tips
Your employees may be worried about their own jobs once they learn you have plans to outsource. If you are merely adding to your current team with an outsourcing company, reassure your loyal employees that you are definitely keeping them all on-board — but that they may no longer have to be interrupted as often with customer calls and emails. If you are feeling a sense of guilt about outsourcing customer service tasks, Entrepreneur notes that you are probably already outsourcing some other basic services, like criminal checks for new employees, payroll administration and other jobs. By hiring outside help to handle the increase in customer service needs, you are simply recognizing that your current team is better suited for other tasks.
Outsourcing definitely makes sense
Despite any misgivings you may have, outsourcing customer service does seem to be the ideal solution for many growing companies. Spend some time evaluating your reasons for outsourcing, keep your existing team in the loop and interview a number of companies that can help you — you may find that it’s one of the best business decisions you have ever made.
Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 18 years. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Alison thoroughly enjoys writing about a wide variety of people and topics. When she is not writing, Alison can be found hanging out with her family—which includes three wonderful rescue dogs—and sipping a caffeinated beverage from Starbucks.