Mythbusting: Outsourced Customer Service Sucks!

There are many myths surrounding outsourcing customer service that make some businesses reluctant to even consider it. Such organisations could be limiting their potential customer service results by not taking the time to actually understand the alternative (and often very effective) outsourcing option.  

It’s now time to debunk some of these common myths. As an outsource provider ourselves, we believe it is important to know the truth behind such misconceptions, not just to benefit us, but to help businesses make fairer and possibly better-suited decisions when it comes to optimising their customer care. 

So, without further ado, let’s get mythbusting! 

Myth 1 – It’s Expensive

We know what your first thought is: surely outsourcing customer service is a costly affair? Well, surprisingly, it’s not. Especially in comparison to managing your own in-house team.  

That’s right, establishing and maintaining your customer service in-house is far more expensive than you would think. Not only do you have to consider wages, and internal and external shrinkage, but you also have overheads, equipment, and benefits to pay for. That’s without mentioning potential turnover costs in the future. All of these costs add up significantly, making the internal cost of an employee far more expensive than most assume. 

Yes, outsourcing has all those background costs too, but the significantly larger scale of operation allows for such costs to be spread across multiple clients, rather than just one business. Also, don’t forget that customer service outsourcers are well-defined experts in the industry. They have the best technology and the best people to maximise efficiency for your business, meaning the cost per interaction will inevitably be reduced.  

This is not us saying that outsourcing customer service is cheap. Nothing worth it is. But with 70% of organisations using outsourcing to reduce their costs, it is clear that the myth regarding the extreme price is simply not true. To put it into perspective, using the right outsourcer could save you as much as £18,000 per annum, based on an average of 5000 contacts a week. 

Still doubtful? We’ve got our own evidence to prove it. 

We created a cost analysis to help break down how much an in-sourced agent actually costs you and, more importantly, how much you could save by outsourcing with us. Take a look, you might just be surprised.

Myth 2 – Quality is Compromised

Potentially the biggest myth of all.  

‘Lower costs = lower quality’ could not be further from the truth when it comes to outsourcing. Think about it, most outsourcers are motivated to build their reputation and create long-term relationships, so they are going to try and deliver the best customer service possible. 

Quality standards are one of the first things to be agreed. It should be completely up to the client and their business objectives as to how advisors will interact with customers. The best outsourcers have fully-trained, adaptable employees ready to be shaped into your perfect advisor. Want a chattier, more personalised approach to help upsell products? Or would you prefer interactions to be kept short and speedy to help manage volume? Let the outsourcers know your vision so they can bring it to life.

It is worth noting that it is one thing simply discussing quality expectations, and another spending conscious time and effort to ensure it is maintained 24/7. So, how can clients be sure that high quality is being achieved in every interaction? 

Well, the best outsourcers will usually have a set team of quality assurance experts, who use software tailored to the client’s expectations, to continuously assess interactions on a regular basis. Advisors will be given frequent, detailed feedback on their customer interactions to ensure they know how to continue exceeding expectations.

Such quality ratings are not just assessed through the outsourcers’ potentially subjective opinion either; customer reviews are also critical to help confirm whether the service quality is up to scratch. Here at FM, we have witnessed the array of benefits that great customer reviews can bring to our clients (check out our case study here for more information), so it makes complete sense to continue monitoring customer reviews in our quality checks. After all, happy customers = happy client right?

Of course, advisors are only human and one bad day could translate into one bad interaction and, potentially, one unhappy customer as a result. But fear not, as this is where employee incentives come in. Incentives, such as bonuses and awards, are often used to help enhance quality. For example, here at FM Outsource, we offer monthly bonuses to those advisors who achieve the best quality scores on average. This gives advisors that extra boost of motivation to consistently deliver a premium service to customers, however bad their day might be. 

So, when it comes to quality, you really are in the safest hands. 

Myth 3 – Lack of Control

We get it. The short walk across to your customer service department makes it rather easy to check on the team, ask for updates and make sure everything is under control. With many businesses adopting a customer-focused approach, it is no surprise that firms have concerns about losing control through outsourcing. 

However, a lack of control does not have to be the case. If clients choose the right outsourcer, they can still have the same, if not more control over what is going on. How? Through innovative systems that allow clients to track progress and monitor customer care results in real-time.  

Our sister company, Gnatta is a perfect example of this. Gnatta has 24/7 real-time dashboards that display relevant information such as contacts per hour, queue volumes and response times instantly, meaning there is no need to take that (which now seems incredibly long-winded) walk to your customer service department anymore. A simple click and you have all the information you need, so rest assured, you will never feel out of the loop. 

That being said, if you are unsure, you don’t have to initially outsource your entire customer service department. Some think outsourcing is an ‘all or nothing’ approach, and this is not the case. Whether it’s specific channels, query types or customer groups, anything can be outsourced either in isolation or as a whole. For example, client A might be happy outsourcing their entire platform, but client B might feel more comfortable just outsourcing webchat and prefer to keep emails, telephony, and social media in house. Both are completely feasible.  

Having this flexible approach not only reduces potential control concerns but also allows clients to tailor their outsourcing needs to their unique business model. Additionally, outsourcing plans are often reviewed and adapted as and when business objectives change. So, if client B followed their initial approach for 6 months but then started to feel more confident with outsourcing and wanted to outsource further channels to help manage demand, this could be easily achieved.  

Ultimately, the ball is in your court, and you can have as much control as you desire. Simply increase the level of communication you have with your outsourcer and utilise the insightful systems provided for deeper understanding and control over the customer service progress being made. 

That’s a Wrap

So that’s it. We have debunked the most common myths surrounding outsourced customer service and have shown that it really isn’t as bad as people think. If done right, outsourcing has the potential to help with coverage, increase quality and still have the desired control, all at a lower cost. We might be biased, but it sounds like a no-brainer. 

If you are ready to smarten up your customer service and you think outsourcing could be the solution, then get in touch below.