Supplier relationships are becoming increasingly important in today’s globalized business world. One of the primary examples of this trend is customer support, a segment that proves vital for the success of any venture. However, many companies grapple with deciding if outsourcing their customer support is really “good enough” to satisfy their clients, or if it will do more harm than good.
Here are some of the Pros and Cons of an Outsourced Customer Support:
Pros of Outsourced Customer Support
- Cost Efficiency. Companies could save a significant amount of money by outsourcing customer service. Essentially, they would only have to cover the cost of the service itself, and wouldn’t have to worry about the overhead costs related to recruitment, training, payroll and health benefits.
- 24/7 Availability. Outsourcing customer support enables you to provide round-the-clock customer service to accommodate international customers across different time zones.
- Access to Expertise. Outsourcing companies have experts in providing customer service. This allows businesses to use these professionals without having to build up their own departments.
Cons of Outsourced Customer Support
- Cultural and Language Barrier. There can be potential misunderstandings due to language and cultural differences which can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
- Security Risks. If a business doesn’t take proper precautions, its sensitive customer data may be vulnerable to security breaches when entrusted to an outsourcing company.
Alternatives to a Fully Outsourced Model
Given the potential drawbacks, a fully outsourced model may not always be the best fit for every company. Therefore, exploring alternatives could be beneficial.
- Partial Outsourcing. Businesses that use the hybrid customer service approach handle some services in-house and outsource the rest. This enables them to offer customers optimal experience while maintaining control over certain operations
- Co-sourcing. In this arrangement, the company maintains its in-house customer service team but leverages resources from an outsourcing provider to enhance and improve its level of service.
- Customer Support Software: Chatbots and AI customer-service platforms are technological solutions that can offer cost efficiency while keeping the process under a company’s control. They also allow businesses to provide 24/7 service without outsourcing their entire support staff.
The quality of outsourced customer support largely depends on the specific needs and resources of a company. If executed properly, it can bring significant benefits like cost savings and access to professional support. However, potential drawbacks such as reduced control over brand representation and potential security risks should also be considered. In some cases, alternatives such as partial outsourcing, co-sourcing, or leveraging customer support software will be more appropriate than full outsourcing.