Businesses are eager to outsource their customer service function – early. It is seen as an expensive nuisance that gets in the way of real work. Often, customer service is run by lower-paid teams that are siloed away in some operational backroom.
Customer service can, of course, be done offshore. And in fact, most CX is done offshore. The outsourcing industry is synonymous with customer service (CX) – often, bad customer service. Because of this, people assume that it is easy. It is anything but easy. And it is anything but unimportant.
Customer service really is the coal face of your business. It is the point at which your organization connects with your customers. As such, this point of contact may be your business’s most critical touchpoint. It’s an important relationship that must be reflected in the process and the staff.
Those staff are literally the voice, face, and personality of your business.
Customer service used to be limited to managing a few inbound calls. Now, it is both inbound and outbound and spreads across phone, email, texting, and numerous social media platforms, including posts, pages, forums, hashtags, DMs, and tweets.
Equally, managing a customer’s journey is getting increasingly complex. Customer service can involve technical support, payment support, refunds, referrals, escalations, and disputes. The customer service processes can reach right across every department within a company.
Customer service is straightforward in concept but far from simple in execution.
Smaller businesses might see bigger companies outsource their customer service, so they seek to emulate this. In fact, customer service is often the first function that is used to test the viability of outsourcing. However, it can often result in poor outcomes, unhappy customers, and frustrated clients.
Many other roles are simpler to outsource. Start with the easier, less mission-critical functions first. Start with the lower-hanging fruit, and get your organization used to outsourcing before you embark on the more complex tasks.
It is easier to start with back-office functions first. Even complex or professionalized back office functions (accounting, digital marketing, research, HR, recruitment, etc.). There is at least a buffer between the new team and the customer.
The question for your business
Is your customer service a core function, or a sideline gig?