Outsourcing customer support functions
An organization is usually judged and distinguished by the quality of customer support that they provide.
Yes, products and services matter, but prioritizing customer support would be the icing on your profitable cake.
One mistake companies make when it comes to providing customer support is the lack of consistency. They’re very hands-on when it comes to converting leads; however, once the prospect is converted into a paying customer, the focus on their needs is reduced.
Or worse, existing customers’ needs get completely ignored.
Businesses too focused on generating and converting leads but failing to follow up and continue serving them is the root cause of a low customer retention rate. This is why companies need to revive their knowledge and strategies about customer support.
What is customer support?
Customer support refers to the range of activities and techniques that are aimed to help customers utilize the company’s offered products and services. However, they are more focused on providing technical assistance.
Customer support also means: resolving customers’ technical issues with the product; providing assistance via phone, email or live chat; and answering queries.
Usually interchanged with customer service, customer support is more about helping the company create the best customer experience. Customer support is business- or product-centric.
Customer service, on the other hand, is customer-centric. It is about making sure that the customers are getting the services that they need.
Our next sections will provide more detailed information regarding the difference between customer support and customer service.
Responsibilities of customer support agents/providers
First, let’s talk about the responsibilities of a customer support agent.
Like mentioned above, customer support agents or providers are in charge of helping customers resolve their technical issues. Whether they contacted the company via phone, email, live chat, or social media, a customer support provider’s role is to make the customers’ experience the best that it can be.
Further, here are the responsibilities tasked to a customer support provider:
- Provide exceptional assistance with customers’ issues, concerns, complaints, and queries;
- Help customers understand the company’s products and services so they can utilize them;
- Use their knowledge, patience, and people skills to guide frustrated customers towards a solution;
- Drive customer satisfaction.
Customer support vs customer service
It is understandable that people often confuse customer support with customer service, as they can both relate to the quality of the customers’ experience.
However, in order for a company to create a better and more effective strategy and system, it’s best to distinguish and master the difference between these two.
Customer service is an umbrella term. It is the broad term that encompasses the activities and interactions that a company does to enhance customer experience.
Its main objective is to improve the company’s relationship with its customers and increase customer retention. These can, directly and indirectly, increase the company’s revenue, promote the brand, and boost its reputation.
Further, customer support is a more specific term. It is under the customer service umbrella.
Customer support helps customers answer any questions or fix any issues that come with using the company’s product. This may include providing assistance in troubleshooting, assistance, maintenance, and upgrading.
Customer support representatives’ are experts in the company’s product. They are able to provide technical support to customers, whether through calls, email, live chat, or social media.
Since customer support is more on the technical side, not every company needs it. However, all organizations need to work on their customer service strategies.
Outsourcing your customer support functions
Businesses need to provide the best quality of customer support if they want to retain their customers and keep them satisfied.
For this, companies will need to hire highly competent and experienced customer support providers.
Direct hiring a team of customer support experts is harder than you think. You’re going to take a lot of factors into consideration, like labor costs, office spaces, management, training efforts and costs, and more.
Direct hiring customer support agents doesn’t mean that you’re only going to hire customer support agents. You will also need to employ team leaders, trainers, and supervisors.
You may also need a bigger office.
To eliminate companies from the burden of having to think and take care of all this, businesses, whether big or small, have resorted to outsourcing their customer support functions.
There are so many outsourcing destinations today. Companies have the option to try onshore outsourcing, nearshoring, or offshore outsourcing.
Offshore outsourcing is arguably the most popular and efficient way, as this has been the tried-and-tested strategy for decades.
Why you should outsource your customer support functions
Aside from removing yourself the stress of direct hiring, outsourcing has so many benefits and advantages for your business.
Companies like Google, JP Morgan Chase & Co., American Express, Citi, and Canva have been outsourcing their customer support and customer service functions in the Philippines. What’s stopping you?
Here are the top reasons why you should outsource your customer support functions:
Get access to world-class and dedicated talents
The Philippines is considered by LA Times as the call center capital of the world for good reason.
The country’s high literacy rate of 97.95% and English proficiency rate of 70% makes it one of the largest English-speaking nations in the world.
Combine that with Filipino employees’ determination, dedication, warm hospitality, and natural talents, you got the perfect combination to build your offshore customer support team.
Save up to 70% on employment costs
It’s common knowledge that you can save A LOT of money on labor costs when you outsource.
But did you know that you can save up to 70% on employment costs? And that includes efficient training to your employees, proper supervision, government-mandated benefits, and taxes.
The cost of living in the country is much lower than the “West.” A Filipino call center agent’s can live comfortably on a salary of around $6,000 annually.
Compared to a US-based employee’s $48,000 annual salary, you can save A LOT on labor costs, without sacrificing the quality of the customer support your team provides.
Add to that the costs of office equipment, internet connection, healthcare benefits, and more, outsourcing is definitely a win for you and your business.
In addition, you get to help provide full-time employment to your customer support agents. The taxes that you pay will also be of great benefit to the community.
Overall, outsourcing is a win-win situation. You get excellent services at cost-effective and scalable packages, and your employees will be trained and supervised by your trusted outsourcing provider.
Now, the next question is how do you choose an outsourcing provider? Now that’s for another article!