It has never been a secret: providing efficient support to your customers increases trustiness and loyalty to your product/service. Satisfied clients should be the main purpose of every SaaS company – that is pretty obvious, isn’t it ? According to the statistics, support section is one of the most visited section on a website. Especially, it makes sense for leads, that are not your clients yet. In this case provided support determines their further action: to stay or to leave.
If you have already made a decision to get a support team, you may be caught between two stools. There are at least two options for you: create your own customer service department or outsource customer service. In this article we will provide you with directions concerning outsourcing a customer support, so you will be able to decide if it is suitable for your company or not.
Firstly, figure out if it is profitable in your case. Compare the required amount of money for creating your own customer service department with the cost of outsource customer service. At first sight outsourcing prices may seem too high. But don’t judge a book by its cover. If you estimate a number of employees, their equipment, trainings and things like that – you’ll be surprised with profitability of outsourcing.
Ball is in your court. It is up to you to make a choice between creating own customer service department or outsourcing customer service. Obviously, you should rely on your company’s and, of course, customers’ needs. But if at least two statements below are true for you, outsourcing customer service would be the best thing after sliced bread in your case.
- You want to save your employees’ time for developing new products and improving existing ones;
- You don’t have space and/or equipment for creating your own customer service department;
- Your staff cannot be at workplace during certain hours of day, but there is a large flow of customers (especially for international companies, that have customers all around the globe in different time zones);
- You would like to pass customer support service to professionals and focus on your product/service.
Next step in outsourcing support service is a choice of company for a cooperation. It is definitely the most important step, because you are going to entrust a significant part of your company’s work to other people, so you should be confident about them. When choosing a company, pay attention to offered types of support, pricing, terms of cooperation. Find out if the company has customer base – check information about their past and current clients.
By the way, here is a little trick to test how outsourcing support does their work, but don’t tell this everybody! 🙂 If you are interested in some company, but still have doubts – there is a pretty good way to make sure whether their work is being done properly and great customer support is being provided. So, let’s start!
1) Look for information about current clients of the company. Found? Great, let’s move forward!
2) Pick two or three of them (but the more the better) and visit their websites. Take a look at their fields of activities. That will also help you to understand if the range of company’s competences is wide or not. But that is not a finish yet 😉
3) Find a support channel on each website and try to contact them to ask something. It’s not a recommendation to put some tricky questions to support managers (believe us, they have enough of those in the inboxes). Just ask some elementary questions (for ex., pricing model) and that will be enough to estimate such simple, but important things as response time, courtesy, level of competence.
4) When completing this, take into consideration that some clients don’t use a 24/7 support plan, so it’s better to do this test in working hours. Also don’t forget about time zones, if the company is international.
When the choice of company that provides support is made, it’s time to contact them and schedule a meeting. You are free to select a type of communication, but we highly recommend to make a call (Skype, etc.) It will save plenty of time and you will be able to discuss everything at once and get more details, that could be lost in email correspondence.
We have made a list of topics that are very important in outsourcing customer service, so don’t forget to discuss the whole nine yards with a company’s representative.
- Schedule. Ask if the company provides support 24/7/365. Also specify if there is extra cost for holidays, etc.
- Staff. Get all details about the support team that make sense for you. For example, number of employees, their age, work experience, nationality, knowledge of languages, etc.
- Types of support. As you know, there are few types of support: call center, tickets, online support, and other. Firstly, you should decide what type(s) your platform requires and then ask for them.
- Support-software platform(s). If you already have support channel on your website, you must be using a certain platform. Discuss this issue with a representative. Ask if they have work experience with that platform. Also you can feel free to ask them advice on pros and cons of different support platforms to choose the most suitable one.
- Your product/service. Make a short introduction to your niche: what your company does, who your customers are, and what goals you have. Making everything clear will help to build a long and productive partnership.
- Training. Schedule a training for your new team to tell them all necessary information about your product/service, pay attention to the details that are not freely available.
- Expectations. It is very important to talk about what you expect from the partnership. What is your vision of perfect customer support service? We would recommend to think about it beforehand.
- Other. There are plenty of important topics to discuss that depend on what your company is exactly dealing with. So, you should prepare for the meeting in the right way and not to miss anything important.
After you have met a support team, subscribed to a plan, conducted a training and outsourcing support started working, it doesn’t mean that your engagement is over. Because it is not only about customer support, it is about internal support as well. We have prepared some tips to help you make this cooperation super productive.
1) Configure the communication channel. You need to find a way to be connected with support team round-the-clock. It may be any messenger or even chat in social network. The main thing is that every team member has to have access to that channel anytime. If there are any updates or changes in anything concerning your product/service, you should keep support team informed in time. It is necessary to provide high-end support.
2) Conduct meetings and trainings. In this case communication is your key to success. Especially, it is necessary to keep in touch with your new team while integrating outsourcing support service into your platform. Trainings are useful for understanding the main purpose of your product as well as different features. You should demonstrate how it is supposed to function. Also give extensive information about the most frequent errors or problems that users usually face. Provide a support team with valuable insights about served product to help them tackle problems easily.
3) Feedback. You deserve to have the work done in the right way. How to determine that the work is done well? Of course, the best indicator here is customers. Create some place where customers would be able to leave their testimonials about provided support to them. Actually, some platforms have integral ratings of conversations (for ex., Intercom), so it is quite easy to track how support team is doing.
To summarize all the above, we would like to notice that outsourcing customer support is a really flexible thing, unlike the support department in your company. The point is that things can change and your company’s needs are not the exception. If you use outsourcing customer support service – you are always free to change a plan or cancel the subscription, but it’s much more complicated to experience changes when you are also responsible for your employees.