outsourcing customer serviceOutsourcing customer service can be a very attractive option as it allows businesses to focus on their core competencies, generate revenue, and cut overhead costs by a a large margin. However, researching and finding the right outsourced call center for your business can take up a lot of time.

Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid when outsourcing customer service:

1.) Picking the Wrong Vendor

Call centers are industry-specific, so look for providers that are already familiar with your business. They’ll be able to quickly grasp all the industry jargon, which helps them to better understand your customers and their specific needs. Since agents are already trained and familiarized with your industry, they should be able to resolve problems in less time and minimize the amount of repeat customer calls.

Keep in mind that while some vendors who work with customers across multiple industries may offer their service at discounted rates, they’re usually able to offer these lower costs by hiring lesser-skilled workers, which means higher turnover rates, more time spent onboarding/training new workers, and a higher probability of mistakes being made.  

2.) Overestimating savings

Outsourcing your customer service requires expenses in time and vendor management that few companies anticipate.

You may need to manage a relationship entirely remotely, and there may be language or cultural barriers. You may have to provide feedback, ensure compliance, and step in when needed. 

3.) Falling in Love with Technology (and Possibilities)

Your vendor is likely to have all the latest technological bells and whistles: interactive voice response, web chat, and even live avatars are fantastic, but may tempt you to automate larger chunks of customer contact than you really should. Over-automation can lead to many dissatisfied customers.

While the outsourcing customer service cost savings may be genuine, you’ll soon realize that a vital piece of your customer relationship is now outside of your direct control. The possibility of mistakes and misunderstandings being made that lead to customer dissatisfaction are too serious to ignore. A well-designed, customized CRM can help, but consider adding a risk-reward component into the service agreement to give the provider a stake in achieving high customer satisfaction rates.

4.) Outsourcing Core Competencies

Not every function should be outsourced.  Before you begin researching your options, ensure that you have a firm grasp on your company’s core competencies, or write down the areas you intend to improve with the time and expense that outsourcing saves you.

This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to get over-enthusiastic about the time and cost savings that outsourcing offers. Keep these aspects under your direct control, and make your decisions carefully.

5.) Neglecting Analytics

Make sure that the vendor collects sufficient data to analyze customer satisfaction trends, and that you commit to act on these results. If you’re not using metrics to track and measure your customer service goals, you’ll be unable to make improvements where they’re needed.

A related mistake is the “honeymoon effect,” where vendor performance starts out strong, but then levels off after some time. You should work closely with the vendor to make the necessary changes, or you risk sending the message that continual improvement isn’t a priority (that’s when performance inevitably suffers).

To Sum Up

There are several good reasons why you should consider when outsourcing customer service, however, making these common mistakes can be counterproductive to your customer satisfaction goals.

If you provide your customers with a good, consistent customer service experiences, and manage your vendor relationship as a critical, ongoing part of the process, the benefits of outsourcing your customer service operation can be substantial. As with any business decision, it pays to understand the risks, as well as the rewards.