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More and more companies nowadays choose to outsource a customer support service. It’s cheaper, more profitable, easier to organize and control. But it’s crucial to remember that this type of collaboration and outsourcing has pros and cons. To avoid any difficulties it’s better to understand and regulate how an outsourced customer service team has to work from day one.
Find an appropriate team first
Before managing an outsourced customer support team, it’s important to find a company ready to provide you with all the necessary services. Moreover, you have to be sure that this company understands what you really need and can change the processes or approaches taking into account your recommendations.
Here is a small but clear algorithm that shows how to work with an outsourced customer support team and what to start with.
Managing an outsourced customer support team may be a challenging task. Think of establishing the most important rules beforehand. This will reduce the possible issues. Here are some important things worth your attention.
SOW is the priority
SOW or Statement of Work is a special document for project managers. It includes all the requirements to the project with the information regarding deadlines, milestones, and deliverables. You, as an owner, should not just look through this document but also know it. Another task is to check how the partner follows SOW.
SOW should include:
- Scope of work.
- Project objectives.
- Deliverables (what exact services have to be provided)
- Payment of the project.
- Expected income.
- Terms, conditions, requirements, etc.
One more tip to remember: every good SOW needs improvements from time to time. Don’t hesitate to make them and correct everything you are not satisfied with.
Collaboration with an external supplier always means checking. And it’s better when you do this periodically. You may study the reports on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis — it depends on your will, the amount of work, and other conditions. The main idea is that you are constantly involved in the processes, monitor and influence them.
Pay attention to reports
If your outsourced customer support company sends you reports, it’s important to check them accurately. Be sure that the information corresponds to real results and provides you with a full understanding of the current situation. Give feedback to your supplier and let them know if something is not correct. Do it constantly and fast to avoid more serious problems.
Be involved in quality assurance
Every professional customer support company has to have quality assurance procedures, meetings, etc. You can ask for an invitation to these events and actively participate in them. This may help get acquainted closely with your partner company and the customer agents team involved in your project. On the other hand, such Q&A sessions are a good way to improve everything you want. For example, you may share some additional information or pieces of advice regarding agents’ behaviour in different circumstances, ask to use only positive words etc.
Don’t forget to forecast and share
Even if your customer support team works separately from the company, you should involve it in all relevant processes and share important news. The new product, updates, or services should become a surprise for your clients but not for the customer support suppliers. Otherwise, it will lead to difficult situations and misunderstandings.
An outsourced customer support team deals with different issues every day. They can handle a lot of them alone. But some requests may need your direct reaction and further instructions. You should always be available. At the same time, suppliers should also inform you about any escalations, conflicts, or unsatisfied clients.
Think of a roadmap
Customer support agents have to know how to handle various requests. Provide them with special algorithms and suggestions about frequently raised topics. Create special emergency instructions and include contacts of responsible employees.
Respect and celebrate
An outsourced customer support team is a part of your company. They work for your success and are also responsible for a lot of aspects. Always remember this and respect your customer support team. Protect it when it’s needed and celebrate all good results. If possible, implement some so-called “onsite days” when you, as a customer, may spend some time in your partner’s office and vice versa.
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