Outsourcing customer service – What you should expect from your service provider
As the old adage goes, it’s you should work ON your business, not IN it. If the time you spend maintaining your business is greater than time spent in marketing and innovation, it’s time for you to consider outsourcing.
Customer service can be one of the most time consuming, yet vital part of your business. By outsourcing your support process, you can focus on growing your business.
Many things can affect the quality of your outsourced customer service. Choosing the right support provider, customizing the support for your customers, and executing a smooth support transition are some of them.
In a previous post, we looked at how to choose the ideal support provider. Today we’ll go through what you should expect from your service provider, so that your outsourced customer service takes off flawlessly.
Understand your customer profile
In customer service, there’s no one-size-fit-all formula for support quality. The temperament and preferences of customers vary from one business to another. For eg., a customer of an online games host will be different from that of a small business web host. While the online gamers would expect highly technical, to-the-point answers, a small business owner might need detailed assistance in using your services.
To make sure your customers are not given a cookie-cutter service, you should expect your service provider to customize their support for your business. Your support provider should work with you to understand how your customers interact, what they expect, and how you have been supporting them till now.
Determine support volume and support schedules
Your support provider should be able to cover the majority (if not all) of your customer support requests. For this, they should analyze your support system and give you a schedule that will tackle the support volume in the best possible way.
At Bobcares, we take a lot of factors into consideration before we come up with a support estimate. Even before you sign the contract, we do an in-depth analysis of your support system to categorize the type of support issues, the volume of support requests spread over a day, and the variations in support volume over a week. This helps us make sure that your customers get instant support regardless the type of issues or the time of the day.
Setup a customer service system
A company mail ID or a phone number will suffice when you manage support on your own, but if you plan to scale up your support or offer 24/7 assistance, you’ll need a robust customer service system. A support system like OSticket helps you track follow-ups, identify status of issues, allow simultaneous access, and give you support stats.
If you don’t already have one, your service provider should be able to setup a full fledged support desk system for you. At Bobcares, we help your configure your help desk, live chat and phone support systems. We create work flows, support queues, follow-up alerts, notifications, etc. that helps us deliver timely assistance to your customers.
Audit your servers and support system
Getting an external support expert on board is an excellent occasion to have your servers and support systems audited. It’ll help you identify obvious issues that can be quickly fixed, and thereby reduce the support volume. With a background knowledge of best practices and server configuration, your support provider should be able to straight away cut down the most common support issues.
Initial server standardization is an important part of starting support at Bobcares. We identify the most common issues reported in your support system, and locate infrastructure settings that can be hardened/optimized. By doing an initial audit and streamlining, we are typically able to reduce up to 15% of support issues within 1 week of starting support.
Decide how to securely share and store information
Your server information and customer data are super important. Just like how your data center has multiple levels of security and server reliability features, your support provider should also have thoroughly thought out security systems to keep your critical data safe. So, before you share your server/customer information, you need to be double sure how securely your service provider will store and share your data.
For example, Bobcares uses ISO 27001:2013 information security standard to secure your data. It is by far the strictest security standard out there for protecting sensitive data. End-to-end industry-grade encryption, access restriction on need-to-know basis, access logging, strong password policies, and access list revocation are a few of the mandatory security policies enforced by this standard. By being ISO 27001:2013 certified, your data is secured against all known methods of disclosure right from the moment you share it to the time we delete it from our systems.
Plan the service transition
No matter how great your support provider is, they’ll still need some time to understand the support culture unique to your business. It’s like when you get new staff – they’ll need a bit of time to get acclimatized with your company.
Ideally the engineers assigned to support you should work closely with you for a couple of weeks to understand what your customers expect. Some common points that vary from one company to another are:
- Do your customers expect short, fast answers, or are they looking for detailed answers in the first shot?
- Do they expect services to be configured for them, or are they just looking for tutorials?
- Are they sensitive to cultural nuances, or are they happy to just get expert help?
Transition period is an important phase in support initiation at Bobcares. We try to take as less of your time as possible, but we aim to do a thorough job of integrating into your support process. Quite a few of our customers have used our 7-day free trial as a platform for service transition.
Plan the ongoing engagement
Finally, you need to get a clear idea about how you can keep a finger on the pulse of your support. Your support provider should have well defined ways in which you’ll be appraised on how the support is performing.
At Bobcares, we help setup reporting systems that range from real-time monitoring to monthly business review meetings. It allows you to have a fine grain oversight, or a big picture view about the larger business goals. An account manager is always accessible to get custom reports on support parameters.
Setting the right expectations on your outsourced customer service provider ensures that your support works from day one. It helps you setup a strong foundation, sets the tone of your relationship, and helps you establish a culture of excellence.
Keep watching this blog for more on how to do outsourcing the right way. In the mean time, check out our previous articles on how to find the right support provider, how to choose the best support engineers, and how to improve the quality of technical support.