Outsourcing technical support : Advantages and Disadvantages
Running a business can be immensely rewarding.
But it can also be immensely exhausing, especially in an industry like Web Hosting or Digital Marketing.
Customers would call you right in the middle of a family dinner, or servers would go down while you are travelling.
There’s always a time in each web host’s life, when they decide, “Enough is enough. I must get someone to take care of all this.”
Many people hire a tech inhouse. Some hire a free lancer online, and others outsource their support to a professional company.
Each choice has its own pros and cons.
Today, we’ll take a look at the top advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing technical support.
Advantages of technical support outsourcing
1. Focus on what you do best
This is an obvious advantage.
When someone is taking care of your customers and servers, you’ll actually get time to do what you do best.
You get time to create beautiful websites, run your marketing campaigns, or build innovative hosting features.
This benefit is not 100% achieved when you hire techs inhouse. You’ll still be called in for day-to-day management decisions. You’ll be disturned by the phone calls or other chit chat of an office environment.
Whereas when outsourcing tech support to a professional company, you have the freedom to get involved in daily business as much or as little as you want. Support managers with years of experience in web hosting can take care of business if you want some “quiet time”.
For instance, here at Bobcares, we transparently take care of support operations of hundreds of web hosts and digital marketers.
Each one of our customers interact with an account manager whose job is to know you, your business, your priorities, and your needs; and apply it in day-to-day support engagements so that your customers get the best support in the industry, while keeping your unique “signature”.
So, even if you take your hands off the wheel, you can be sure that things will work perfectly well.
2. Use the best technology for your business
There are always two ways of doing things – the efficient way, and the inefficient way.
New technologies and methods are invented all the time to solve age old problems like Spam, Malware, Resource overload, etc.
Adopting better technologies early will help you gain an edge over competition, in addition to saving support time and money.
When you act alone, your resources are limited to know which systems are good, and which ones are not.
Whereas, when you partner with a professional support company like Bobcares, you tap into the collective knowledge of hundreds of engineers. You’ll get an educated, well balanced opinion on what technology you should use to keep your service top-notch.
Here at Bobcares, close to 300 computer engineers collaborate and manage thousands of servers every day.
We test new software, and see the latest technologies in action.
So, when one of our customers ask us for a business advice on say, the best anti-spam software to use, or the best SSL provider to use, we have a well thought out advice that’s backed by data and experience.
Over time, this helps our customers to serve stable, world-class services at a low cost.
3. Get in on emerging markets and technologies
There are disruptors in every market.
Facebook disrupted MySpace to become the top dog. VPS took away a big chunk out of shared and dedicated hosting markets.
The future is said to be specialized application hosting.
How do you know what’s the wave of the future? How do you transition your business to the new technology?
When you partner with an outsourced support company, you get the benefit of their insight into the industry. You’ll be able to make decisions that keeps you ahead of the game than play catchup.
Here at Bobcares, we believe that our success is closely tied with the success of our customers.
That is why our quality manager takes initiative and conduct management review meetings where we share our insights into how to better help your customers and grow your company.
And it is a matter of pride that we’ve been able to power the growth of our customers. Some of our customers who signed up with us as hosting resellers have grown to shared hosts, to VPS hosts and then on to multi-NOC cloud hosting providers.
4. Easy scaling up and burst coverage
You never know when your hard disk is going to crash, or when your servers are going to get hit by a DDoS attack.
Unpreditable events like this can throw any support team into a dizzy and force everyone to pull all-nighters.
However, if you have a support company like Bobcares taking care of your tech support, you’ll get extra staff from spare capacity to cover emergencies.
Here at Bobcares, we anticipate that our customers might need burst coverage at short notice, or will need to expand support capacity with a few weeks notice.
So, when the need arises, our customers are never left high and dry.
Disadvantages of technical support outsourcing
1. Non-local support
Many business owners support their customers themselves in the first few years of setting up shop.
Their customers grow to expect a certain style, language and method of handling support calls.
That usually changes when an external company (or freelancer) starts answering support calls, especially if the support company is form a different cultural background.
This loss in familiarity is known to upset some customers, even leading them to cancel their accounts.
That is why you must carefully look at the location of front-line support of a tech support provider.
Here at Bobcares, we understand the importance of putting the customer at ease from the first “Hello”.
Which is why we use our All American support team in Phoenix, AZ for front-line phone support. End-customers talk to technicians whom they can relate to, and feel at ease discussing their support issue.
All operations that do not require direct call with end-customers (eg. server management, email support) is off-loaded to our office in India, and the cost savings is passed on to our customers.
2. Lack of engineering expertise
These days people rely on administration software like cPanel or VistaCP to manage customer accounts and server.
Over time, it gives an illusion that all you need to know to run a business it to know that particular software.
Many support companies advertise their expertise in a particular administrative tool, and business owners signup with these “experts”.
Often these business owners get a rude awakening when an error crops up that is not documented in the help pages, and end up spending many hours or days waiting for the vendor’s support team to respond.
That is why it is important to look for core engineering expertise when signing up with a support company. Do they have certified engineers? Do they have expertise in the underlying operating system? Can they work without an administrative tool?
Over the past 16+ years, we’ve seen that issues in real life don’t come in a nice package that can be solved with a few clicks in the administration panel.
That is why our backend support teams are formed 100% of computer science engineers.
When something doesn’t work right in the administrative interface, we toll up our sleeves and go look at the operating system code and logs to figure out what’s wrong and fix it within minutes.
Even in the most hopeless of situations, we have the expertise to find a way, or build a solution from scratch to keep the business running until a new proper system can be brought online.
3. Robotic answers (no personalization)
Many support companies suffer from the “mass production” syndrome.
You would have heard it in the voice response of telephone companies. The robotic monotone voice that lacks warmth and personalization.
That’s a killer for those kind of companies that want to stand apart from the crowd.
Which is why you should look at how a company responds and handles support instances.
We learned early on that people love the “next-door neighborly” kind of conversations in support interactions.
Which is why at Bobcares, we take extra effort to personalize each phone call, live chat and email to match the tone and expectations of the person sending in a support request.
It is hard to know if a company offers personalized support, and that is why we offer a 1 week no-obligation free trial or even refer new customers to our existing customers, so that they can hear first hand how our support is like.
4. Fly by night support companies
There are always people who try to make a quick buck.
Tech support industry also have a few of those.
The trouble is, these companies disappear one fine day, leaving many companies high and dry.
That is why it is important to choose a company that has a long industry presense and good reputation.
Bobcares is a through and through tech support company, and has been in the business for 16+ years. We have customers who have been with us for as long.
Our offices are not merely mail boxes for a token presence. We have established infrastructure and staff operating out of our offices in Kochi, India and Phoenix, USA. We have our customers visiting our facilities from time to time.
All this gives our customers the peace of mind that they have partnered with a professional company that is committed to delivering on all the promises made during signup.
There are many advantages and a few disadvantages for outsourcing your technical support. Here we’ve listed down the top pros and cons of outsourcing, and how Bobcares mitigates the risks associated with the disadvantages.