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Customer support outsourcing – What goes wrong & how to avoid it

When you need to focus on your business, whether it is to establish a new one, or scale it up, outsourcing is a great option. You get professionals to deliver great support to your customers, while you spend time on issues that absolutely need your attention.

But all that works only if your support partner is capable of delivering a totally hands-off support operation.

How do you choose the right support partner? One way is to look at what CAN go wrong while outsourcing, and checking if your support company is equipped to prevent it.

Let’s take a quick look at what can go wrong in customer support outsourcing:

Complex issues go unresolved

Servers are complex machines, and can sometimes throw curve-ball errors, that doesn’t have readily available solutions.

Unfortunately, not every support company has the ability to analyze undocumented problems and fix them. Unskilled techs are known to cause extensive downtimes due to band-aid fixes or incorrect solutions.

That is why it is important to look at the expertise of support staff before you signup with a provider.

Tip : Find the qualifications of the support staff

Many service providers cut costs by recruiting students, people who have completed short term tech courses, or even people with non-technical degrees. This is like recruiting a lab technician instead of a doctor to do a surgery.

When evaluating a support provider, it is always a safe bet to insist on a good college degree, especially an Engineering degree in Computer Science or Electronics. An engineer (like a doctor) goes through 4 years of hard work studying Operating systems, Networking and Programming.

So, when it comes to a crunch, engineers can bank on their fundamental knowledge of computers and build a solution before your customers are affected.

When considering a new provider, ask them:

  • Do your techs have Engineering degrees?

Long resolution times

Some support companies claim they resolve issues very fast. But if you really look at the numbers, you’ll see they REPLY very fast, but it takes many back-and-forth emails over many hours to actually resolve the issue.

The more replies your customers have to type in, the more time they’re forced to sit in front of their PCs, get distracted from their business, and get disillusioned with your services.

Most of these issues happen because customers often supply incomplete information, and inexperienced techs keep asking for more data. In contrast, experienced techs can quickly zero in on the root cause and resolve an issue just by looking at the symptoms.

Tip : Gauge the experience of your provider

Collective experience of a Technical Support company is extremely important. In an experienced company, each tech would be surrounded by people with years of experience resolving a wide range of issues.

So, when a particularly vexing issue comes up, each engineer has a reservoir of talent pool around them to seek assistance. Result? Faster and better resolution.

When considering a new support provider, ask them:

  • How long have you been in existence?
  • What is your collective experience?
  • What is the average experience of your staff ?

You get negative reviews

From fast resolutions to effective communication, a lot of factors influence how a customer feels about your service.

Unfortunately, some support companies focus only on one or two of these factors, often leading to customer complaints.

There are companies that base their support operations within their company which gives them customer friendly first line support, but will cut corners on tech capability to keep costs down. Result : Unhappy customers.

Then there are companies that use off shore techs who have brilliant tech profiles, but face issues comprehending customers or don’t understand cultural nuances. Again, result : Unhappy customers.

When choosing a support company, try to find a middle ground.

Tip : Look at the location of first line support

What you need is a support company that has a local first line support, and a back-end server management team in an offshore location.

Your customers can call in to the local support number for fast, friendly support that they’re comfortable with. And in case they need in-depth assistance, a ticket can be raised to the back-end server management team who can resolve it via a non-voice channel.

For example, here at Bobcares, we provide our first line of support delivered over phone from our office in Phoenix, AZ. This team is backed by a team of server experts at our office in Kochi, India. This way our customers get the best of both worlds. End-users hear the voice of a support person they can relate to, and the company always has top-notch expertise to back them up.

So, when considering the quality of support, ask your provider:

  • Where is your first line support team located?

 

Conclusion

Outsourcing your customer support is a smart way to help spend time where it really matters. But, not all outsourcing stories end up well. Today we’ve seen the top few issues that happen while outsourcing, and how you can take precautions to avoid it.

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