How to Succeed with Customer Care Outsourcing
March 18, 2008
By Mae Kowalke
, TMCnet Contributor
Outsourcing customer care functions can be a way for companies to reduce their budgets without having a negative effect on the relationship with clients. But, only if it is done correctly. There was a time when it was possible to hand all customer support functions over to a third-party specialist firm and call it a day. Today, the use of customer care by best-in-class companies has become more sophisticated.
Companies purchasing outsourced services now have the option to hand the time-consuming nature of customer care over to a third party, but retain oversight so they’re able to have visibility into, control over and ability to participate in the process. This enables companies to keep their budgets under control without having to compromise their business goals.
In a white paper, The 3 Keys to Successful Customer Care Outsourcing in the New Era
, Contactual (News
) describes a trio of best practices for modern customer care outsourcing.
First, Contactual says in its white paper, the outsourcer chosen should view the business relationship being formed as a partnership rather than one company serving another. The reason for this is that typical customer-vendor relationships can become competitive rather than collaborative. That might work in some areas of business, but not so well when it comes to customer care.
Collaboration is key to successful customer care, and end-clients cannot be adequately served unless the company and the outsourcer work together to achieve common goals. When done right, outsourcing results in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Second, the company looking for assistance with customer care should have a firm grasp on the level of flexibility offered by the outsourcer. There are several elements involved here. One is the scope of engagement: how much of a role the outsourcer expects to play. Outsourcing doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and in fact it’s often best to start with a small-scale, targeted deployment and build from that.
Another element of flexibility is how able the outsourcer is to “right-size” service delivery. This refers to the ability of the outsourcer to flex in response to changing volumes in demand for customer service. Likewise, the outsourcer should be receptive to changing conditions, whether they come from the customer side, the technology side or the supply side. Speedy deployment of services and ability to scale up and down are also qualities of a flexible outsourcer.
Finally, companies enlisting the help of an outsourcer should avoid settling for outdated technology. Advances in communications technology have transformed the contact center, and companies should partner with an outsourcer that uses the latest tools. Some things to look for are distributed environments and multi-channel communications.
To learn more about the elements that make up a successful client-outsourcer relationship, please visit the Virtual Call Center
channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Contactual.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Convergence in Telecommunication, brought to you by Comarch (News - Alert).
Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.