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Does Outsourcing Customer Service Make You Anxious? Here’s How to do it Smoothly! 

Dekorative bild av en kundserviceperson som pratar med en kund med hörlurar.

Is your business considering outsourcing customer service to achieve cost savings and improve competitiveness? With careful planning and partner selection, outsourcing can bring significant benefits. Therefore, it’s crucial to invest in the initial stages of the outsourcing process.  

To help you in this regard, here’s a checklist to support your outsourcing efforts and considerations for the early stages of the process. 

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1. Start with a Needs Assessment 

The first step of the process is to conduct an evaluation of your company’s current state and resource needs. This assessment will provide the necessary guidelines for outsourcing and later collaboration. 

Define the Challenges and Their Root Causes 

It’s important to be able to identify how problems are showing up and which processes they are associated with. For instance, is your company assigning staff to unsuitable tasks, frequently encountering similar challenges in daily operations or unable to meet objectives due to routine work taking up too much time? Alternatively, are resources being invested in areas that are diverting them away from development activities? 

It’s also important to consider whether the problems have a single common cause or multiple different ones. Sometimes, the root of the problem may not be immediately apparent, or it may have been addressed in the wrong ways. For example, quality issues in work and high employee turnover could result from an inadequate recruitment process. Work may also be hampered by various information systems or physical workspaces. 

Plan the Solution and the Required Resources 

If you are planning to outsource customer service, it is wise to first create an initial plan outlining a potential solution. This helps create a solid foundation for collaboration with the outsourcing partner and provides them with an understanding of the problems they are being asked to solve. Additionally, the plan should consider the resources needed for the solution, including financial investment, the time required for the process, and the expertise required from staff. 

Evaluate the Real Benefits of Outsourcing 

The outsourcing solution should not complicate daily operations or remove resources from one area without offering more opportunities and flexibility. When you are considering outsourcing, you should carefully ponder the potential benefits and risks of outsourcing and its impact on aspects like company culture. 

TIP! Explain to your employees why customer service is being outsourced, what the goals are, and how it will affect their daily work. Consider your staff’s feelings on outsourcing and respond openly and honestly to their questions. 

2. Give It Time 

Remember that outsourcing is not a quick fix. Complicated issues can’t be changed overnight, and outsourcing may at first cause a temporary decline in customer service quality and efficiency during the startup phase. To achieve your set goals and returns, your outsourced customer service operations need to stabilize.  

However, if you do not adequately prepare for the initial slow phase and fail to address related issues with your partner beforehand, outsourcing can potentially create more significant problems than the original ones. Therefore, it is crucial to have a clear strategy before outsourcing. 

3. Map Out Potential Partners 

When outsourcing customer service, it’s crucial to find a reliable partner with experience and insight into starting and continuously developing the partnership. You should look for a partner with a broad network of skilled employees and expertise in recruiting and training workers. 

It’s important to clarify how comprehensively and in what form you wish to outsource customer service. You don’t necessarily have to outsource all functions. You can implement outsourcing seasonally or by channel. If your company’s business and processes are variable, it’s wise to choose a service provider who can flexibly scale resources at short notice. 

Don’t proceed too far in the outsourcing process with too many partners simultaneously. Negotiating and responding to information requests with several partners at the same time can prove too burdensome. Each partner has its own ways of conducting background checks. Therefore, it’s advisable to choose a single partner that fits your criteria. 

TIP! When you are in the bidding process, talk with several potential partners before requesting a proposal. This will reveal new perspectives that you probably didn’t consider before! 

4. Conduct Investigations and Evaluations 

During the investigation phase, you need to shift your focus toward the available data on the function that your company is planning to outsource. You should evaluate solutions by collecting data on work volumes and examining current operational models and processes. If you plan to transfer the business, which includes staff relocation, you must also assess the costs and risks related to the current staff. 

It’s important to note that you should begin compiling information from your partners only after you have responded to all the information requests. This is a crucial step to save your organization some time. 

TIP! Gather data for at least the past 12 months for your partners. Ask each potential partner to present their solution, including a plan for initiating and taking over the outsourcing process. 

5. Choose Your Partner Carefully 

When it’s time to select your outsourcing partner, keep your customer service strategy continuously in focus. You probably want to ensure that future collaboration supports your brand’s strategy. You want to present your brand consistently to customers, whether the service is provided by your own staff or by the outsourcing partner. By choosing the right outsourcing partner, your company can gain the desired benefits cost-effectively and improve customer experience. 

It’s important to carefully examine the differences between potential partners. The cheapest option may turn out to be more expensive in practice if it cannot flexibly adapt and scale with the operation. 

Continue negotiations with the most suitable partner into the contract negotiation phase. 

6. Drafting the Contract 

Are you about to sign a deal with your outsourcing partner? Great! Before signing the contract, it’s important to discuss the goals of the collaboration and the desired quality of work with the future partner in detail. 

You can avoid surprises during the takeover of operations by establishing mutual expectations, defining methods and timelines, communicating clearly, and dividing responsibilities in advance. 

Key aspects of the contract include: 

  1. Service description 
  2. Goals 
  3. Responsibilities between parties 
  4. Pricing 
  5. Metrics defining the success of the collaboration (e.g., response time, resolution rate, and customer satisfaction) 

Metrics make it easy to monitor the quality of customer service, and if issues arise along the way, they can be addressed promptly. To facilitate the resolution of potential issues, ensure that your company has access to customer service conversations produced by your partner. 

TIP! The contract should also address how to terminate the agreement or resolve any disputes. 

Barona’s Customer Service Solutions 

Is it time to make sure that your customer receives timely service in the right channels? Barona is the solution.