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What all Retailers Should Know About Outsourcing Customer Service

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As your business grows, so too will the customer support tickets, making it critically important that you scale your support team alongside your customer or order growth. Why? Because customer service could make or break your company’s success:

  • 68% will pay more for products and services from a company with good customer service.
  • Around half of customers would switch to a competitor after just one bad customer experience.
  • 90% of customers say an “immediate” response is vital when they have a customer service question.

Unfortunately, labor shortages have made it difficult for many companies to scale their customer service teams at the same rate their orders and support tickets are increasing. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution: partnering with a reputable outsourcing firm.

Outsourcing occasionally gets a bad rap (which is why it’s important to pick a good partner — jump to the bottom of this article for tips on how to vet them), but when done correctly, it can have huge benefits for both your company and your customers.

You get access to a wider range of job markets: Hiring offshore customer support teams isn’t just a cost-saver — it’s also necessary for providing native language support in native time zones for your international customers. In fact, 74% of consumers are more likely to repurchase from the same brand if after-sales care was offered in their native language.

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The catch? Hiring internationally can be tricky. Hiring cultures vary from place to place, expected benefits are different — even setting up an interview while navigating global time zones can be tough. If you’re not already ingrained in the areas in which you’re hiring, the process will demand even more of yourtime, resources and attention. Working with an outsourcing partner makes it simple. Global outsourcing companies are embedded in a wide range of job markets across the globe and have decades of experience hiring in these areas.

You can focus on scaling without the stress of hiring: No matter what position you’re hiring for, you want someone who matches your company culture and talent requirements, plus has a natural interest in what you’re building. Finding that exact right person takes time — not something you have a lot of when you’re scaling quickly. And while you may know exactly what to look for in your next developer or ecommerce specialist, you may not be as familiar with customer support.

When you outsource your customer support teams, you get to tap into an already established infrastructure, meaning hiring can happen faster with better quality and culture results. Good outsourcing partners are experts in assessing and matching talent, plus they already have streamlined quality assurance/training programs and the best tools in place. Above all, you get to focus on what matters: growth.

You get expert customer service insights: A strong support team is doing more than just answering customers. They’re also actively collecting customer experience insights and bubbling them back up. A good outsourced customer support team will be aware of customer pain points, feature requests, opportunities to improve the customer or agent experience, etc. and will share these insights to increase the overall efficiency of the business.

Your outsourcing partner can also (and should) be an extension of your team, providing leadership level insights for customer experience. For example, at PartnerHero, we work with hundreds of companies across a huge range of industries, and as a result, we have insights that can improve the customer experience. Upcoming industry trends, popular tools, benchmarks (i.e. customer satisfaction scores, average response time, etc.) — you get access to unmatched data through your outsourced support.

So how do you pick the right outsourcing partner? Most companies have two major concerns when considering outsourcing: “Is it really possible to create high-quality customer support with outsourcing?” and “Will I lose control of my brand, voice, insights, etc.?”

These are important questions, and exactly why it’s vital to choose the right outsourcing partner. In short, you’ll want to look for a company that focuses on quality and values.

These are the questions you’ll want to ask to vet your next outsourcing partner:

  • How do you screen talent? What is your recruitment process like?
  • Do you use a generic profile or do you custom hire for each brand? Pro tip: Someone who promises they can hire in one to two weeks is probably using a generic hiring template. Be wary of these quick-turn promises. A more thorough partner will take the extra time to get to know your brand and customer service style, and then find candidates that you would hire yourself.
  • What is your pay and benefits structure? A quality outsourcing partner offers above-average pay and progressive benefits — and they shouldn’t have concerns about sharing that data as you’re making your decision. If a potential partner offers minimum pay and bare bones benefits, it’s usually a red flag. Remember, if their workers are treated well, they will want to perform that much better — improving your own customer satisfaction.
  • Who are the other brands you work with? Request references or informal case studies of programs that match yours so you can be sure the partner has the right experience.
  • How do you market yourselves to your employees? Go to their jobs page and look at their listings. Would you be comfortable working there?

It all comes back to a very basic principle: someone who is underpaid, hired through a generic job ad and slotted into any position is probably not going to create incredible customer experiences or stick around long enough to master your product. On the flip side, someone who is paid well, feels valued in their job and is matched to an opportunity that they’re excited about is going to do great work for your brand.


Darnell Witt is the VP of Business Development at PartnerHero, an outsourcing company for companies that care about quality and values.

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