Online Businesses Have A Unique Customer Service Advantage
Outsourcing Can Lead to Really Good Customer Service!Credit: http://images.wisegeek.com/brass-key.jpg
Outsourcing is a great way that online businesses - with the necessary experience - can actually improve their customer service. Firstly, let's have a gander at some of the key benefits that come from the outsourcing of customer service in an online or online-focused business:
Communication = Faster
When you engage a reputable outsourcing provider, there is a contract that stipulates the speed and quality of response times to phone and email outlets. Pricing's usually calculated at a 'per-use' rate. What does this mean? It means the response time to your clients can be increased exponentially - but if it's not being used, it won't cost you any extra.
The Scalability Factor
If you are a recently formed online business (last five years) I would say your business is DEFINITELY in a growing or growth period, so the ability to quickly scale up business operations is a good one to have. If you set up a decent outsourcing solution for your customer service procedures, you'll put yourself in good stead for the future.
However, please, please, absolutely please take note of the fact that businesses who scale up rapidly without appropriate investment in planning, infrastructure and contingencies fall flat on their face (or faces in the case of joint ventures). Don't create a situation where clients are getting bad quality CS because of lack of planning on your part.
The big reason behind using outsourcing for customer service movements is that it is inherently cheaper. By outsourcing the work to someone working from home, you aren't paying their electricity, you aren't paying for their office space, and you aren't paying for their equipment. They are trained up, the right person or people will do the job well and Bob's your uncle - normally a minimum of 200% reduction in wages per person, per year.
What I Am NOT Saying
I am NOT trying to say that cheaper is better. If you are a bit foreign to the concept of improving customer service in your business - do NOT take this post as the catalyst to start outsourcing willy-nilly. The only businesses who I am suggesting this idea to are the online businesses that have been running for 3-5 years, who have built up great rapport with their customers and are now at a point where they need extra support on the front lines of their operations but don't have the income or capital to justify it.
What I AM Saying (to experienced online businesses workers)
Choose a good outsourcing provider, train up the staff personally - for Pete's sake, don't outsource the training!!! -and ensure that they deliver as you want them to. Over time, you can help them to improve their skill set and they will really become an asset to your business and an awesome part of your team.