Customer support services are undeniably one of the most important aspects of a brand. As competition has increased manifold in the market, the need for such services has only increased. Brands are looking for customer loyalty and one of the best ways to get it is to provide terrific customer service. The better the customer support, the higher the chances of customer retention. One of the most popular ways of providing customer service is through call centers. While the name might have changed to contact centers in the recent past, people still prefer getting in touch with a brand by calling. This guide will enable you to understand customer service and support along with call center outsourcing.
India: The Hotbed Of Customer Support
India accounts for 70% of the entire world’s call center outsourcing and so it is safe to say that India is the largest hub when it comes to customer service outsourcing. The biggest reason for this is the English fluency of Indian professionals who are not only highly educated but have the right skill set that enables them to provide the best customer service. Customer service is all about being able to communicate properly and India has the right professionals who are qualified for the job and can get it done in the most efficient manner possible. This is because they are given appropriate training for the job.
India has the technology and infrastructure that is required by companies to provide the best services to the companies outsourcing customer support. India’s time zone difference of 12 hours has proven to be immensely beneficial to companies. The main reason is the ability to provide round-the-clock customer service to companies in Western Europe, the US, and the Asia Pacific. The telecom sector is privatized in India which has reduced the cost of telecom services by a large margin. This has given India an edge over other locations and countries that provide outsourcing to companies abroad.
The government of India provides an exemption of tax for the IT services that are outsourced. This has enabled easy export of IT services and has given rise to outsourcing services being provided to companies abroad. India has a relatively low cost of manpower which has further boosted the benefits for companies who want to outsource customer service. This slashes the cost for companies without compromising on quality. Some of the best customer service outsourcing companies include General Electric and American Express that have chosen India as their customer support outsourcing location.
Call center outsourcing companies prefer India because it can provide them with unique services that they require. This has proven to be advantageous since different companies have their unique set of requirements. Customers can easily contact customer support outsourced to India via email, phone or live chat. India has all the latest tools that enable them to provide the best customer support and guarantee customer satisfaction of the highest level. Indian customer support companies provide training periodically to ensure the customer support provided is top-notch and nothing but the best. This enables professionals to better understand their job.
Call centers in India have quality management systems in place. These enable the proper quality of customer support to be given to customers. The high quality of services is always maintained as proper training is always given to customer care professionals. India’s rich source of call center professionals enables a large volume of customers to be managed with ease. This makes it a major benefit as outsourcing companies find it easy to scale when the requirement arises. India is one of the favorites of customer service outsourcing companies because it provides the best of everything when compared to Indonesia and the Philippines.
As India can take care of customer support entirely, companies can focus on their core business processes rather than worrying about customer support. This frees them up from having to take care and monitor every small detail of their business. India makes it easy for any sized business to be able to get the best customer support services without spending way too much money on overhead expenses or setting up a customer support center in-house. This can benefit large and small businesses alike since costs will be cut and this will enable them to put their money in other parts of the business.
Types Of Customer Support Services
There are 7 types of customer support services that companies can choose from:
Live chat customer service is beneficial for all companies because agents can serve multiple customers at once. Live chat customer service also means faster response time. There can be predefined responses made for queries that are asked repetitively and this can help provide quick service to customers. Archives can be made if required by the customer service agent and the customer. The problem with live chat option is that it becomes difficult for agents to determine how the customer is feeling. It is not as efficient as phone customer support.
FAQs on customer service is the one that is a part of your website. Once written, it can stay on your website forever so customers can take a look whenever they wish. It decreases the number of emails and phone calls with regards to common queries of customers. This can take some load off the customer service agents. The set-up aspect is better in FAQ customer service. The problem with this type of customer service is that the information should be up-to-date. The question and answer should be written clearly so that every type of customer can understand it.
Phone customer service might seem like it is losing its sheen but many customers feel comfortable with this type of customer support. It enables faster problem understanding which means faster problem solving too. Agents can better tell how the customer is feeling and so can serve him better. It is easier to talk verbally and for many people who are better at phone interactions find this type of customer support easy. The problem is that staff might be unavailable at all times, younger people are not that interested in calling, and network can pose a problem.
Social media customer service is a convenient option for customers as they can easily access customer support through their social media handles. Another benefit is that the service can be provided by a live chat. Since other customers can take a look at questions, they can help give the answers thereby enabling the customer support agents to save time. The response can be read by anyone and so it is an efficient support method. There might be negative feedback which everyone can see and not everyone is into social media.
Email customer service is still popular as it enables customers to send a query via email. This makes it convenient for customers to send in their queries whenever they wish. Customer care agents can automate responses for queries that are recurrently asked. It is easier to archive emails and both will be clear about what was communicated. This can lead to better problem solving as both will be on the same page. The problem is that it might take some time to type and read and is a time-consuming process overall.
Customer self-service is an option that can benefit people who have special needs or suffer from any type of disability. This type of service is available on your website always so customers can access it with ease. Companies can provide it in many languages and it is helpful for product or service specifics without making calls or contacting customer service. However, the problem is that the information should be accurate and up-to-date. It should be clear and concise. It does not provide individual problem-solving.
On-site customer service enables customer service agents to fully understand the problem face-to-face. This enables efficient problem-solving. It is convenient from the customer point of view because they are getting the service at home. It can further help the customer to think highly of the company when the customer support agent displays his high level of expertise. The problem with this type of customer service is that it is not feasible for all companies especially if the company has foreign clients.
Which customer support service type is best for your company depends on the nature of your company and which option is best for assuring customer satisfaction. You might need a few or all of the customer support services types.
7 Reasons Why Call Centers Are Outsourced
Call center outsourcing services are increasingly being used by companies, here are the reasons why companies make that decision.
When in-house call centers are established it is difficult to always ensure that high volumes of calls are coming in. If they are not, then it means that customer service professionals are sitting idle with nothing to do in the meanwhile. It becomes difficult to figure out when there will be high volumes of calls and when there will be low volumes of calls. Outsourcing call centers provide the benefit of being able to handle any type of call volumes. For example, if the volume has peaked then outsourced call centers can ensure that more professionals can provide customer support. Outsourced call centers schedule staff better and there are lesser complications involved.
The providers of outsourced call centers work with multiple clients and this enables them to divide the costs between the clients. That is, the infrastructure, training, and equipment costs are reduced since many clients are paying for it. This makes it beneficial for companies that are taking the services of the outsourced call centers since they have to pay lesser. The cost is substantially reduced when companies outsource. This is because when companies choose to outsource, they are paying on a call basis. This drives down transactional costs considerably for companies. When outsourcing the idle time is reduced, which is another benefit of call center outsourcing.
Call center professionals do not work for one type of service or product only. Usually, they work for multiple clients and companies giving them the ability to handle an array of situations. This trait makes it easy for them to adapt and provide a range of customer support services to customers of companies who have outsourced. Most of the time, agents who work at outsourced call centers are trained and have experience in taking up calls for different clients. This nature of adaptability ensures they can easily handle different types of processes and requirements of companies making them experts of different brands.
Not all companies can provide 24/7 customer service in-house because it isn’t realistic for a range of companies. Even if agents agree to work at odd timings to provide customer support, the cost is likely to be higher. However, when the companies outsource, it is possible to provide service 24/7 to customers because of the time difference that can be taken advantage of. This enables customers to use any method of customer service and they can get in touch with customer support staff in no time. In addition, the cost of this 24/7 availability is much lower when compared to 24/7 in-house customer support.
Outsourcers take the time to analyze information to improve the services they provide. Since the outsourced call centers work with many clients, it is possible to gain useful insights through tools. Call centers invest in providing top-notch services to their clients and they invest in quality monitoring and control. This enables them to assess the performance of the agents and improve if there is anything that needs improvement. Outsourced call centers give importance to SLAs so that the best quality of services is maintained. In-house call centers are usually unable to monitor quality this efficiently because it comes with a higher cost.
Call center professionals require knowledge that sometimes comes with only experience. With in-house call center agents, this might be difficult. However, when outsourcing companies are used they have the best people on board. These people have years of experience and expertise required to handle customer calls in the best way possible. This enables them to provide service that is unmatched because of their skills and knowledge that allows them to give top-level service. Outsourced call centers have the best specialists in different aspects of customer support such as technology, planning, training, and quality assurance.
Cost management is an effective method that companies need to know about to ensure they can measure their profits. When the in-house customer support is utilized, this measurement becomes difficult because it is tough to measure the profits according to each customer. However, outsourced call centers can give precise details of costs to companies which can help them know which campaigns are working and which ones are not working. This is because the outsourcers can measure costs on a per-call basis due to investment in measuring tools. This enables them to get better cost details.
Differences Between Inbound And Outbound Call Centers
You might be wondering about how inbound and outbound call centers differ. Here are the differences that set these apart.
In inbound call centers, more incoming calls are made when compared to outbound calls. That is, if a call center receives more than 50% of its total calls then it is an inbound call center. This is usually the case when customers are calling call centers when they want to know about something, when they want to suggest something or when they want to complain about something. The agent is more in control in this case because the customer needs help and is dependent on the help of the agent. There are higher success rates in inbound calls since the customer has contacted the professional for a reason.
On the other hand, an outbound call center is where more than 50% of the total calls are made when compared to inbound calls. An outbound call is when sales representations and professionals are calling customers. This can be for renewals of products, offers, payments, offers, and updates. Success rates of outbound calls are lower because it all depends on the customer’s reaction of whether they are interested in what the agent has called for or not. The customer might not reveal what he needs and he may not be receptive at all. There is no surety about the nature of the call since it is customer-dependent.
The technologies that the two types of call centers use and require are different too because their mode of operation differs from one another. In inbound call centers, incoming calls are more. This means the integration of ticketing service, monitoring of calls, and call control technology tools are required to manage the calls. The call control technology required is the ability to put the customer on hold, mute the call, barge-in, and transfer the call if that is required. In outbound call centers, tools such as outbound IVR, dialers, and CRM integration are some of the tools that are required to handle calls.
In inbound call centers, since the customers are the callers, they feel like they are in charge of the call more than the agents. When the call comes in, the call center agents should be able to fetch the customer information they need and then be able to solve the problem of the customers with ease. The customer might require any type of information, and the agent should be able to get it instantly without making the customer wait for a long time. The agent needs to be polite and should be able to understand the problem or query of the customer thoroughly before providing them with a solution to their query.
In outbound call centers, agents need a different type of skill to at least get to know whether the customer is interested in what the agent is talking about. Agents in outbound call centers need to be good at persuading the customer to at least give whatever they are selling a thought. Moreover, the agent should be quick to analyze the mood of the potential customer when they pick the call and to take the conversation where the agent wants to take it to. Agents need to be alert at all times during the call to ensure the customer is being at least a bit receptive to what the agent is trying to say. Agents need to recognize proper closing in such types of calls too.
The way the two are measured is different. Inbound call centers take into account whether the agent was able to satisfy the customer by providing a proper solution to the problem. The time taken to solve the problem will also be taken into account. Outbound call centers determine how many conversions took place and whether the agent was able to convince the customer or not. Both of these types of call centers pose different challenges to call center agents. Proper training, right tools, and experience are required for both of them to work as they should. Companies can opt for inbound call center outsourcing or outbound call center outsourcing.
Advantages Of Customer Service Outsourcing
If you are thinking about call center outsourcing then here is a round-up of major advantages of making that decision.
- It costs way lesser to outsource than set up an in-house call center. This is because of the low pay rate in countries such as India, which is a popular choice for an outsourcing call center. The cost of living is lower and so is the wages paid to workers which means more savings.
- It is beneficial for companies who want to set up their companies in foreign countries. For instance, companies that want to eventually open a branch in the outsourced location will have the staff for a call center who understand the specifics of the job.
- It becomes possible to provide customer service every second of the day. Customers expect to get customer support whenever they need and by outsourcing, this becomes a realistic option due to time zones.
- It is easier to manage calls when there is a high volume of calls. For instance, during the holiday season, companies might experience a surge in the number of calls that are coming in. These calls can be effectively managed by call center outsourcing.
- In outsourcing, a lot of time can be saved. This is because picking the right call center agents, training them, and setting up everything will take a lot of time. The staffing portion is handled by outsourcing call center so companies can focus on other areas of the company.
- Employees who work in outsourced call centers are not full-time employees and so they work when required. This brings in the element of flexibility since the needs can be accommodated better when compared to the in-house call center.
Call center outsourcing is beneficial to companies of any size since they will enable companies to stay focused on other core business areas. The best location to outsource to is India because of low-cost manpower, a large pool of professionals, the latest infrastructure, and customized solutions. Outsourcing call centers provide better savings and better customer satisfaction according to analysis and this is why more companies are opting for it. If the in-house call center is established then there is a higher risk, investment, and fund required to operate it efficiently. Not only are resources more expensive but the overall cost skyrockets when compared to outsourced call centers.