When it comes to the operational costs of any business, large or small, one of the biggest line items on a monthly operational budget is customer service. From the costs to house the employees to the infrastructure required to keep a customer service operation going; it would almost be easier to just sell a product and not offer any support.
Until a business develops a perfect product which doesn’t require any follow-up support or service, that option isn’t available.
Instead, more and more operation managers are turning to other ways to reduce their customer service operation costs, with the most popular being the option to outsource.
Let’s not lie; outsourcing is an immediate way to reduce your customer service budget. However, it isn’t and shouldn’t be considered as a complete replacement of the customer service experience you currently provide in-house.
To reduce costs, outsourcing companies choose one of two models; operate overseas in countries where the cost of living and wages are low, and to lower the quality of staff being hired.
By far the most popular of the two choices is to operate entirely overseas. International outsourcing companies establish themselves in countries such as India and Mexico which have a high population of people who speak English along with low living wage requirements.
With this option, your entire customer service team will be located overseas.
The biggest impact this has on the customer service experience is caused by the accents of any service staff. Not that the staff is difficult to understand, however, if you are operating an American company then it can be a shock to your customers and can affect their experience, with customers often under a misperception that an overseas call center can’t resolve their concerns.
Lower Quality Staff
It’s important to read the title again. Lower quality staff; not low-quality staff.
When a contact center hires employees, they look for the best of the best at the price they can pay. With a regular contact center, this often results in a balance between employee ability and wage. However, when costs need to be cut, it is often salaries which are the first to be reduced, enticing less and less highly qualified staff members.
However, this doesn’t mean bad staff. Contact centers which utilize this model are well versed at identifying and hiring staff which can perform the job to an above satisfactory level while also accepting lower wages. This can be done through numerous incentives, such as bonuses, gift cards and vouchers for sites like the Groupon Coupons page for Rue 21, or even additional time off for holidays.
The important takeaway to establishing a contract with a provider who uses this model is that your customer service experience, while with an American accent, may not be at the level you and your customers currently expect.
When it comes to outsourcing your customer service operations, there are some reasons to make the switch. However, it’s important to remember that not all cost cutting measures are for the better. In the above two instances, there are many chances for customers to become frustrated and dissatisfied with your service, leading to a reduction in customer retention and new customer attraction.