Benefits of outsourcing a customer service call centre
With consumers becoming comfortable with proactive, predictive, and delightful customer service experiences that utilise machine learning, artificial intelligence, and ‘self-serve’ support, the human touch may be increasingly overlooked.
Consumer Preferences and Outsourced Contact Centre Services
55% of customers prefer speaking to a human customer service agent, preferably on the phone. So businesses are often missing a trick by not outsourcing customer service, or upskilling their in-house teams to provide their customer's with traditional human-to-human experiences. Calls to businesses are expected to exceed 169 billion annually in 2020. These calls are 1000-1500% more likely to generate a successful sale or follow-up activity than digital form submissions, which means call centres are by far the most powerful channel for generating revenue.
According to a study by Google, 61% of consumers phone a company when they’re in the early stages of the buying cycle. Consumers prefer to call instead of utilising digital channels because they’re looking to get a quick answer (59%) or talk to a real person (57%). This study also found that consumers are more likely to call a business when making a high-value purchase in verticals such as automotive, finance, or travel.
There is clearly, a commercial incentive for having an excellent contact centre. However nailing the customer experience isn’t as simple as just ‘having a customer service team’, Exceeding customer expectations with the correct customer service processes and procedures is usually the result of a carefully crafted system that drives continuous improvement based on customer feedback.
What is customer service outsourcing?
Customer service outsourcing is the process of moving some or all of your customer support operations to a third-party specialist. Businesses and the public sector in most industries outsource their contact centre services. However, it is not necessarily the right strategic move for all organisations and departments. This depends on:
- Your stage of growth
- Your customers’ preferred contact channels
- Your audience size, demographics (B2C/G2C) and/or firmographics (B2B/G2B)
- Whether the vast majority of your customers can self-serve
- Seasonality and volatility of demand
No matter how large and seemingly sophisticated they are, established businesses and organisations’ customer support operations can leave customers feeling frustrated. New research from Whistl found that being unhelpful and disinterested are the two main ways businesses’ call centres can drive some customers away.
Customers who became frustrated and parted ways with businesses. Leaving customers on hold for too long is one of the major reasons call centres drive some customers away, especially, for those customers aged over 55.
Despite consumers’ general dismay at companies’ customer support efforts, some firms are exceeding their customer expectations. This is often achieved by outsourcing call centre handling to a specialist third-party. What is the point of outsourcing and is it right for your company?
What are the different types of outsourced customer support?
Depending on the variables outlined above, your business or organisation may only require support with certain business functions. So, what is the role of customer service? and what contact centre services are available to my businesses needs? Well, there is a range of outsourced support services for businesses to choose from, including:
An inbound call centre is where a team of experts handle your customer’s inbound queries. Inbound call centres could handle queries such as ‘where is my order?’, ‘do you have this in stock?’ and general business enquiries, that are made via phone calls, social media and live chat. A team of experts handles your customer queries such as ‘where is my order’ and general business enquiries, via phone, social media, live chat.
Unlike an inbound call centre, outbound contact services involve outward contact from a contact centre team to your customers or potential customers. From telesales to data capture, an outbound contact centre company could become an extension of your team, complementing your inbound contact centre services.
Bureau call centre services involve dedicating shared contact centre resources to businesses that have infrequent demand spikes. A bureau call centre team is designed for businesses who have long periods of dormancy or for one-off campaigns such as Groupon promotions, or a government campaign about a key issue.
Ideal for businesses who experience fluctuations in demand. An overflow customer service team can take care of sharp rises in call traffic during unexpectedly busy periods or pre-planned peak seasons. An overflow call handling team is usually used in addition to your own in-house services.
Many customers make calls outside of 'typical' business hours, this solution helps businesses capitalise on opportunities that could have been missed.
These services are designed for online retailers, brands and wholesalers to act as an extension of their customer service team, taking care of product and delivery queries. Outsourced e-commerce contact centre support specialists will really get under the skin of your brand to become true product experts
Telemarketing services are ideal for B2C and B2B businesses who want to outsource certain aspects of demand generation, at different stages of the customer journey. An outsourced telemarketing company could be tasked with:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Reconsideration to drive conversion
- Driving upsell/cross to increase the customer lifetime value, or for the purpose
- Conducting research to help the client you better understand your target market
At which stage of a company’s growth is the right time to outsource customer service?
At Whistl we recently conducted research into 1,000 UK consumers’ perceptions of customer service performance in a broad range of different industry sectors. We found that a poor call centre experience is pushing around half of customers away, with slightly more so among men and significantly more among middle-aged (less among younger customers). It is, therefore, crucial to get customer service right to ensure your customer churn rate is kept to a minimum, and your competitors don’t sweep up opportunities that you miss.
As highlighted in the previous sections, there is an effective contact centre outsourcing solution to suit most businesses. Based on the number of calls your business receives, generally, if you are handling less than 50 contacts per day it would normally make sense to retain this work in-house and expand internally.
If you are managing your customer service teams in-house, it could help to refer to some of the guidance and tips outlined from our research findings to retain and delight more customers on a regular basis. and your competitors don’t sweep up opportunities that you miss.
Which industries benefit most from outsourcing contact centre operations?
At Whistl we recently conducted research on customer service and found that:
- The financial, utilities, telecoms, and insurance industries are getting the highest volume of inbound contact queries by phone.
- Men call organisations in Financial, Telecoms and Insurance sectors more than women
- Women call organisations in Healthcare sector more than men
We also found that:
- TV Media/Internet/Telecoms, Financial and Retail are considered the top 3 Best sectors in terms of customer service performance and these sectors perform better (% ‘Best’ indexed on % called) than Utilities and Insurance
- Women are more likely than men to consider that companies in the Retail sector have the best call centres.
- 63% consider service ‘Best’ if it resolves issues quickly or tries to help.
So what are the benefits of outsourcing a customer service call centre?
In this article we have covered what outsourcing customer service is, what it involves, and whether it is right for you. We then looked at the variety of different types of outsourced customer support and how each of these can help you at each stage of the customer journey, and every stage of your business growth, whichever industry sector you operate in. We delved into new research conducted by Whistl, the UK’s leading delivery management company to identify consumer perceptions, market opportunities, and which sectors have the most room for improvement. Hopefully, y now you are better informed as to whether or not now is the right time to outsource all or some of your customer service.
Here are some examples of businesses who have benefited from outsourcing their customer service call centres with Whistl:
In the Entertainment and Leisure industry, Micro Scooters has been working with Whistl now for over 8 years. Their partnership sees Whistl Contact Centre services manage all delivery related customer contact queries. Whistl also handles overflow and out of hours customer service via a multichannel team. In 2016, Micro Scooters won Best eCommerce Customer Service at the eCommerce Awards.
The Noble Collection is a manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of licenced film and TV properties, They have outsourced their inbound customer services to Whistl in the form of bureau customer support, enabling them to capitalise on huge spikes in order volumes. The Noble Collection also entrust Whistl with their e-commerce warehousing and fulfilment.
Elder is a 24-hour live-in care provider, who is currently the third fastest-growing company in the UK. They approached Whistl in May 2018, following a care-home test call experiment where Barchester (also managed by Whistl) had the best customer service. Due to their significant growth, Elder was restricted in terms of space and resource so were keen to outsource their inbound and outbound contact centre services. Elder’s partnership with Whistl resulted in converting over 95% of inbound calls into appointments.
Is customer service outsourcing right for your business?
When deciding whether to outsource your customer service operations, you need to measure customer satisfaction and gaps in service quality to identify opportunities. It is also important to define your business strategy and growth aspirations.
As detailed in this article there is a wide range of different types of call centre operations and which one you will most benefit from completely depends on your business model and the nature of your customers’ contact frequencies and channels.
Get in touch with Whistl to have a discussion about how your business can benefit from outsourced contact centre services.
Customer service will become increasingly sophisticated thanks to automation, greater personalisation and artificial intelligence. But the human touch will always be important. Identifying, where customers will benefit most from person-to-person interaction, will ensure you can deliver a service that minimises cost and maximises customer satisfaction.
With the right outsourced customer service partner, you will benefit from wider industry knowledge and trends, to innovate within all the channels you provide customer service through.
At Whistl, we help businesses in a broad range of sectors with outsourced customer services. All of our services are tailored to the needs of your business and with a wide range of solutions, we are well suited to give effective customer service, with our outsourced contact centre.