Signs That You May Need to Outsource Customer Support

May 20, 2021

Discover the key indicators that you need a new, more strategic approach to meeting customer needs and keeping your business on track.

Knowing if and when you need to outsource can be like throwing a dart in the dark. If you outsource too soon, you risk higher overhead costs without generating more revenue. If you wait too long, you risk customer dissatisfaction, poor productivity, and employee burnout.

Each business’s scalability depends on your ability to start outsourcing at a pivotal moment. Here are the top signs that you’re ready to outsource, so you can make an informed decision.

Customer feedback mentions long wait times or poor resolution 

Pay attention to your company’s reviews on platforms such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you notice that many customers are complaining about long waits for service — or that their problem was not even solved — this is often a sign that your support team is either overworked or not fully qualified for their tasks.

Remember that many customers will not spend any more time in your support system than necessary. If they’re frustrated, they won’t re-engage to share their complaints. Instead, they’ll take to social media, which is why it’s important to monitor conversations around your brand and manage your reputation.

This feedback provides valuable insights into (a) whether you need to outsource and (b) which tasks to outsource. Long wait times can be reduced by augmenting your staff. Complex technical issues or customer complaints can be better handled by support workers with exceptional soft skills or technical knowledge. Outsourcing can gain you access to those experts without having to train them yourself.

Your customer support teams are overworked 

The more customers your business attracts, the greater the demands on your support teams. Chatbots and Facebook Messenger auto-replies are great ways to free up your support staff’s time, but they’re no substitute for in-depth, human-driven customer service. That’s crucial to your business’s reputation.

An overworked support team is one of the biggest signs you need to outsource customer service. It’s also the hardest to identify. Don’t be fooled by apparently low ticket resolution times or reduced customer complaints. Prematurely closing tickets or bouncing customers to another department are both major signs of support teams that can’t handle their workload.

Support tasks take a lot of time and finesse. Sometimes, it may take hours to resolve a customer’s problem. Your support team also needs to be highly organized to avoid giving customers the runaround.

There’s really no way around it: the only solution to expanding customer support is to hire new staffers. Outsourcing can help you meet demand without bloating your in-house team. In fact, you may be able to reserve them for more complex cases.

You have more and more customers across different time zones 

This won’t apply to all businesses, but as soon as you have customers in more than a few time zones, it becomes a major challenge to provide convenient support hours for all of them.

Can your in-house staff on the East Coast work until 8pm to serve customers in California? Will the large New York segment of your customer base be able to get morning support when your West Coast-based support team isn’t even awake yet?

Outsourcing solves these problems by placing support staff in all target time zones.

Your metrics are declining — or they don’t trend together 

While customer sentiment scores such as NPS and CES are far from perfect, they’re a good barometer of your brand reputation. Today’s consumers favor good customer service, so even if they don’t encounter bad service, they’ll be more likely to promote companies with good service.

In other words, the bar for customer satisfaction is higher. People don’t recommend companies they have lukewarm feelings about.

It’s also worth comparing your NPS with your CES, which evaluates support ticket resolutions. Low CES scores but high NPS could be a sign that your customer service team is lagging behind sales.

In addition to customer satisfaction metrics, look at your overall KPIs. Has your growth plateaued? Are you seeing lots of first-time customers but a decline in return customers? These could be signs that your top-of-funnel marketing is working well but your support teams are strained or unable to resolve customer issues.

Is it time to outsource? 

The right time to outsource is different for every business. By thoroughly examining your current performance, you can assess the tasks that most need outsourcing. For example, if your sales team is doing well, they may not need to be expanded. And you don’t want to use offshore outsourcing if it’s going to create additional hurdles to customer satisfaction (e.g. language barriers).

The best solution is nearshore staff augmentation, which allows you to expand your workforce only in the way you need it. These workers offer specialized skills to help you plug gaps and streamline your support services.

See how nearshore staff augmentation helped a telehealth services client assist patients during a public health crisis. Access the case study now.

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