Customer Service Outsourcing: What You Need to Know
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In the past, questioning the efficacy of outsourced customer service was a reasonable concern. The historical consensus had been that it’s ineffective, or even harmful to one’s business. Today, outsourcing customer service with the right partner is an efficient way to lower your total cost of ownership while delivering great experiences to your customers. By reimagining the format and making huge strides in quality assurance, the negative perception of outsourcing customer service has become outdated and unwarranted.
Let’s take a step back. First, what is outsourcing?
Outsourcing is allocating an enterprise-serving task to an offsite party. Essentially, it involves obtaining a good or service from an external supplier.
Outsourcing is an avenue to make enterprise operations more cost-efficient. It also has the potential to expand resources and talent pools to best serve a business, as opposed to options being limited by geographic accessibility. Outsourcing doesn’t mean an entire workforce or operation is being turned over; often, it’s a way to maximize existing talent or processes via complementary external augmentations.
What is customer service outsourcing?
There are a couple of iterations of customer service outsourcing.
Brick-and-mortar customer service outsourcing is composed of teams that exist in one centralized, physical location, and are probably what you picture when you imagine a call center. When you’re on the phone with an agent at such a contact center, it’s common to hear a lot of chattering in the background. It’s a group of agents gathered in one commutable office and is a more “traditional” W2 model of employment.
Virtual outsourcing involves decentralized remote agents working from their place of preference, most often their home offices. One component of virtual outsourcing leverages the flexible workforce (also known as GigCX, or the gig economy). These agents are contract-based and maintain flexible work hours based on their availability.
Brick-and-mortar was the standard customer service outsourcing solution for years. In comparison, virtual customer service outsourcing is a newer concept, developed and idealized with both the agent and customer in mind.
If you’re evaluating a brick-and-mortar or virtual, flexible customer service outsourcing solution and wondering which model is right for your enterprise, below are some key differentiators of the VirtualFlex platform. This virtual outsourcing model delivers better customer experiences while meeting demand for planned or unplanned CX needs.
Benefits of the VirtualFlex platform for customer service outsourcing needs:
- Expand your customer service talent pool. With a decentralized model that allows agents to work from home or office spaces of their choosing, virtual outsourcing allows your enterprise access to the highest quality customer service agents, as opposed to being limited to the talent pool of a single metropolis, for instance.
- Save money. In brick-and-mortar contact centers with unmoving hours of operation, there ends up being a lot of idle time for agents on the clock, as well as baked-in costs for building space, agent recruitment and training. With the VirtualFlex platform, independent agents in the Liveops community are able to staff the ebbs and flows of your business’s customer service needs based on forecast and real-time planning.
- Expedite customer service. While the dynamic approach of virtual outsourcing saves you money when the call center is slow, it also makes sure your customers are promptly assisted during times of heavy call volume. It’s a win-win.
- Expand your hours. With virtual outsourcing, independent agents are located all over the US. Operating from various time zones means your customer service hours are naturally expanded, making your business more accessible to customers in general.
- Embrace agency. When independently contracted agents are able to actively choose remote work, instead of being thrust into an environment that may not be suited to their professional strengths, they’re able to thrive. Ultimately, this translates to being able to better serve your customers.
- Capitalize on community. As icing on the cake, Liveops fine-tunes virtual customer service outsourcing by vetting independently contracted agents and then fostering a rich community for them. Liveops closes the gap on independent agent needs and ideals, encourages engagement with one another, and professional virtual learning programming. There are enthusiastic team members at Liveops who are focused on improving and optimizing the agent experience. Agents who provide seamless service, complemented with a robust knowledge base and continuous access to program learning materials positively informs customer metrics, which directly correlates to customer service satisfaction for your business.
With so many fundamental improvements in the realm, reassessing the outsourcing of your customer service is important and has the ability to set you apart from industry peers. Being proactive in recalibrating your contact center set-up has the potential to improve both customer satisfaction and your bottom line.
When it comes to customer service outsourcing, your enterprise no longer has to decide between cost efficiency and sustaining a potential decline in quality. With the Liveops VirtualFlex platform and access to the robust independent agent community, your operations can become more cost efficient while simultaneously improving customer service.