Most startup entrepreneurs have reservations about customer support outsourcing and for good reasons. Customer service is the primary means of communicating with your customers and undermining the quality of this communication cannot be good for your brand to say the least.
Good customer support outsourcing, however, will not compromise quality and in many ways can actually improve your service. In this article, we’ll look at the top 10 criteria for choosing a customer support vendor that won’t let you down.
The first and perhaps most obvious factor is size. If your support vendor is too big, say over 500 support agents, then your startup won’t be getting enough attention and will just be another name in the bunch.
But if too small, most likely they lack the economies of scale to properly support you. Not to mention expensive certifications that guarantee the safety of your data. Ideally, you want to go for a company in the 200-400 headcount range.
If a company says they do everything well, most likely they do nothing well. Going for a partner that specializes in your specific domain is always a good bet.
3. Pricing Model
This is one of the surest indicators. Quite simply, if a BPO company charges by tickets or calls resolved, they can’t focus on quality by definition. For one, they will always try to get your agents to work for more clients. And secondly, they won’t try to resolve issues on the first contact, which will lead to more frustrated customers.
If quality is important to you, always go with a customer support outsourcing company that charges on a per agent per month basis.
4. Success Manager
A success manager is absolutely crucial to the success of your outsourced customer support team. They ensure that agents are selected according to your candidate profile and that your SLA is followed. At SupportYourApp, they also provide service KPI metrics and other customer intelligence on demand.
When selecting a vendor, absolutely make sure to ask whether they have success managers and what their role will be for your team!
5. Systems Integrator
Make sure the outsourcing company has strong integration personnel. Not only is this a great indicator of how competent the company is, but you will need this person during the setup process. You could simply grant your team access to the existing customer support tools you’re using. But if you’re scaling and want to implement additional functionality, this person will be extremely useful.
6. Setup Process
A proper setup process should be straightforward and include the following steps: 1) tools integration 2) candidate selection 3) training. If the account manager you speak to is not sure how their setup process works, then neither can you be.
7. Candidate Selection
A great support outsourcing company should definitely come with a robust HR team. These are one of the economies of scale factors that make outsourcing attractive in the first place. Do not take this aspect lightly, as the right candidates determine 80% of the success of your team. Be sure to ask how their candidate selection process works. If it does not sound appealing, move on.
8. Training Process
Make sure your vendor has an automated system for handling training. Otherwise, you will have problems when you need to scale or when an agent leaves. It’s not professional outsourcing unless the company has training automation.
9. Time-clock Management
Time-clock and schedule management is especially critical for 24/7 teams. Any customer support outsourcing company worth their salt should have a well-established process for managing and monitoring shifts. This is another economies of scale factor that you want to take advantage of, so if the vendor does not have a good answer for this, move on to the next option.
10. Quality Assurance
Another must. Always ask what they have in place for QA. Good companies will generally have two types of QA: of your team overall and of individual agents. Don’t confuse QA with service KPI metrics. QA is for internal quality purposes. KPIs are more the responsibility of CX manager.
Bonus: The CEO
The involvement of the CEO is a dead giveaway of what the company stands for. Check out their website and see what you can find out about their company leadership. The CEO, more often than not, reflects the overall personality and culture of your support partner.