Customer service: a target for outsourcing?
Customer service is sometimes ths target of an outsourcing exercise. When business management examine the work flow of the businness they often find that a good deal of employee time is spent dealing with customer support issues.
More often than not, the support issues are being escalated from the telephone receptionist to senior personell who can deal with the problem succesfully. Unfortunately this results in key employees devoting their time to customer quieries rather than using their talents on the core business activities.
Is customer service a core business activity?
Unless you are providing customer support as a service to other businesses, I would have to agree that customer support is not a core business activity. It is a resulting activity that apprears as a result of core activities. So, the question is: does that mean then that customer support should always be outsourced?
To answer this we need to return to the real problem.
The problem is that skilled members of staff are being distracted form their main activity in order to "put out fires" that they should not even be hearing about.
This means that the problem only becomes a problem because the customer call is put through to an inappropiate person. Of course, it is not inappropiate from the viewpoint of the customer: they get their problem solved, but it is so fron the viewpoint of the business. If the support issues were to be dealt with by appropiately trianed technicians, then the department mangers and other key personell would be able to remained focused on their prime objectives.
Will outsourcing solve the problem?
Now let us consider what would happen if the support was outsourced to a call center. To evaluate the outcome you really have to get a list of the top 20 most frequently asked questions, or complaints that are being tackled by your staff at present. Then ask yourself, can these be answered easily enough by a call center?
If a call center is to be used, what will be your customer response? Will you get the required busines feedback that comes from dealing with problems in-house? These are serious issues that need to be considered before making any decision.
How to reduce telephone support.
If a lot of your business is transacted of the internet, then you can also consider dropping telephone support and request that customers use a website solution. At first their may be some resistence but if you write all clients explaining that it will result in better customer service, then the time spent "fire fighting" consumer complaints will rapidly deminish.
By implementing the Support-Focus Trust Seal, you gain a support system that your customers can benifit from.