The customer service market accounted for $19.7 billion in 2020. With a plethora of customer service outsourcing companies out there, it isn’t exactly a piece of cake navigating the market and weeding out low-quality providers to finally pick a reliable partner to start working with.
You’ve probably heard the joke about customer service agents described as “nobody can understand but everyone wants to help” in Bill Burr’s comedy show.
In this blog post, you will learn how to avoid working with such companies by considering eight key criteria the best customer support companies have in common.
Before we get started take a look at some of the case studies showing how working with a reliable outsourcing company can make a real impact on your business’s bottom line.
In this article you will understand what stands behind the successful selection process of these companies:
- John Crestani saved $15000 and increased conversion by 10%,
- Optinmonster increased its revenue 5x,
- QSee brought its sales to $350,000.
So let’s get started with our checklist!
1. Focus on improving conversion
Customer support outsourcing is not about reducing costs on answering customer requests. Good customer support translates into increased revenue and can help reduce churn for e-commerce and subscription businesses.
That is why you should choose a company that has a strategy for improving your key business metrics, not just approaching customer service from an operational perspective.
A good customer service strategy leads to spectacular results.
A moderate increase in customer experience results in $823 million of revenue growth for $1 million-dollar-revenue companies within three years.
Improving lead response time (the time between a prospect initiating contact and a company’s response to them) results in more sales as 78% of consumers choose to buy from the first company that responds to their inquiry about products.
The customer service outsourcing companies that talk about your business goals of increasing conversion and boosting sales aim at making an impact on your business. As a result, they tend to excel in their industry leaving competing providers in the dust.
Here are some ways better customer service can help boost sales.
Reduce churn – for e-commerce and subscription businesses reducing dunning payments helps generate more revenue that would otherwise be lost. Also, resolving customers’ issues faster helps increase customers’ lifetime value by avoiding churn as 47% of customers change for a competitor when experiencing poor customer service.
Increasing LTV – Not only will great customer service cut churn, but it also will result in customers spending more on your products – 86% of customers do so if they were provided with impeccable customer support.
2. Agents’ Expertise
You should expect a good customer support agent to be an expert in their domain to provide your customers with the most informative response.
Pay attention if an outsourcing company specialized in customer support trains their agents before starting work on your project.
That is a big advantage to be able to deploy agents who have prior knowledge of their subject so that they can start right away.
Customer support is not only about picking up a call fast. The key to success is providing a customer with the best possible answer and building a company’s expert image. With a positive customer service experience, 77% of customers will recommend your service to friends.
Worth providing a better quality of support, right?
3. Professionals at recovering failed payments
Failed payments are a great challenge for e-commerce and subscription brands with failed payments accounting for 10-12% on all credit cards.
Even though you might have some automation in place to recover failed payments, it can have a limited influence on churn reduction as 85% of people don’t respond to automatic dunning emails.
That is why a customer support partner experienced at resolving these issues for e-commerce is indispensable.
When outsourcing customer support look for a company that can offer proven strategies and processes in contacting customers that have churned due to a failed payment.
You can recover at least 50% of the failed payments and, as a result, chop down your churn rate.
Here are some features of a customer support pro who can deal with dunning payment issues.
- They focus on describing a value customers lose when not finishing a payment.
- They send emails from a personal account, not generic email boxes.
- They test multiple email versions and don’t follow one-size-fits-all solutions.
- They know a thing or two about smart follow-up email.
- They use multiple channels to remind customers, including in-app messages.
When having an interview with a company to which you want to outsource customer service, ask how they approach failed payments, and align it with these points.
4. Multilingual customer support agents
72% of customers are more likely to buy when the service is provided in their native language. CEO of Priceless, Darren Huston claims that Japanese speakers are good at picking up non-native speakers – they prefer to talk to Japanese native speakers when contacting customer support.
Consider cultural differences that affect doing business in your industry. For example, Chinese and Brazilian customers tend to talk more on the phone as they are less accustomed to doing bookings online (hospitality sphere).
To provide the best experience for customers, Booking.com ensures equally good support in multiple languages – over 40 languages are offered alongside English.
Understand what languages are in the highest demand among your customers and look for customer success agents that have several language capabilities in hand and can speak a few languages.
5. Mature customer success processes
Find a team of dedicated agents that have worked with the brands similar to yours and know the specifics of your industry. Here are some of the questions you have to ask a customer support team during your interview:
- What are your communication procedures with clients?
- What processes ensure a faster response to requests?
- How do you deal with dunning payments?
- What process helps offer customers a better experience?
- How do you protect data?
Let’s face it – one of the reasons you outsource customer service is, among others, a lack of time to learn from mistakes and establish replicable processes.
Make sure the company you choose can easily prove they have mature processes in place.
6. Omnichannel support
Omnichannel customer service, unlike multichannel, facilitates seamless interaction with customers across channels – email, chat, SMS, or phone.
The information about previous interactions with an agent is preserved no matter where the conversation started as the information is stored in one database.
A user doesn’t need to input their details again and an agent can move among interfaces having a preview of the previous history of communication with a customer.
Omnichannel customer service means agents can extract more context from previous conversations with a customer to offer a more personalized response to the next set of questions or better guidance with issue resolution.
Look for an outsourcing company offering omnichannel support if you want to make communication with customer support more efficient, convenient, and last but not least, seamless.
While multichannel might still be a good solution for very small businesses that are just starting and have limited resources, omnichannel is the most optimal option for growing businesses that want to offer better customer service to their clients.
When deciding to offer your customers omnichannel support make sure a robust IT infrastructure is in place.
Though technical aspects behind establishing an omnichannel are not easy to understand for a non-technical person, your customer service partner should be able to assist you in this process and share the expertise necessary for a fast transition.
That is why you should look for a customer support outsourcing company that can not only execute omnichannel customer support but can also act as your advisor in more complex technical aspects related to customer support infrastructure.
7. They have embraced AI
Simple interactions can be handed over to bots and even more, conservative industries are actively considering and testing them when serving customers.
For example, the Bank of America is testing an AI bank assistant, Erica, that will help automate routine tasks that clients perform in the bank.
Introducing bots to the process means saving money while increasing productivity on serving customers. However, the majority of customer support companies will focus on resolving tasks manually.
That is why if you want to make your customer support a more efficient search for customer support outsourcing agents that are backed by AI.
AI in customer service is meant to augment the effort of customer support agents. Instead of focussing on simple repetitive tasks, AI bots could be deployed to support agents in more complex tasks where a machine can not replace people.
Let’s take a look at how your customers can be served when agents are supported with AI.
AI is involved in the stages where simple tasks are performed, while the conversation is handed over in the situations where human involvement is indispensable. What does that mean for your business?
More customers are served simultaneously with customer support agents able to take on multiple chats at once. This helps serve more customers in less time, and, as a result, your customers are more satisfied, while you pay less for the agent’s time.
AI bots can be used to segment incoming emails, tag, and send them to the right customer support agent. In this way, more repetitive tasks can be automated when an agent’s capacity is increased. This is especially important in the periods when customer support agents receive considerably more emails during peak times.
Consider the case of insurance company Humana. They aimed to validate at what rate AI could help increase net promoter index (NPS) and help resolve issues of their customers. After a 6-month test and 200 calls involved, this AI solution resulted in an increase of NPS by 28 percent and issue resolution – by 6 percent.
8. Using combined bots and humans
Technological advancement is here to stay with bots substituting people in customer support. “Would bots put off customers?”, you may decide to ask.
The requests starting with “Please press 1 for…” and asking a customer to answer ten other questions before offering any actual answers can be annoying. However, when well-designed and facilitating finding answers to questions fast, bots can automate multiple simple requests.
At the same time, they help your clients spend less time resolving an issue or finding an answer faster than waiting for a free agent to respond.
Check if your customer service outsourcing firm offers this option as well and think of how you can make better use of automation where it can perform better than people.
Choosing an outsourcing partner in customer support is a challenging task with hundreds of thousands of companies available on the market.
However, by defining key criteria for your search better you will be able to find your dream customer support team that will make a real impact on your customer satisfaction rates and, as a result, can help increase sales and conversion.
To summarize, when looking for a customer support team of outsourced agents consider including these criteria for choosing a partner:
- A strong focus on conversion
- Strong expertise in your domain
- Multilingual agents
- Usage of AI in daily activities and systems
- Using people for more complex tasks
- Using bots for repetitive tasks
Check out LTV Plus case studies to learn about the customer support that focuses on business results not just “doing” tasks and learn more about our out of office and weekend coverage, social media management, and other VA tasks.