The Ultimate First-Time CX Outsourcing Guide: Do’s, Don’ts, and Best Practices
Tips and best practices for first-time CX outsourcing.
Congratulations -- you did it! Your brand has hit hypergrowth, and business is booming. But as the need for more customer support rapidly increases -- and the demand for that support is to be omnichannel and available 24/7 -- it’s time to think about CX migration and engaging a CX outsourcer.
Outsourcing your CX can be a great choice for meeting your growth demands. By tapping the expertise of a CX outsourcer, you will have the opportunity to improve scale, speed, and performance of your CX operations. In fact, it may even help you to continue to grow faster: Adobe reports that companies with strong omnichannel CX strategies see 10% YOY growth, and Forrester found that improving CX by one point can lead to more than $1B in additional revenue.
While this may sound like all wins across the board (and there are many!), there are risks involved with outsourcing your CX operations that you need to be aware of before pulling the trigger.
As you begin the process in migrating your CX team from in-house to an outsourcer (whether that be onshore, nearshore, or offshore), refer to the below guidance on the risks to look out for -- and how to solve them -- as you launch your shiny, new CX program.
CX leaders and their teams have intricate knowledge of their customers. They’ve used data to create personas and maps and to fix pain points in the customer journey. CX migration means giving up control by allowing a team of agents, who you did not meet, interview, or hire, to interact with customers over the phone or online requires a vast amount of trust. You will not know about every single interaction with a customer, positive or negative, and are trusting others to address concerns efficiently, effectively, and in a way that adheres to brand guidelines.
Solution: Establish trust early on in the process by vetting multiple third parties. Then, outsource your CX needs to a third party that:
When you outsource, you hand over proprietary information and intellectual property to another company, often in another country. Agents may also have access to customer information, such as a phone number, e-mail address, or credit card linked to their account. Different localities have different rules and regulations for data handling, and they may not recognize intellectual property in the same way the U.S. does. Customer trust is paramount to an experience. If a customer cannot trust your agents to handle their data properly, they will not engage with your brand on any channel. And legal battles over intellectual property take up time and cost money—two things you wanted to save by outsourcing your CX needs.
The solution: When vetting third-party companies, it’s essential to talk about data protection and intellectual property rights. Ask:
Speaking with references can also reveal any previous data breaches and intellectual property issues.
When your CX migration involves working with offshore/nearshore outsourcers, the ability to work well with a remote team is paramount. You cannot walk down the street or make frequent visits to the outsourcer’s office, and initial and continuous training will take place remotely.
Solution: For individual CX leaders and brands, outsourcing agents to an offshore/nearshore location may be the first time they’ve worked with a remote team. But it shouldn’t be the first time a third party has worked this way. The company should have a well-established for providing customer support from a location—and country—different than yours.
Ask candidates how they communicate with in-house CX teams, including the technology they use. They should be able to accommodate remote training and tutorials, like scripting and troubleshooting sessions, so agents can get up to speed quickly on your customer base and service expectations.
One of the benefits of outsourcing CX needs, such as support, is that your brand is getting seasoned agents accustomed to dealing with customers in your industry. They’ve dealt with different personalities and handled support request volumes similar to your brand’s.
But there’s a big gap to fill: These agents are not familiar with your particular brand—your unique customer journey map, tone, and voice.
Solution: You’ll need to transfer your knowledge of the customer to the new agents. You can do this by having a complete knowledge that includes:
You should also tap a CX outsourcer who has options for robust training programs that will empower agents to reach proficiency for your brand more quickly.
The goal of outsourcing customer service is to see improvements in customer satisfaction that you wouldn’t have seen if you kept relying on in-house staff to support CX needs. Otherwise, the time and money you invested in providing a rigorous selection and onboarding process will be for naught, and your customers will notice and may lose trust in your brand. The customer should not know they are speaking with an agent at an offshore/nearshore location—they should simply think they are communicating with your brand, and the experience should be consistent.
Solution: Besides a thorough vetting and onboarding process, CX leaders can ensure customer support not only doesn’t miss a beat but improves with the addition of onshore or nearshore agents. And the details will all be in the data.
Before establishing a relationship with an outsourced company, agree on KPIs to evaluate customer satisfaction. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Customer Dissatisfaction (DSAT), Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and Customer Churn Rate (CCR) are common ways to evaluate customer satisfaction. Dig into this data on a regular basis and use it to provide insights into whether the relationship is panning out and opportunities for improvement.
When working with in-house CX representatives, everyone is typically working the same hours. As you know, customers need support 24/7/365, and outsourced companies can provide that. But these companies may work opposite of your localities’ hours.
Solution: Communication is essential, and technology can help ensure your brand and its offshore/nearshore agents are in lockstep, even when your team is technically sleeping.
Outsourcing can mitigate CX risks, but pose others. CX leaders need to establish and build trust with the third-party providing agents, all of whom will be interacting one-on-one with the customers you’ve worked tirelessly to recruit, satisfy, and retain. Data breaches can reduce trust, so you’ll want to know what safeguards outsourced companies have in place to mitigate this risk. Ask about NDAs to protect your intellectual property, and perform a thorough vetting process, including reference checks. In sum, the rewards to getting it right far outweigh the risks involved - it’s just a matter of instituting a careful process, and partnering with an expert outsourcer who understands your needs, and knows how to get it done right the first time.
Tips and best practices for first-time CX outsourcing.
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