Customer service outsourcing, also referred to as offshoring, refers to a company hiring another company to run its customer care call centers.
There has been a lot of emphasis in recent years about customer service outsourcing as a way for companies to save money and reduce the need for a full customer support staff. Unfortunately, many people aren’t exactly sure what it means when a company decides to outsource their customer care and this can lead to a number of assumptions which just are not true. Outsourcing a call center is simply a means to reduce the cost of customer support, not a sign that companies don’t care about their customers like some people would like to believe.
Customer service outsourcing often entails operating call centers in other countries, hence the term offshoring.
Companies who outsource customer service to other locations doesn’t mean that they are not concerned with customer satisfaction. Many of the world’s largest software and technology companies choose to outsource their support, saving money which can then be put into further research and development for new technologies or software. They provide the outsourced call centers with in-depth information concerning their products and advanced software suites which allow them to search for solutions based upon the problems that the customer is having.
The companies who are chosen for an outsourced contract must still meet the requirements of the company who offered the contract, and any employees who handle customer care must have the skills to operate the software and find the needed information based upon the materials that they are given. Should an outsourced company fail to deliver satisfactory customer care, the contract can be revoked and new bids will be taken to find a better support company.
Popular countries for outsourcing customer support to are India, the Philippines and other countries that have a wide skills base of workers who are able to provide customer care services.
In addition, there is also another alternative to offshore outsourcing to assist organisations with their customer service operations, Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial intelligence gets a bad press. It is not the employment killer that it is made out to be and it shouldn’t be perceived as a threat to the human race. Is the fear factor driven by a lack of knowledge about what it can really do? Some things (including people) are more advanced/intelligent than others but that doesn’t mean they are not relevant or valued.
In my view, artificial intelligence enables organisations to deliver better service faster because it enables people to focus on the unique things that people do best and that is engaging on a personal level with their customer at the moment when their customer chooses to do so.
As with any new technology, it takes time for this to be trusted. Not only will this become the new normal, it will become expected of the organisations.