5 keys to successful third-party customer service
Regardless of your industry, your continued success depends on doing more than just satisfying your customers. It requires you to earn their repeat business and, ideally, convert them into advocates who encourage others to do the same. So why would you entrust your customer interactions to a third-party vendor?
The short answer is to ensure each customer experiences the same degree of attention and quality of service every time he or she interacts with your brand. Involving a third-party vendor also ensures that customers can access this service quickly (and when they need it).
In other words, by outsourcing this vital role, your firm gains access to a staff of professional customer service representatives trained to deliver a quality experience — and who are immediately available, in sufficient numbers, to scale to your current call center demand.
Keys to a successful partnership
Given that hiring a third-party provider outsources your reputation, the contract you sign with a third-party provider must do more than promise staffing your company quickly or achieving 24/7 coverage.
It must also be a partnership that’s just as dedicated as you are to doing what needs to be done — while striving to do it even better the next time. Finding such partners isn’t hard if you understand the five keys that unlock the secret to a successful relationship:
1. Improved responsiveness
The point of outsourcing is to add sufficient capacity to make sure customer calls and issues are handled quickly and effectively by representatives who aren’t overburdened or distracted by other duties.
In turn, their addition should empower your in-house staff, ultimately engaging your customers down the line. The happier your customers are, the greater the sense of accomplishment for everyone involved (and the lower the risk of incurring dissatisfied customers).
2. Greater flexibility
Because no two clients are the same, the answers each receives should not be addressed using preset and scripted responses. Customer service representatives should be able to treat each customer as an individual.
Similarly, the solution your firm receives should be tailored to the type of clients you serve and the issues they tend to have. While it's true that different industries see different demands, failing to meet them respectfully could be costly.
Thus, it's smart (and promising) to be flexible. Hiring a third party allows for this: A company can keep up with changing demands while staying efficient and predictable (and keeping labor costs at a minimum).
3. Better consistency and follow-through
Having the same team of people work on the same accounts provides consistent work on a predictable schedule. It also enables the outsourced staff members to become familiar with your clients so they become better at what they do (and do it quickly).
Being able to do the same work faster for the same fee makes the contract even more efficient and profitable for you.
4. An ethical approach
Telling someone you have the resources and skills her project demands — and promising that you’ll stick to her timeline — is bad policy if you don’t and can’t. Your clients would not appreciate that from you, and you have no reason to tolerate it from an outsourcer.
The best partnerships are those in which both parties are upfront about their needs, expectations, and capabilities. It lets everyone sleep better at night.
5. An openness to feedback
Soliciting feedback from your customers helps your company evolve and improve the way you meet their needs, which in turn helps you grow. A willingness to participate in the feedback loop also helps your third-party vendor get better at its job and ultimately improves the quality of the customer service being provided.
Unlocking the potential
To ensure you gain the full benefits of working with a third-party customer service provider, get to know each firm. In addition to evaluating each provider on the key points outlined above, evaluate the match between your overarching philosophy and the provider’s. Learn more about the vendor’s work ethic and how it chooses the individuals who will staff your project.
Mainly, however, look for a customer-first mentality. It’s a sure sign the vendor has the willingness to look at things from your perspective instead of what’s best for its own bottom line. That willingness is crucial because, in the end, the vendor needs to like helping people — in particular, your people.
Ben Walker is CEO of Transcription Outsourcing, which provides user-friendly, high-quality, and cost-effective transcription services to organizations all over the U.S. It specializes in the medical, legal, law enforcement, financial, and general business industries. A resident of Denver, Colorado, Ben enjoys tennis, hiking, and watching college football.
Ben Walker is CEO of Transcription Outsourcing, which provides user-friendly, high-quality, and cost-effective transcription services to organizations all over the U.S. It specializes in the medical, legal, law enforcement, financial, and general business industries. A resident of Denver, Colorado, Ben enjoys tennis, hiking, and watching...