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Why CSPs Should Outsource Customer-Facing Support Operations

A complete customer-facing support infrastructure is growing in complexity. Factoring in people, management structure, telecom platform, technology, information, process and workflow development, and agent lifecycle takes a concerted effort. It’s also time consuming when done in house as a one-off initiative and can be costly if not orchestrated strategically. By relying on the expertise of a contact center vendor, building an infrastructure can be accomplished efficiently and based on best practices for satisfying customer interactions.
A customer-facing operation must be well-balanced with emphasis placed on the skills and insights that deliver the experiences your customers want. Much is shifting in the realm of customer preferences and communications service providers (CSPs) can put the odds squarely in their favor by working with a vendor that has proven skills for serving and satisfying the customer of today.
Although Call Center IQ’s 2014 Executive Priorities Report finds that customer service executives agree that improving customer satisfaction, revenues and operational efficiency are all top priorities, how these are actualized is not so clear cut. But one thing is certain; CSPs that invest in an infrastructure designed to provide the kind of service that creates value will win out over those who continue to see customer service as a cost of doing business.

Busting Myths about Contact Center Outsourcing

Perhaps it will help customer service executives to find paths to realizing business priorities if a few myths about outsourcing customer support and contact center operations are put into the appropriate context. While the infrastructure is the foundation, the execution must also be spot-on.

Myth 1: Outsourcing is simply a different way of supporting customers.

This myth puts the emphasis on who is delivering the service rather than assessing the ability of the vendor to provide an infrastructure with greater flexibility and variety in how a CSP’s subscribers are served, the ability to dilute risk and even to reduce costs. It’s not simply changing the staff or location, but gaining the expertise of a vendor that specializes in serving customers like yours that may not exist in house.

Myth 2: Outsourcing is simply a means to shift the management of staff and attrition.

An outsourced contact center vendor brings value beyond staffing, including methodologies, cross-industry insights, data analysis for customer interactions and improved customer experiences through working as a partner that understands the business of communications services. With the complexity of the moving parts of a customer-facing operation, the vendor you select will be able to orchestrate the people, technology and processes much more expeditiously to produce shorter time to results.

Myth 3: Outsourcing vendors are only focused on the contract parameters.

The truth is that customer support experiences are firmly rooted in change and winning requires a rapid ability to identify trends and adapt. As CSPs expand service offerings—data and content streaming services in addition to phone lines, for example—business models must also adapt. This is when it’s critical to select a vendor that brings cross-industry expertise to help inform new customer interaction design. Following the example above, this could include insights from media companies or even Apple to develop workflows that mirror customer expectations related to those new services for subscribers.

Myth 4: Every additional service from an outsourcer will increase the cost of serving customers.

Customer support vendors bring with them methodologies, process design and infrastructure knowledge that enables them to do their jobs better. These are often inclusive to the services provided. Take for example, data analysis. Part of the vendor’s job is to provide continuous improvement to metrics specified in the contract. Data analysis is one tool that helps them do so and is—or should be—included without extra fees as an integral component for how they accomplish this objective. These insights are shared with the CSP along with the vendors proposed strategies for modifying processes, workflows and agent training to achieve or exceed their commitment to your company’s business objectives.

The Benefits Outweigh the Risks

As customer-facing support operations continue to grow in complexity, an outsourced contact center vendor can bring value that it’s difficult for CSPs to replicate in house. With change the name of the game in supporting subscribers, the right outsourced vendor can help your company adapt and create advantages that keep competitors a step behind. With your business models expanding across boundaries, choosing to outsource customer-facing support will notably increase the expertise available to your customer operations team.