Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have always provided customer service. But, the way it’s been approached in the past will not deliver the experiences that meet the expectations of the customers of today—or tomorrow. One of the challenges for CSPs is that trying to deliver customer-facing services can be inhibited by many internal factors, including limitations in the existing infrastructure, political positioning by executives and whether customer support is viewed as a cost or revenue center.
Outsourcing your customer-facing support initiative involves much more than cost or location considerations. An experienced vendor brings a number of built-in benefits that CSPs would be wise to consider in their battle to retain and grow market share amidst rising competition. This includes the freedom from bias or assumptions that an internal team can’t help but apply. When it comes to improving the customer experience, the arsenal of tools brought by a vendor can also produce faster transformation that meets business objectives.
7 Overlooked Sources of Value Brought by a Customer Support Vendor
- Challenging the Status Quo. A vendor who has successfully accomplished the goals you’re trying to reach can provide feedback from experience about the validity of an approach, along with recommendations for how to improve it.
- Expertise embedded in business process. Analytics is a good example of this source of value. Using customer data to improve workflows, processes and agent training is a best practice for customer support vendors. Your company will benefit from practices such as this that the vendor has built-in to the services it delivers against the contract—often at no additional cost.
- Sample testing and pilot projects. You know customer needs and preferences change quickly. Rather than making across-the-board changes, your vendor can use a small part of the team to test new messaging and approaches in a closely controlled environment. Changes can be made on the fly due to the sample size to test for viability and impact. If it’s decided not to roll out the new approach, it’s a simple process to return to service as usual.
- Customized agent recruiting. Many contact centers recruit customer service agents based on a standard profile. But your company has an opportunity to differentiate the experiences provided to customers by hiring agents that exhibit the characteristics they respond to best. A vendor with cross-industry experience—as well as experience serving CSPs—will understand the nuances and be able to identify the qualities of top-performing agents and seek to replicate them during the recruiting process.
- Continuous improvement. A customer support vendor that specializes in this expertise knows that what worked today won’t work as well tomorrow. From analytics to quality assurance to agent training, the right vendor will have an established process for continually modifying and improving service based on analyzing call types and trends identified in voice-of-customer (VoC) research.
- J.D. Powers certification. Customer support vendors that have earned certification for their other clients have a higher likelihood of earning this mark of distinction for your company. In fact, ask the vendor you’re considering how they ensure that service excellence is achieved every day, rather than ramped up just for the annual auditing process.
- Better decisions based on hard data. Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is often viewed as a subjective ranking based on the customer’s memory of their experience with a customer support transaction. However, a vendor with the right expertise can actually show you the tangible impact to CSAT based on which decisions are made to achieve improvement to CSAT box scores.
Choosing to outsource your customer support initiatives obviously can bring value beyond contract requirements. But this expertise isn’t optimized when viewed in a vacuum. Given the direct interaction with customers the support operation employs, these underlying sources of value can also be used to inform customer experiences generated across the enterprise, including marketing, sales and product development, to name a few.