Blog // June 23, 2016
Blog // June 23, 2016
Selecting an outsourced customer support provider involves much more than price. This is especially true as products become more complex and customer expectations become more exacting. The customer experience is climbing its way to the top of the business priority list. But, along with a shift in prominence for customers, comes a need to shift how companies support and serve them.
This presents a challenge for selecting an outsourced contact center vendor as price is only one factor, which can now be offset by the delivery of additional business value. As companies begin to rethink their approach to customer support from something they had to provide to the opportunity to create growth and competitive advantages, they also must think differently about how they source vendors.
Buying to specifications is fine, but unless you are familiar with all the nuances, then what looks like an apples-to-apples comparison could be hiding some key differentiators that could help you make the best decision.
Let’s say that your company wants to add a sales component to customer support to convince customers to upgrade to the latest version of the product. But, you’ve seen consumer research that up selling consumers during service calls is one of their highest sources of frustration and can jeopardize customer satisfaction (CSAT).
In this scenario, evaluating the vendor’s capabilities goes beyond price. Their ability to succeed at the objective could very well command a higher price based on a number of factors that could be offset by the growth in revenue. Maintaining and even improving CSAT can also have a high impact on advocacy and word-of-mouth referrals that are proving to be highly influential for increasing net promoter scores.
Rather than approaching specifications from a service levels standards perspective that allows you to check off the boxes in an RFP, consider the implications of how a vendor will handle situations specific to the higher goals of your organization.
In the example above, a consumer trend was applied against a corporate business objective as an evaluation strategy to aid in the vendor selection process. This type of rigorous investigation will help procurement organizations uncover hidden opportunities for differentiation and competitiveness.
When you consider that customer support services may be the greatest opportunity to interact with your customers, gaining an understanding about how creatively and progressively vendors respond to market trends can make the difference between a strategic bpo partner and a get-what-you-pay-for contract relationship.
Can the vendor design a process where the support issue is resolved and the customer is also educated about how to solve this specific issue in the future within the channels they prefer without a dramatic increase to average handle time? How will the vendor support customer education that can lead to higher satisfaction and lower attrition?
When you consider that the cost to the customer to switch is reducing and the rate of competing products entering the marketplace very high, the need to maintain and escalate your organization’s competitiveness is dependent upon the customer’s experience. An ability to use the technical support experience to improve competitiveness is also related to the cultural affinity between your company and the vendor and is something difficult to evaluate from a standards-based RFP process.
Procurement executives have become increasingly strategic in managing the supply chain. As such they’ve become instrumental in driving business performance. In a marketplace increasingly driven by the customer, taking new approaches to source support vendors can have a transformative effect on overall performance. New avenues of business value are available now than were possible when the traditional view of the contact center was simply as a cost of doing business.