Deciding whether to outsource your customer support or do it in-house can be difficult, and depends on who you ask, as different businesses prefer various things. Whether you run a small dropshipping business or a large-scale private-label brand, customer support is vital.
While some prefer having a team in-house who can meticulously and effectively respond to inquiries as they come in, others go for handing over this responsibility towards an external collaborator to look after and take the hassle off you.
There’s no definitive answer on which one is better, it’s more about considering your forecasted growth, physical facilities (if you can accommodate more staff), and your corporate culture to help you come to a decision. There’re benefits and drawbacks involved in both ways of maintaining customer support, which we’ve outlined for your search to offer you the most appropriate solution that suits your ecommerce business.
Benefits Of In-House Customer Support
There’re advantages and disadvantages of internal and remote customer support: while outsourcing has many cost-cutting pros, there are several benefits of in-house customer service worth exploring as well.
Superior Knowledge Of Your Business
Despite the fact that customer support managers at remote contact centers are trained professionals in dealing with customer care and phone interactions, they won’t have the same level of knowledge regarding your products and brand. An internal team will be more competent to answer specific questions relating to your store, its assortment, and operations, according to the standards you’ve established for customer service and your corporate culture.
In-house customer support is inclined to provide the right information and resolve any issues more efficiently with more experience in regional culture and business. You’ll also have an opportunity to build closer communication with them and monitor their skills and expertise.
An internal customer service team can provide a more personalized service without relying on scripts. Your agents will be better able to address the particular concerns of your purchasers and meet their demands. On the other hand, scripted interactions appear impersonal, and your customers might not feel as though they’re being carefully listened to. The main goal is to guarantee customer satisfaction and if you want to achieve this, the customer needs to feel valued.
Promotes Interdepartmental Communication
One of the main issues with a remote team is the distance, and how it can cause a lack of communication. Internal customer support managers are more likely to communicate with other departments, such as product development and marketing. It provides cross-fertilization of ideas and knowledge flows while different teams talk to each other, and personal connections are established. When staff is regularly in contact with each other, it aids in building communication, and increasing morale, and allows tasks to be achieved quicker, helping to create a cohesive team and a positive work environment.
Easier To Manage
There are often more management issues when dealing with overseas call centers because of several factors, such as legal issues, equipment failure, currency, and cultural differences. You could also face some difficulties with communication, training, and recruitment in different time zones.
According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey, 59% of companies select outsourcing as a cost-cutting tool, but it’s also worth taking a few points into account. Although wages may be considerably less, it’s still important to take into account other costs, such as investing in technology and overseas training. It’s also vital to take into consideration the efficiency of your customer service team. Any dissatisfied customer would also mean a financial loss for your online store. So it often can be the case when it’s more cost-effective to run an internal team from this respect.
Higher Levels Of Security
Depending on the country’s laws, staff background checks might not always be a requirement, which increases the security risk for your company’s data. Remember that choosing outsourcing also means you are relaying confidential business information to the third-party staff. The smallest of data breaches could still cause massive loss and damages to any sized company.
Speaking of security in ecommerce, check out our latest blog article on this topic. You’ll find out how to approach this issue if you are an ecommerce merchant and don’t know how to start implementing security practices into your business.
Why Outsource Customer Support
Despite the advantages of an internal customer service team, many businesses still choose outsourcing, which has become an integral part of business management globally. In fact, customer service is among the most commonly outsourced operations, as stated in the Fortunly article, and there are several main reasons for that.
Save Your Business Resources
The primary appeal for an ecommerce merchant is obviously cost reduction. You don’t need to budget for hiring in-house staff or extra overheads with the outsourcing customer support. You also don’t have to pay salary and other perks, such as healthcare, transportation, or overtime. You only need to pay for the service without worrying about the expenses and taxes involved in hiring managers on the full-time basis.
Streamline Recruitment And Satisfy High Demands
You’ll speed up the hiring process for busier periods with having your customer service outsourced. If demand increases quickly or seasonally, which is quite often for the ecommerce business, then you’ll need to find support fast. Another benefit of outsourcing your customer support is increased coverage — you can outsource an entire team, enabling you to reach out to more customers.
If you want to branch out and scale your business, outsourcing your customer support team can help you do this. You could even hire multilingual operators to provide customer service internationally, broadening your horizons. A specialized customer support team can also use their expertise to tailor the service across different platforms. Outsourced customer service teams also tend to provide 24/7 support.
Scale Your Business
An outsourced customer support team will provide the resources to cope with the growth of your online store — you can boost your customer service according to your business goals. It’s worth thinking about outsourcing support to maintain high-quality customer service and take the pressure off your administrative staff while focusing on scaling your business. As your online store begins to grow, it’ll be more challenging to manage the volume of inquiries.
Advanced Features And Services
The great thing about outsourcing your customer support is that you gain control without taking more time and responsibility to train staff. External agents will provide the equipment and expertise, so you don’t have to, and you’ll benefit from advanced features and services. Additionally, you’ll have more control over your customer support and speed up inquiries with a 24/7 service.
Flexibility And On-Demand Availability
Outsourcing your customer support offers massive flexibility and affordable staff options. It’s also much less headache in general, you’ll have all the benefits of a highly-skilled customer support team without the hassle of managing them.
A remote customer service team can provide 24/7 service and, more often than not, a faster response time, which is a critical factor in customer satisfaction. With a more available and efficient customer support team, you can provide a more positive customer service experience. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s less about the number of inquiries resolved and more about the quality.
A Word Of Advice
When collecting customer queries on your ecommerce website, it’s vital to optimize your landing pages and forms to allow customers to seek support easily. The last thing you want is for your visitors to need to ask a question, make a complaint or enquire about other general things to customer support, and not be able to locate where they need to do so. If customers have difficulty navigating your site while searching for where to contact customer support, you run the risk of exiting your website altogether in frustration, affecting your conversions and growth.
So, make sure your ‘contact us’, ‘request,’ or ‘help’ options are easy to find and, just as importantly, are user-friendly and appealing to fill out.
By the way, this article was written in collaboration with our friends from Paperform. It’s an excellent alternative to Google Forms that allows receiving and managing all your requests and using interactive forms to show and hide questions, pages, and sections of content to craft a personal narrative for whatever inquiry comes in. Once a contact form is submitted, you can direct any query to the specific department needed in your organization.
To sum it up, keeping your customer service in-house allows for tighter control in terms of quality and security as well as promoting cooperative teamwork, whereas outsourcing enables time-saving and flexibility with the ability to resolve more support issues globally.
After reading this article, you should better understand the benefits and downfalls of internally managing or outsourcing customer service. Both alternatives will benefit your customer support by bringing higher productivity and efficiency to your company’s systems when you are scaling up. But now, it’s over to you to decide which one will suit your ecommerce business more.