Four outsourcing myths quashed: Why a partnership approach can help brands deliver exceptional customer experience
Fraser Tusler, Business Development Director, CRM Solutions at Arvato UK & Ireland
Emerging technology is creating a fast pace of change in customer services.Implementing new ways of working to keep up with changing consumer habits and expectations is placing new demands on brands. As a result more companies are forming partnerships with third party providers, to gain access to new technology and customer service expertise and to establish innovative approaches to service delivery.Our quarterly research initiative – the Arvato Outsourcing Index – found that UK businesses spent more than £1 billion last year bringing in specialists to handle their customer services. This trend saw customer service contracts account for 17 per cent of the UK’s total outsourcing spend in 2016.
Yet, despite this growth, some myths about outsourcing remain prevalent. Here are four of the most commonly-cited misconceptions about outsourcing:
1. Outsourcing partnerships are too expensive
One of the main barriers to businesses partnering with customer experience providers is the perceived cost. While it’s true that some upfront investment will be required, engaging the support of the right service provider is likely to lower the expense of delivering an exceptional customer experience in the future.
Most customer service providers operate multi-tenant sites, with each agent devoted to one brand. The right partnership can give a firm access to significant economies of scale, the latest technology and well-established processes, all in one location at a fixed cost that can be tailored to fit their needs.
2. We’ll lose touch with our customers
Customer service teams are one of the richest sources of customer insight at a company – after all, they’re speaking directly with customers day in and day out. But it’s also one of the most critical touch points, and one that needs to be managed tightly and correctly. As a result, it’s natural for brands to be wary of handing over those relationships to a third party.
Yet, partnering with an outsourcer doesn’t mean that brands lose access to valuable insight.In fact, quality customer service providers will have the technology to give brands access to more detailed, measurable information about their customers, which in turn will help them build a more empowered team and personalised customer experience offering.
For example, our agents are trained to use specialist tools to analyse customer interactions and provide insights to brands that are easily digestible, actionable and backed by quantifiable data. In advanced settings, the information gathered can also be leveraged by customer service representatives during the course of an interaction to deliver tailored customer experiences that drive loyalty and brand advocacy. Our recent acquisition of a data analytics company, for example, now gives our agents access to a live dashboard of insights and provides suggestions on the next best action, based on the customer’s sentiment.
3. Customer service is easy, any employee can do it
As ecommerce has enabled customers to easily access alternative service providers or products at the click of a button, providing an excellent customer experience has become the new battle ground for market share. At the same time, social media has the potential to amplify even the smallest grievance.
As such, delivering exceptional customer service can give brands a competitive advantage. Recent research from US management consultant, Walker found customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.
This means therole of a customer service representative has become increasingly complex. Today’s consumer is connected to their own digital ecosystem across a number of different devices and platforms. Agents must now be able to use the latest technology and adapt to new ways of working if they’re going to truly engage with customers.
Upskilling employees so they are equipped to do this is both challenging and requires a significant investment in training and development.For example, a customer service agent usually spends between three to four weeks being trained before they start taking live customer calls and queries.
The representatives employed by customer service providers receive regular, in-depth training throughout their careers. This includes brand immersion, where agents take part in store visits, product trials,launches and demonstrations, helping to ensure that they are able to deliver exceptional customer service on their client’s behalf.
4. A Third party won’t embody our brand identify
Many organisations think partnering with a customer service provider means they will lose control of a brand they have worked hard to build. In reality, partnerships are designed specifically to be a natural extension of the client’s existing customer experience offering.
Customer service provider’s recruitment strategies always match who they’re going to be supporting. Daily communication and regular face-to-face interactions also ensure all employees are up to date with what’s going on within their client’s organisation. But crucially, they are also fully prepared for the responsibility of acting as brand ambassadors.
The representatives that we employ to support Benefit Cosmetics, for example, undertake everything from brand immersion sessions, to store visits and make up demonstrations so they can give informed support to the brand’s customers.This level of engagement helps develop agents into brand ambassadors, enabling them to have more effective conversations with customers so they can resolve queries and offer additional services at the first point of contact.Ultimately, the goal is to feel like these agents are just another member of the client’s team.
What’s clear is that new technology and rising consumer expectations have made the challenge of delivering exceptional customer experiences more complicated. Businesses need detailed insight on their customers, access to the latest technology and highly-skilled staff to deliver the premium experiences consumers demand. By engaging a customer service provider with a wealth of expertise and experience, organisations can access a cost-effective solution that will act as a natural extension to their team, while giving them more time to focus on other critical areas.
Fraser Tusler is Business Development Director, CRM Solutions at Arvato UK & Ireland
Arvato is a trusted global business outsourcing partner to the private and public sectors in the UK and Ireland. With more than 50 years of experience in outsourcing, Arvato combines expertise in business process outsourcing (BPO), financial solutions, customer relationship management, supply chain management, ecommerce and public sector and citizen services to deliver innovative, individual solutions. Arvato has long-term partnerships with some of the most respected companies in the UK and globally, as well as innovative public sector clients. Internationally, Arvato is a leading global BPO provider with over 68,000 people employed across almost 40 countries worldwide.
For additional information on Arvato visit their Website