With businesses becoming more and more competitive, companies would do well to focus on delivering a stellar brand of customer service. Exceptional customer support—which is about making every contact point with buyers of your product or service as smooth and positive as possible—can help you lock in that competitive advantage for your growing business.

In line with this, outsourcing can be a valuable strategy to bring into your organization. With a dedicated customer support team working for your company, you can then give more attention to other revenue-generating operations in your small business.

Just remember that there is no one customer experience solution that fits all. This makes it important that you choose a customer service provider with the right fit for your business. You may use the guide steps described below.

Consider the scope of your needs and determine your budget 

One of the major aspects of customer support is establishing a line of communication with your customers. People want answers to their most pressing or common questions in an instant, and this is where call and chat tools can be very handy for your customer interactions. 

The question is: Which one do you need? Call support or chat support? Or perhaps both?

Choosing between the two may depend on the volume of support requests you receive, which in turn is based on what products or services your small business offers. Ideally, you could provide support via both chat and phone, so your customers will have the freedom to choose the channel that’s more appropriate for their specific requirements or issue that they wish to bring to your attention.

Your choice also depends on the budget at your disposal. Telephone support involves handling one customer at a time, which requires dedicated agents. With chat support, the cost is lower due to agents handling multiple chat windows with different customers.

Picking only one channel may seem like the most cost-effective solution for your small business, but the ideal scenario is one where you are able to offer customers both methods of communication. So, evaluate first if your budget can match your needs.

READ THIS RELATED ARTICLE: Customer Support Wish List: What Your Customers Really Want

Start looking for vendors online and offline

There’s no shortage of outsourcing vendors for every industry, and you can easily find them on Google. You might want to conduct your search using keywords that pertain to what you’re looking for in a customer service provider, like your budget, the location, and size of your preferred outsourcing company, and the like. 

You can also explore social media sites like LinkedIn, where you can sign up and join groups that cater to customer service outsourcing. You can even ask for referrals or recommendations from existing members.

Those in your own professional networks like your mentors and colleagues can also be a good source of information about companies that provide outsourcing services. 

READ THIS RELATED ARTICLE:7 Reasons You Should Outsource Customer Service to the Philippines

Check the qualifications of your potential customer service partner

By this time, you should have a good number of names of companies that can provide quality customer service for your business. Conduct due diligence about the credentials of the companies on your list, with special attention to the following:

  • Names of clients they’ve worked for in the past. This serves as a guarantee that they’re a legitimate outsourcing company who are experts in customer support.
  • The proprietary tools, technology, or methods that they use. You’ll want a customer service partner that can provide the tools and systems that match how your business works.
  • The culture fit with your company. Look for a provider that has the same values and work ethic as you do to make the collaboration fruitful and productive.
  • Social media reviews from clients. You can use these as feedback to gauge the quality or level of their expertise in customer service. 

Narrow down your selection

It’s time to shortlist your choices by picking 3 to 5 outsourcing companies that made a good impression on you while you were researching them. This means that they did well on the initial check that you performed and that you see them as an ideal partner for your business.

Make initial contact to discuss

Now, you should start contacting your prospective partners and asking them for a proposal. Their proposal should provide you with full details of their service, like cost, hiring process and training programs, data security measures, and the like.

If there’s anything unclear in the proposal, communicate this too and note how quickly they get back to you with the answers. If you have to wait for weeks before you get a response, you might want to consider it as a red flag. The same goes if they’re not transparent regarding their processes and policies as you don’t want any gray areas in your partnerships with anyone. 

READ THIS RELATED ARTICLE: Outsourcing Red Flags: How to Spot a Bad Business Partner

Compare responses and make a decision

Before you sign the contract, carefully review the terms and conditions that are stated in it. Are they the same that you previously agreed upon? Have they incorporated the changes you requested?

You can also ask the outsourcing provider you’ve chosen for a timeline on how quickly they can onboard the team dedicated to you. You may even inquire if you will have your own agents, or if you will share agents with other businesses. Some outsourcing companies share employees across clients-which is not necessarily bad since it may improve your coverage. If you want to have a team solely dedicated to your small business, you can ask the outsourcing provider to come up with an agreement ahead of time and avoid misunderstandings.

READ THIS RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Reasons Customers Hate Call Centers and What You Can Do About It

Customer Service: How May I Help You?

Outsourcing firms are ideal partners for companies of any size that want to establish a good and lasting relationship with customers. They often have access to the best talent, technologies, and frameworks in customer service. By hiring the right partner, you can position your company to scale responsibly.

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