Outsourcing Customer Service: A Labor Shortage Solution

Published: June 7, 2023
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The current labor shortage has brought challenges that businesses face globally. 

Recruiting top talent is increasingly difficult. Korn Ferry estimates 85 million unfilled job positions by 2030. Employee retention is also in danger, with only 21% of employees engaged at work, according to Gallup’s 2022 report.

One of the many labor shortage solutions that numerous businesses adopt is outsourcing customer service. Simply put, it entails partnering with a third-party company to whom you can delegate customer service tasks. 

Why customer service specifically? 

Your business can’t thrive without paying customers. The XM Institute found that 53% of consumers would stop buying from companies after a bad experience. By prioritizing customer service efforts, you can retain your customers while managing the impact of the ongoing labor shortage. 

This article and infographic discuss the benefits of outsourcing customer service and why it can be a viable option.

Outsourcing Customer Service: A Labor Shortage Solution infographic copy

Labor Shortages: The Challenge for Businesses 

The scale of the labor shortage problem spans all continents. Below are a few statistics to help you understand how the labor shortage affects businesses globally and discover opportunities for customer service outsourcing.

  • 68% of doctors said they wanted to use telehealth more frequently, but hiring specialists is challenging (Singlecare)

Telehealth allows patients to consult with healthcare experts through online video or voice calls, a popular trend in the industry. However, hiring specialists for telehealth can be challenging. Outsourcing customer service representatives can help manage incoming patients effectively, supporting doctors in their telehealth practices.

  • 79% of customers found online chat with a support representative worthwhile, but there are not enough agents (Khoros)

Customer demands are ever-evolving, and having enough agents to meet those demands can be burdensome. If you don’t yet have the infrastructure to accommodate their needs online, it could be worthwhile to outsource the task to a capable third party. 

Outsourcing customer service roles can help you meet customers’ constantly changing needs and expectations without spending to train your employees. 

The travel industry struggles to fill positions while more people are motivated to travel again. 

For aviation businesses dealing with the labor shortage, nearshoring offers an excellent solution. It can help with various tasks, including handling flight queries, assisting in check-in and check-out concerns, and guiding in setting up online accounts.

  • 99% of retailers worry about talent shortages (Fourth)

Being understaffed is a real concern for any business since it can’t run efficiently without employees. Fortunately, outsourcing allows companies to find top-tier talent wherever they are and for whatever customer service position they need. 

  • 77% of employers are finding it difficult to fill roles (HR Dive)

According to a report conducted by the Manpower Group, there’s been a 2% increase in employers struggling with talent shortages in 2023 compared to the numbers from 2022. Almost one in five (17%) companies say they’re looking for employees with customer-facing skills. 

Thankfully, outsourcing companies provide access to a network of customer service experts with technical skills to help businesses fill various positions.

Customer Service Positions You Can Outsource

Outsourcing customer service can take on many forms. There are many positions you can fill through outsourcing. Below are a few you should consider:

  • After-hours calls

After-hours customer service representatives capture business opportunities outside regular working hours, ensuring continuous support for your customers. By addressing their problems and concerns around the clock, you provide exceptional care and meet their needs adequately. 

  • Multilingual customer support

Multilingual customer service is necessary for customers who speak multiple languages or for international companies catering to linguistically diverse countries. Outsourcing multilanguage customer service is more cost-efficient than training representatives in each language. 

  • Support service for inbound clients

Inbound clients need someone to serve as their point of contact when they have concerns or inquiries. Consider outsourcing the role of a support service for inbound clients if the number of customers contacting your business is more than what you can currently manage. 

  • Email support representatives

Vonage reports that 48% of consumers rank email among their top three favorite channels for communication with businesses. It underscores the need for a dedicated team of customer service representatives to handle customer emails. 

  • Customer service team leaders

If you need help managing your existing team, you can outsource the role of a team leader (TL). They’ll train, monitor, and assign tasks to your staff, among other responsibilities, to ensure that the whole team is productive and efficient in responding to customers’ concerns.

Once you’ve decided to outsource your customer service, your next action should be to choose where you’ll outsource. Some countries are better to outsource to than others for various reasons. However, the two most well-known globally are the Philippines and Colombia.

A Case for Outsourcing: Philippines and Colombia

If you’re still searching for labor shortage solutions, you may consider outsourcing to these countries for the following reasons.

Benefits of Outsourcing to the Philippines

Customer service outsourcing in the Philippines is common due to Filipinos’ reputation for hospitality and dedication. It improves customer relationships and overall service quality. 

The Philippines’ booming BPO industry contributes around 7% of the country’s GDP and exceeded revenue targets in 2022 with a staff count of 1.57 million. These make outsourcing customer service roles to the country a seamless and reliable option.

Below are a few more reasons why outsourcing customer service to Philippine workers can benefit you.

  • Skilled workforce

Filipinos are known for their hardworking nature, adaptability, and willingness to learn. These qualities make them reliable for accomplishing different tasks exceptionally. It’s why many outsourcing companies in the Philippines provide back-office outsourcing services.

  • Cost-effectiveness

The cost of living in the Philippines is 54% lower than in the United States. That means that you won’t have to set wages as high if you operate in the US, allowing you to cut costs significantly. 

  • English fluency

English is one of the national languages of the country. Many have a natural accent while speaking, which is excellent if you’re based in the US, such as in Idaho

  • Cultural compatibility

A significant portion of Philippine culture derives from the West, whether consuming Western media or conversing in English. It can make working with Filipinos much smoother since it lessens the chances of miscommunications or misunderstandings.

  • Thriving economy

The Asian Development Bank forecasts robust growth for the Philippines in 2023, which is encouraging for business leaders who want to leverage the economic benefits of a thriving country.

Benefits of Outsourcing to Colombia

Nearshoring to Colombia can be an excellent strategic move to expand your workforce’s capabilities while reducing the financial costs of the labor shortage. Below are additional reasons why you should consider outsourcing to Colombia.

  • Proximity to North America

Outsourcing to Colombia allows you to enjoy the benefits of nearshoring. Nearshore call centers benefit from shared time zones, making synchronizing and aligning with your outsourced staff easier.

  • Bilingual workforce (English and Spanish)

Partnering with Colombian customer service providers benefits you tremendously if a considerable portion of your customer base has Spanish as their first language. It makes your business more inclusive in who it serves and helps. 

  • Large labor force

Colombia has one of the largest labor forces in Latin America. Its impressive workforce is ideal if you’ve struggled to find local talent to fill your business’ vacant positions. 

  • Growing economy

The Colombian economy recovered well after the pandemic, setting it up for an encouraging future. Outsourcing to Colombia will allow you to leverage the country’s growth to remain competitive globally. 

  • Strong ties with the United States

Colombia has an excellent relationship with the United States, spanning 200 years. Outsourcing to a country with strong diplomatic ties with yours will make growing, recruiting, and managing an outsourced team much easier for you.

Once you’ve decided where you may want to outsource customer service, your next step is developing a plan to manage the labor shortage.

5 Customer Service Strategies to Navigate Labor Shortages

Operating at reduced capacity is no easy task. Below are a few labor shortage strategies you can follow to help you make the most out of your existing workforce.

1. Find a reliable partner for outsourcing

Working with a reliable outsourcing partner enables you to expand your workforce without spending on the typical expenses of full-time hires, such as onboarding, training, and benefits. However, not all are equal. 

It’s crucial to partner with outsourcing companies that match your business needs. Visit their websites to determine if they align with your objectives and offer your desired positions.

2. Prioritize employee engagement

Focusing on employee retention and engagement will help motivate them to continue working with you. Some ways to achieve this include offering better benefits and compensation packages and nurturing a healthy and encouraging workplace. 

3. Optimize your onboarding

As customer care agents face increasing challenges with call volume and complexity, being an emerging customer service trend, you must equip new hires with comprehensive information to acclimate them to your operations properly. 

Work with your Human Resources department to find ways to accelerate your onboarding experience and your recruitment process. Understand your vacant positions and the qualities of the ideal person in the role to narrow your search. 

4. Increase your feedback rate

Providing ample feedback is crucial for rapid skill development in new hires. Help them understand mistakes and improvement opportunities while directing them to relevant learning materials to improve their performance. 

5. Empower your employees

According to McKinsey & Company, 54% of employees surveyed considered quitting due to feeling undervalued by their organization. To address your labor shortage and meet customer needs aptly, prioritizing employee value and appreciation is crucial.

Train employees in your organization’s standards to be empowered to make their own decisions without micromanaging, and provide them with the necessary tools to accomplish their tasks. These show them how valuable they are to your organization.

Protect Against Labor Shortages with Superstaff

There’s a reason why labor shortages drive outsourcing growth. Understaffed businesses struggle to meet customers’ needs, risking customer relationships and profits. 

Outsourcing customer service roles helps businesses overcome the labor shortage by expanding their global workforce and capitalizing on benefits, such as accessing skilled workers at less cost.

Whether you want to outsource to the Philippines or Colombia, Superstaff provides excellent customer support services as labor shortage solutions for your business. Contact Superstaff today to learn how we can help you reduce the effects of the labor shortage on your company.

Posted by
Ann Gelli Tolentino
SOLUTIONS AND OUTREACH MANAGER
Ann Gelli is largely responsible for SuperStaff’s successful B2B marketing that drives sales and grows our client base. While her primary expertise is in outreach marketing and sales, she has diversified her skills and honed her competencies in data analysis, market research, and international trade shows networking.

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