Outsourcing customer service: why startups are often too hesitant
Their own company idea has come to life, and it works. At this early stage, many company founders find it difficult to outsource important services to service providers. But startup CEOs should approach the topic rationally, because professional customer service is extremely important for a young company.
There is a large range of services available to entrepreneurs to help them get their companies up and running in short order. IT disappears into the cloud, accounting is similarly outsourced, and the office is flexibly managed by the co-working space. There are also service providers for e-commerce, sales and logistics. Those who want to can completely concentrate on the development of their product or app. Theoretically.
As soon as they’ve successfully made it to market, a new challenge faces the young company with hundreds and, in the ideal case, thousands of customers suddenly knocking on the virtual shop door and wanting competent answers to technical questions or helpful support with complaints.
Keeping the customer happy
Customers who aren’t dealt with properly here soon become ex-customers. Professional customer service can prevent this, in part by taking a preventative approach. Some users might rate an app badly only because they haven’t understood something. Here, fast and direct contact to the customer can work wonders. Especially in the beginning, it’s extremely important to ensure the goodwill of the customer base, which might still be small at that point. In spite of this, many startups are reluctant to get an external customer service provider on board. This is an understandable reflex. After all, what’s at stake is the most valuable relationship a company has — its contact to the customer. There are, however, a number of benefits that should be examined in more detail.
Improving cost benefits
External customer service providers can offer clear benefits to companies of various sizes. With their ability to seamlessly scale their service, they can smoothly accompany a business throughout all the phases of its growth. A specialized service provider can produce cost benefits through synergies, for example in the areas of training and equipment. The client profits from this. Moreover, as a result of its specialization in customer service, a service provider frequently has state-of-the-art communication technologies available to it. The clear focus on the topic of customer service also generally leads to efficiency benefits, which likewise have a positive effect on costs. In addition, a service provider often works for several companies. That allows it to increase the number of customer support specialists for short periods in response to seasonal requirements so that every customer is served.
Purchasing industry knowledge
Modern chatbots can handle a portion of customer requests — particularly those dealing with standard topics. This is where an experienced service provider can be useful, since its chatbot technology has often already learned the industry language and so only needs to undergo a few adjustments for the company involved. During the early stages of a startup, human employees are still often needed, however, since many processes will not yet have been standardized. A customer service provider with plenty of experience from various customer projects and well-trained employees is a big help here (see “Benchmark Study: Good Service Turns Customers into Fans“). Good service employees have undergone communications training, which enables them to constructively handle even angry customers. What’s more, they generally already have knowledge and experience in the customer’s industry. A service provider can therefore offer valuable suggestions regarding the customer service department and its development, and can make sure that the company maintains a professional image with respect to the customer.
Contact to the customer is preserved
Another important argument for employing a specialized CRM service provider is that a professional service provider has the analytical instruments needed to evaluate customer satisfaction and the desires of users. The data analyst Ramyam, for example, provides overviews of all important, current service topics that have emerged in the customer center and presents this information in a format designed to be as useful as possible (see “Context-based Communications: High-Tech for the Optimal Customer Experience“). In addition, the customer-support system suggests how the company should react to the customer concern in each case. Although it may sound contradictory, outsourcing customer service can ultimately bring you closer to your customers.
The first impression counts
In short, an external customer service provider can be an optimal expansion of your own team. The startup’s core team can then completely devote themselves to the future of the company and allow the analyzed customer data to flow into strategy and product development. Customer service is definitely a complex matter that’s in good hands with professionals. After all, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.