Everyone appreciates a can-do attitude, a DIY approach to things. There’s just something about people who are prepared to go at it alone that inspires people around them. We value self-sufficiency because it speaks to strength of character and perseverance. The indomitable human spirit.
On the flip side, this can lead to mistakes and errors that could have easily been avoided if advice or help was sought out. That leads us to a different aspect of human nature and that’s community. Banding together makes us stronger. The same thing applies to business. While you can try to set up your own customer service operation, and some may even succeed at it, the reality is that some things are better left to others. That leads us to outsourcing, specifically why you should outsource e-commerce customer service.
If you’re looking for a strict definition: outsourcing in e-commerce customer service is a strategic business decision that involves delegating an organization's customer service functions to a third-party service provider, often situated in a different geographical location. This practice allows e-commerce businesses to focus on their core competencies, such as product development and marketing, while ensuring their customers receive professional, timely, and effective support services.
Basically, this means that by deciding to hand over certain aspects and responsibilities of your business to specialized partners you allow yourself to do what you do best without distraction.
When it comes to outsourcing e-commerce customer service, there are different approaches you can take. For example, you might have a dedicated team available 24/7 to provide live chat support on your website. They can also manage customer inquiries through email, handle returns and exchanges, and even respond to comments and messages on social media. The main objective is to prioritize top-notch customer interactions, which can lead to stronger brand loyalty and increased customer satisfaction.
In the world of e-commerce, customer service has taken on a whole new significance. As businesses, we're no longer just selling products or services; we’re creating experiences, aren't we? But let's be honest, maintaining an in-house customer service team can be a real challenge, both in terms of resources and expertise.
That's where outsourcing e-commerce customer service with a partner like Transcom comes into the picture. It's like having your cake and eating it too – you get to provide top-notch customer service without the heavy lifting. Intriguing, isn't it?
The benefits of outsourcing are many and they can range from a small boon to a must-have. We'll try to explain at least some of the possible benefits outsourcing might have by giving real-life examples of how we helped our clients.
Customer service and the expectations your customers have about the support they receive are changing every day. It used to be that it was enough for customers to solve an issue they had or to receive accurate information. Now, customer support has turned into an extension of the whole e-commerce customer experience. This means that it’s no longer enough to be good or to be fast, or to be both good and fast at what you do. It’s about providing an enjoyable experience, giving customers that little bit extra, and making them come away from the experience feeling looked after and appreciated. Outsourcing e-commerce customer service means you can get just that.
How do we do it? By implementing things like Omnichannel, a multichannel approach with the oversight and simplicity of singlechannel. This approach allows your customers to contact you through any communication route they prefer and find convenient while still allowing your agents to immediately know if they are taking over from another agent, if the customer had similar problems before, how were they resolved, etc. This makes the customer feel more in control and like you’re the one adjusting to their specific needs. This increases customer satisfaction and boosts the image your business has.
Another benefit that outsourcing brings is better agents. Of course, you can train good agents that will get the job done, but, training is the most time-consuming and cost-ineffective process in the industry. Also, imperfect training operations lead to agents being underprepared for the realities of the job, leading to high attrition. This is the biggest money pit in the industry because you need to keep training new agents, slowing down your operation and these new agents are inexperienced in comparison leading to lower quality.
Outsourcing your e-commerce customer service can help mitigate or even prevent this issue. Transcom deals with this through solutions like ADA - the Agent Development Accelerator. Implementing ADA into the training process means you get better agents, faster. How? By leveraging the power of AI. ADA is essentially an AI trained to mimic customer interactions. This means that your agents can have true-to-life calls with low stakes, allowing them to test the waters without the stress of a real interaction. These personas are highly complex and nuanced, which means you can simulate literally any type of customer.
On top of all that, ADA also has the ability to analyze your agents’ performance, pinpointing areas for improvement further increasing efficiency for both new and existing agents.
Another thing that outsourcing provides is the ability to quickly respond to anything. Be it peak volumes or new markets, an outsourcing partner has systems and operations in place that allow you the agility that’s sometimes impossible to do on your own because wherever you start, you start from ground zero.
On the other hand, sometimes scaling up or spreading out doesn’t have to necessitate new agents or new centers. Sometimes all you need is great tech. Transcom has developed Automated Translation specifically for that purpose. It’s our AI-powered, real-time translation solution for both text and voice. It has three distinct benefits. The first is that it allows you to react to peak volumes by diverting calls to other centers no matter the language. The second is that you can operate in new markets without having boots on the ground because you can use Automated Translation to provide native language support without having native speakers.
This in combination with near-instant translation in both text and voice in over 100 languages guarantees higher customer and agent satisfaction. The decreased total workload for a single agent also brings down attrition rates due to agents not being overworked and having downtime as well.
Having those established centers means that your outsourcing partner can also help you cut costs. Offshoring is ubiquitous with attempts to outsource e-commerce customer service. This can be a daunting endeavor because if you put all of your eggs in this single, unstable basket they could all break. That’s why a lot of businesses decide to shy away from offshoring and would rather suffer the monetary impact instead of risking their operation.
Outsourcing means that the risk is negated by experience or established operations. Using your partner’s offshoring operations means that you have an established, trained, and experienced workforce in a more competitive market. This means that you can cut costs without lowering the quality or efficiency of your service.
The benefits we discussed up until now aren’t everything that outsourcing can provide but just a selection or a cross-section of the possibilities if you outsource e-commerce customer service. The last thing we’ll talk about as part of that selection is the general improvement it can bring to your whole operation.
Transcom also offers CX Advisory and AI Advisory services. Here we analyze your existing operation to see what areas can be improved or what areas will benefit from improvement. Some things may seem like a no-brainer for change but could have little to no, or even negative, impact on your business. That’s why our advisory services have such importance - in the end, avoiding mistakes is easier than fixing them.
After all of this, a question poses itself: “If you have an established operation and it operates okay, why should you care?” The question is valid, nobody likes spending money if they don’t have to. The answer is simple, outsourcing your e-commerce customer service should be seen as an investment. If we look at the monetary bottom line, in the long run, it pays dividends.
Apart from that, you should care because your customers care. As we said in the beginning, customer service is no longer a question of quick, or accurate, or well-executed. It is an extension of customer experience and an integral part of the perception of you as a business and the satisfaction your customers have with their shopping experience.
All of this means that, while you may not feel it now, you will feel the impact of bad or even ‘okayish’ customer service later on. It is becoming an increasingly important aspect of e-commerce, because your competition is taking notice and because customers are starting to actively think about it.