The customer experience outsourcing industry is due to grow almost a third by 2030. Customer service has an enormous impact on an organisation’s brand, retaining the trust of their customers and – fundamentally – profitability, so making sure it’s in the right hands is critical.
Until relatively recently, outsourcing was’t discussed openly as a key pillar of a successful customer experience strategy, with many taking the view that it could be done better in-house. During a panel session at the CCW Europe Summit in Amsterdam last week, I discussed why not only is this no longer the case, but, on the contrary, it’s considered an absolute must-have in ensuring business goals are met. However, like all strong partnerships, there are specific considerations and challenges on the journey when creating the right blend of outsourced and inhouse operations.
Growing your business with outsourcing
Outsourcing the right work to complement the growth and/or expansion plans for your business can augment and accelerate strategic objectives. One panel member argued that accelerating the innovation and growth of a business is the true value-add of outsourcing in current times. Build what you want to achieve in-house and outsource the execution to the experts – the right outsourcing partner.
“Outsourcing is no longer just about saving money. It’s about finding
the right talent, accessing expertise, and accelerating innovation.”
Another panel member agreed with this point of view, cautioning, however that, as your business grows, you must work the outsourcing element into that plan incrementally to deliver on growth objectives and, at first, to outsource the simpler elements of customer experience delivery. As the relationship develops with the outsource provider, so does the level of complexity of the customer experience that you can rely on them to deliver.
Agility is critical
As your business grows, the ability to be agile in meeting customer needs is essential and, therefore, your outsourcing partner must also be able to apply agility to your customer experience delivery.
The panel was united in the view that the ability of an outsource provider to flex resource in accordance with the business need is a critical factor for success. Whether leveraging outsourcing for out of hours support or short notice critical incident moments, having access to additional support quickly and easily is a gamechanger for the client.
"Do what you do best, outsource the rest."
Creating a seamless brand experience
The panel discussion delved into what a company must consider in how to deliver an immersive brand experience for their customers when an outsource provider is the first (and often only) point of contact for the business.
The first point was around the communication of who the brand is and how they want to be represented, and providing the relevant guidelines, policies, training and product experience for the outsourced team. Situations where the outsourcing provider is treated - and sees themselves - as a brand partner or an extension of the brand and team tend to result in more successful partnerships.
With much experience from the panel, and many examples offered of how to encourage delivery of a great customer experience, it was agreed unanimously that it begins with engagement and creating a sense of loyalty to the brand for employees.
Employees of the outsource provider must understand and be able to represent the client brand in the same way as an in-house team would. A partner who can align with the client’s brand values can support the provision of a seamless customer experience but there must be collaboration to ensure consistent training and visibility for all front-line colleagues regardless of their employer.
In summary the panel highlighted four key factors in relation to outsourcing your customer experience.
- Know what you do well and outsource where other expertise is needed to meet the changing needs of customers.
- Consider the people and technology balance required and the sourcing of both to deliver to the needs of customers.
- Ensure the delivery of a seamless and immersive brand experience.
- Communicate and upskill consistently particularly in support of points 2 and 3.
What is clear is that, without a solid foundation of trust and openness, there is nothing to build on. The right partner can support growth, co-design and innovate and elevate the experience for both the business and your customers.
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