Workforce Management & Optimization

Should You Outsource Your Company’s Customer Service?

Delivering top-notch customer service is essential in today’s CX-focused market. Here’s how to decide whether you should keep your customer service team in-house or outsource.

In a move of drastic cost-cutting measures in the 1980s and 1990s, a culture of outsourcing customer service quickly emerged. The largest brands in the market sent many of their critical customer service features overseas. Business processing outsource partners became a staple of the business landscape. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and many companies are still struggling with the same question their predecessors asked 50 years ago: Should our customer service team be in-house or outsourced to a partner?

The Benefits of Outsourced Customer Service

For many companies, the conversation around outsourcing customer service begins by looking at the potential benefits. In many organizations, the customer service team—whether a call center or highly trained individuals offering text, chat, or video-based support—is viewed as a cost center. Anything that’s labeled a cost center can wind up in the crosshairs for cost savings and reduction. In many cases, outsourcing your customer service can help save you money, but there are other benefits beyond financial.

One is the ability to easily scale up support based on seasonal demands, whether you operate a seasonally driven business or are looking for strategies to help you augment human capital during the holidays. Outsourcing your customer service can also reduce stress on other departments, thus eliminating certain recruiting workflows from your HR team’s workload or lowering the amount of support your IT team needs to support customer service technology.

The Downsides of Outsourced Customer Service

Lower costs, lighter workloads, and increased flexibility are major benefits. However, there are some potential downsides to consider when determining whether to outsource customer service. Arguably, the most important are perception and brand reputation. How often have customers complained about a customer service call being routed to a service rep they struggled to communicate with or who wasn’t able to resolve the issue? These types of calls can be devastating and can send your customers to the competition.

There are also potential challenges around alignment. How well will the partner understand your vision for the customer service experience and work to deliver it? Will this partner be as invested in your success as an in-house team? Finally, if you determine that new technologies or strategies are required to meet the evolving needs of your customers’ experience, how effectively will the partner grasp your vision and be able to execute it?

The Benefits of In-house Customer Service

An in-house customer service team can be more resource-intensive than an outsourced partner. You have to pay the salaries and benefits of your customer service workers, as well as provide management oversight, technology support, and HR and recruiting services. Yet for many companies, it’s worth the trade-off. You are in charge of training and can oversee these employees’ day-to-day work styles. The team has access to internal documents and consistently interacts with colleagues and managers throughout the business, which provides them with a stronger understanding of your brand and the customer experience you seek to deliver.

In today’s business landscape, customer service is more important than ever. When deciding whether you should outsource your customer service or build an in-house team, there are numerous points to consider. From your budget to the customer experience, each model offers different benefits that can help grow your business.