People are People: Why Outsourcing Customer Services is the Best Solution

Outsourcing services has become an increasingly popular solution for businesses that want to introduce efficiency in operation. Over the last 20 years outsourcing provided several benefits for businesses which include the following:

  • Reduced cost of business
  • Greater productivity
  • Increased business flexibility
  • Lower risk to business expansion
  • Improved quality of deliverables

Businesses that are outsourcing for the first time, usually delegate non- essential tasks such as administrative work or back office support. With the growth of global outsourcing, businesses are beginning to outsource more specialized tasks one of which is customer service.

Customer service plays an important role in developing a business. Its main purpose is market retention. With the expanding role of the Internet and the increasing influence of social media, consumers have more access to information while becoming accessible to your competitors.

If your customer service isn’t spot on, you could easily lose your customers to proprietors of the same trade.

Just how important is market retention? Here are the statistics from a survey conducted by ProvideSupport:

  • 13% of dissatisfied customers will tell 20 other people.
  • 78% of customers report competent customer service are responsible for a great customer experience.
  • 45% of consumers will abandon an online transaction if their concerns are not properly addressed.
  • Loyal customers are worth 10 times more than their first purchase.
  • A 5% increase in customer retention will improve profitability by 75%.
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%; the probability of selling to a new customer is 5% to 20%.
  • 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your existing customer base.

At the crux of customer experience is customer service. If your customer service team cannot satisfy the concerns of your market, you stand to lose much more than failure to generate new sales.

The problem with customer service is companies are resorting to automation. In their effort to minimize mistakes they have been implementing Artificial Intelligence or AI systems to take the place of human customer service agents.

Technology companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google have come out with AI assistance to standardize the level of service and reduce the risks associated with human error. The goal is to introduce large scale AI systems that can manage customer support services.

But the results have been far from desirable. Apple’s Siri AI system has been the object of much scorn and vilification as Microsoft’s Tay AI.

Perhaps one day these technology companies will understand customer service is a function that is best conducted between humans. A customer service transaction is typically emotionally charged. An irate customer wants an immediate resolution to his or her concern because time lost could be opportunity cost.

Machines do not have the capacity to manage customer support services because they have no empathy. They do not understand “need” and therefore exhibit no sense of urgency.

The most effective solution to customer service is also the simplest, least presumptuous one. Outsource customer service to providers of human virtual assistance. Let the customer service agent become human and relate to the customer as another human being.

Forget the automated scripts and spiels. These can remain only as references. For the most part, allow the human in the customer agent to shine through. It is in man’s imperfection that customer service becomes perfect.

About the Author: Grace Fitzpatrick