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Think Quality of Support, Not Price of Outsourcing

On the topic of outsourcing, ComputerWorld UK (March 2010) states:

"Companies expressed frustration with the quality of work being provided, according to a survey, but most businesses still said they chose the cheapest outsourcing option instead of the best quality. Nearly all businesses - ninety-four percent - admitted that the focus on cost was increasing the likelihood of their projects failing."

It is our belief that when companies search for an outsourced help desk, they are willing to sacrifice quality of support for low pricing, resulting in serious negative impact on customer satisfaction and retention. With that said, we are also firm believers in the power of an outsourced help desk solution. The key, as with many other functions of a fine-tuned organization, is to do your homework first.

Here are three important topics (not directly related to cost) for you to think about when selecting an outsourced customer service or support help desk provider:

1) Experience.

Does the organization have any experience with what you and your customers need? For example, it is quite difficult to utilize an answering service for customer service or technical support. That is, unless you would prefer to just receive an email or phone call with a name, phone number, and no other details. Companies that attempt this generally end up calling the customer back themselves in order to perform the very function they were attempting to outsource.

2) Culture.

It cannot be ignored. Your customers want to talk to people that they can relate to. Here is a survey comment from one of our partner's actual customers: "The techs were very nice - loved that they were Americans......"

'Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology Management' by Mehdi Khosrow-Pour states that "The main perception customers have when they hear a foreign accent is to anticipate or expect a bad experience." -- You should be thinking about this when deciding what outsourced support provider you should choose, and perhaps also considering the idea of bringing your customer service or support "in-house" so that you can closely monitor and control the quality of customer interactions.

3) Tools and Infrastructure.

What pieces of software and hardware are being used to handle customer interactions? Is the company a strictly "Windows shop" when you have a requirement for interaction with UNIX based servers? Do you rely on legacy systems that they can't interface with or have a difficult time understanding? Do they have a method of tracking customer interactions -- as well as a way to accurately report on this data? Are there redundancy and disaster recovery plans? Will changes on your end require payment for changes on their end?

The questions can be practically endless, and can seem quite a daunting and perhaps unnecessary task to answer. I would suggest having a discussion with your IT team to see what their needs are, as well as include them in the selection process. Remember that these are the people that will have to handle all technical interaction between your company and the support provider, and they likely have the best insight as to how systems will integrate.

Remember - focusing solely on cost can lead to poor customer perception of your brand. It is up to you whether 15 cents less a phone call is worth losing customers.

Fused Solutions is the leading provider of Call Center Outsourcing and Business Process Outsourcing Solutions, with a special focus on Customer Experience. With world class 24/7/365 support, Fused Solutions is ready to design, provision, and execute on your customer strategy. Fused Solutions customers experience all the benefits of outsourcing, without the drawbacks of off shoring.

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