In the last episode of our series, we fact-checked the well-known stereotype of language and cultural barriers, often cited as a disadvantage of outsourced customer services. We probably showed the bigger picture on this issue, and now it is time to look at a similar, often quoted phrase.
Let’s check the next one!
Here’s the statement:
"Outsourced customer service staff are not intimately familiar with your products and services. Full brand awareness can only be achieved by an in-house team, regardless of the actual level and quality of a BPO partner’s training. In-house agents are familiar with the business environment of your company, and they are up-to-date with market players and sector dynamics. If you use outsourced services, misunderstandings can occur.”
Sound logical? Maybe. But logical reasoning can also be outdated. Just like now. Let us briefly explain why.
Professional training covering every detail, lasting up to even several months
Outsourced customer services place great emphasis on staff training, for any campaign, in terms of complexity of tasks or call volume. It's a cliché in this industry, that every campaign is unique, but like most clichés, this one is also true.
In recent months, we have provided a flavor of the diversity of customer service interactions in the form of detailed case studies, from seasonal campaigns with extreme variations in call volumes, or partners, whose customer support requires complex technical skills. All such collaborations are based on the philosophy of 'no confidential data' and the proper transfer of information.
The aim of outsourcing is precisely to remove the day-to-day management of customer service tasks from the client, focus on value-creating activities and maximise the cost-effectiveness of processes, or even allow the BPO partner to recover a large part of the operating costs.
In this type of cooperation, especially for clients with a wide range of products or services, it is not uncommon for training to last for weeks or even months, without any on-the-job training. All the necessary training materials are provided by the client, and their preparation is also a good opportunity for companies to organise their experience in the field.
Continuous feedback and development
It may be obvious, but the learning process does not end with the launch of a campaign, rather, it really starts at that time. Customer service, in any field, is an excellent opportunity to communicate and gather information about your customers' habits, their satisfaction, or even the messages you can use to get their attention.
For example, in a lead generation campaign, the BPO customer service team will continuously send feedback on what are the persuasive arguments, and the questions that need to be answered to convince a new partner. The process can then be improved step by step. In addition, many companies work with on-demand packages or a success fee system for sales campaigns, which provides extra motivation for everyone to strive for the best performance.
SmartScript and lots of other background material
Every campaign comes with a wealth of background material, and SmartScript - a script written in advance by the client and the BPO company to guide operators through the essential points of the conversation - guides them through the tasks associated with the current calls. This minimises the number of times a shared agent - working on multiple campaigns at the same time to make better use of time - calls in the name of a different client, and ensures that no essential element of the call will be missed, whether it's a food order, a sales pitch or even a poll.
But SmartScript is not the only such tool. Even for the easiest database cleaning or a basic sales campaign, there is a wealth of constantly updated descriptions of the products and services, in written form or even in audio and video format. To give a simple example: if only one single restaurant of the dozens - or hundreds - of restaurants in the fast-food chain runs out of two of the three optional extra sauces, customer service staff will know in real-time, because the information is instantly updated in the dedicated back-end database.
SPOC support, end-to-end process
As discussed in our article on the lesser-known opportunities provided by BPO companies, in addition to striving for cost-effectiveness and maximum utilization of agent time for companies in the industry, a client working in any field can request dedicated agents who only deal with their clients. This method, with professional training – see above! - guarantees a dedicated customer service team for clients, with the difference that these employees are employees of a BPO customer service company. For example, it is possible for customers to always reach the same agent directly, which is a huge advantage for the customer experience, as the time spent in the maze of IVR sounds can be minimized, and at the same time, the customer's confidence in our company increases. they can turn to the same operator, who has been hailed as a good acquaintance after two or three conversations.
+ 1 Up-to-date technological infrastructure supporting the service
While not directly related to the core question, it is worth noting that BPO customer services necessarily use the most up-to-date technology infrastructure. A professional service provider can't lag behind the cutting edge, so they need to keep abreast of trendsetting developments in the industry such as IVA tools, which will probably take the place of older IVR systems in many services in the next few years. Still, we could also talk about any other AI-based solution. Let's ask the rhetorical question: is this an option for a company where customer service is not part of the core business? We leave it to you to answer.