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Thread: Outsourcing online customer support – Is it worth trying?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Outsourcing online customer support – Is it worth trying?

    Online customer support is one of the hot topics for discussion this season, as many clients complain that they are not able to convert their visitors into actual customers. Online marketing first was just keyword ranking on Google, then it turned towards links, then traffic and finally conversion seems to the most important and indeed it is.

    In my opinion, offering successful customer support to visitors would definitely ensure conversions.

    However not many businesses actually are able to handle this as this includes not only investment but also technical knowledge about various platforms that offer online support.
    So outsourcing online support centre for your website is definitely worth trying. Of course, you need guidance as to how to choose one.

  2. #2
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    Dec 2013
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    I think the difficulty and investment that would be involved in setting up a customer support system largely depends upon the size and scope of your selling operation.

    Let's assume that we're talking about a relatively straightforward retail situation, yes?

    If we're dealing with a relatively small selling operation, customer service should be at least relatively easy to handle. Setting up a phone and/or email system shouldn't cost that much and doesn't require a lot of extra training. There might come a point where another body or two would be good to help with incoming calls...but if you're fielding enough customer service requests to demand another hire, I think it'd stand to reason that you're doing enough business to pay for said hire.

    Of course, when selling operations get bigger, I think sellers might start considering outsourcing something like customer service. Honestly, I might caution against it.

    Customer service is one of the make-or-break elements of the online retail industry, in my experience. Awesome customer service, no matter what your niche, is a huge selling point. Almost every single time, this is true. It doesn't matter if you sell software or kids' clothing -- giving your customers the ability to quickly and easily speak to someone who can solve problems that come up (and believe you me...problems willdefinitely come up) is invaluable, and is the kind of thing that turns a negative experience -- or review, testimonial, what have you -- into a positive one.

    My advice, if something needs to be outsourced, would be to look at things you can outsource before you boot customer service. It might very well wind up being one of the most important parts of your business.

    Hope this helps!

    _ Sean

  3. #3
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    Apr 2011
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    The following is a bit dated but speaks directly to the topis here.

    Dell Computer is scaling back its commitment to outsourcing.

    The direct sales computer giant said it will no longer route its corporate customers to a technical support call center in Bangalore, India.

    Instead, corporate users seeking tech support for Optiplex desktop and Latitude notebook computers will speak with Dell representatives based at call centers in Texas, Idaho and Tennessee, according to the Associated Press, citing Dell spokesman Jon Weisblatt.

    “Customers weren't satisfied with the level of support they were receiving, so we are moving some calls around to make sure they don't feel that way anymore” Weisblatt said.

    Weisblatt would not discuss the nature of the dissatisfaction. However, according to a number of published reports, U.S. customers have been complaining that Indian support operators are difficult to communicate with because of their thick accents and scripted responses.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2013
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    That article really doesn't surprise me.

    Outsourcing work is just fine, but something as sensitive as customer service should be considered a lot more carefully than it is by (most) huge companies & corporations.

    Sensitive, communication-based work really isn't conducive to both a language and cultural barrier. Plus, people who are reaching out to customer support are all the more likely to already be frustrated. It's a situation that's just primed for a bad time when you put that person on the phone with someone who doesn't speak the language super duper well and has been given a thoroughly- (and often time frustratingly-) scripted response...I wind up feeling bad for everyone involved!

    I think Dell's making a great choice, honestly, in terms of giving customers the support they need.

    _ Sean

  5. #5
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    Jan 2013
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    OutSource an Online Worker

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashnit View Post
    Online customer support is one of the hot topics for discussion this season, as many clients complain that they are not able to convert their visitors into actual customers. Online marketing first was just keyword ranking on Google, then it turned towards links, then traffic and finally conversion seems to the most important and indeed it is.

    In my opinion, offering successful customer support to visitors would definitely ensure conversions.

    However not many businesses actually are able to handle this as this includes not only investment but also technical knowledge about various platforms that offer online support.
    So outsourcing online support centre for your website is definitely worth trying. Of course, you need guidance as to how to choose one.
    Many US businesses have gone overseas in order to fulfill jobs that can be accomplished more efficiently and economically. Although there are mixed opinions on promoting other nations economies, there are skills that need to be closely examined if you do decide to outsource overseas.

    There are numerous online avenues for contracting with a virtual worker and when doing so, you must know what to look for. Your new, outsourced employee needs to be fluent in your native language, as well as receptive/proactive with your ideas and assignments. Take a look at the following list of desired skills, and you will be able to find the perfect worker to assist you in driving your online business.

    Your priorities may be different, and my priorities may be different a few months down the line. And I’d add that you don’t need all these skills in any particular measure to make it in web design. But to be a fully rounded web professional, this is my take on the ideal make-up.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2013
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    A big part of the answer to this question also depends upon the nature of what it is you're selling.

    I feel like a pretty simple eCommerce situation, in which you're selling something like toys -- might be a good candidate for live-chat support, which can easily be outsourced, so long as workers are able to communicate clearly (verbal phone communication is going to be a lot more sensitive than live chat, when it comes to this issue).

    More complicated issues, though, might require the customer support touch of a native English speaker.
    Sean B.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2014
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    I am looking for the most efficient platform and software to facilitate communication between my company's eCommerce website and our warehouse & fulfillment center.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2013
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    Hi Paula -- Solid Commerce can totally help you with that. We have a functionality that will allow you to automate the communication between your eCommerce channels and your warehouses, vendors, drop shippers, or fulfillment centers. In just about any format they require. You're welcome to shoot me a PM if you want to set up a call and talk a bit further. Hope that helps!
    Sean B.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2014
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    you can add live chat plugins to your website

  10. #10
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    Dec 2014
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    Wroclaw, Poland
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    As Sean said, it depends on the size of your business, where you sell, how much you sell. But I'd say it's never a decision to take lightly. If you want to make customer service your competitive advantage (and many smaller businesses do), then outsourcing is risky. Simply because you won't have full control over the agents hired... It will also be more difficult to convey your culture through your service which is the main touchpoint between your company and your customers.

    If you're competing on prices, then outsourcing (if it saves you money) might be a solution.
    Let's not forget that outsourcing doesn't always equals offshoring. So you could technically find a call center in your country to take care of your customers service.

    If you want my opinion, I'd say don't outsource until it's absolutely necessary for whatever reason (it could be because you want to provide service in different languages for example). If you have a small business, capitalizing on excellent service is a good strategy to generate some positive word of mouth. You can easily set up an email/phone system or even live chat (some solutions offer text, audio and video chat now which makes the service a little more personal)

  11. #11
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    Dec 2014
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    USA, Texas, Dallas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashnit View Post
    Online customer support is one of the hot topics for discussion this season, as many clients complain that they are not able to convert their visitors into actual customers. Online marketing first was just keyword ranking on Google, then it turned towards links, then traffic and finally conversion seems to the most important and indeed it is.

    In my opinion, offering successful customer support to visitors would definitely ensure conversions.

    However not many businesses actually are able to handle this as this includes not only investment but also technical knowledge about various platforms that offer online support.
    So outsourcing online support centre for your website is definitely worth trying. Of course, you need guidance as to how to choose one.
    Yes, really it is a good option to try ones because your customers can only be satisfied by a good customer support provided by you to help them get a good product or service. By a good customer support you can gain trust of your customers and can make them your permanent customer, and it will be possible only by a great service.

  12. #12
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    Dec 2014
    Location
    Torrence
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    I agree with you. Many US companies are outsourcing their tasks to people in developing countries as this helps them reduce the costs incurred when the same task is outsourced to a developed country. However, before doing this the business needs to ensure that the native has no dearth of knowledge and required skills.

  13. #13
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    Feb 2015
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    The fulfilment of online orders is often the area of e-commerce that causes website owners most difficulty.

  14. #14
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    May 2015
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    You can save a lot of time, money and effort. It is also easy to track. Choose a company that is compatible with your business model as it drastically depends on the the type of merchandise. One thing is for sure, low cost and stellar service dont go together. Ensure fulfillment of agreed level of service.An experienced company must be confident enoughto offer its services as well as references.

  15. #15
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    Apr 2018
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    Outsourcing becomes more and more popular, I agree with the author that it is a reasonable decision to outsource business to other companies, agencies and even freelancers if they're reliable, professional and cost less It is not a secret that some countries don't take much for developing services for example, but provide with rather high quality of work. Here's a great post revealing developer's salary depending on the country by the way.

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