Latest News  

TELUS International Europe: Four questions start-ups should ask when considering contact center outsourcing

Success can happen fast in the tech world. Six years ago, Snapchat was just a young start-up that made a time-sensitive messaging platform. Now it's valued at $20 billion

2017-04-10 23:31:34





Grégoire Vigroux
Vice-President Marketing of TELUS International Europe


Of course, not every tech start-up has that degree of success; just 1.28 percent of tech companies go on to become "unicorns", the nickname for start-up companies that are valued at over $1 billion. A lot of companies struggle to acquire and retain customers, while trimming excess spending and keeping their start-up "lean".

A truly landmark moment in the evolution of any company moving from bright idea to profitable business is when its customer service needs to reach a critical scale. That's when the customer support team may need some support of their own. Management must consider how to optimize the company's customer service offering, and for those seeking help from an experienced partner, choosing to outsource can influence that process in a big way.

However, the decision is not an easy one to make, and there are some key questions to address before making the final call.

"Can customer support be kept in-house?"


It's not uncommon for start-ups (yes, even unicorns) to keep customer support in-house during the initial growth period. And it's understandable, given some of the benefits. Keeping customer support in-house can keep costs down when the volume of customer inquiries is still manageable. It can provide an opportunity to develop an end-to-end customer brand experience that truly represents the company's philosophy. It can also create a more intimate relationship with early customers, thereby cultivating both loyalty and crucial feedback.

But a time can come where company growth — and the inbound customer inquiries that come with it — can potentially dilute those benefits. Martin Zwilling, founder of the consulting service Startup Professionals, says that typically happens at one crucial moment: "When they experience explosive growth, and can't handle the growth or costs internally."

Arriving at the right answer requires a company to look closely at the demand it's experiencing, and establishing a logistical and financial turning point when it makes sense to adopt outsourcing.

Take Breather, a start-up that rents temporary work spaces in major international cities that has raised $69 million since its founding in late 2012. Breather currently maintains in-house customer support. For Kurt Wilson, the company's director of customer service and inside sales, there's a fixed future point when outsourcing will make sense to the company. "In the long run, I think the question for us with outsourcing will simply come down to, ‘Do we need enough agents to require outsourcing?'" he says.

However, Wilson says it's not just about meeting a demand, but also about profit margins. Once it reaches a certain scale — and a level of profitability that comes with it — outsourcing could help further improve the company's cost structure.

"What value is needed from an outsource partner?"


The financial value of outsourcing customer support shouldn't be underestimated, but there are other benefits companies may seek out. "People are looking at quality and outcomes and specific expertise, much more than they are looking at cost," says Vadim Gouterman, a partner at multinational strategy-consulting firm the Boston Consulting Group in Toronto.

Among tech companies, those kinds of needs can vary. Some companies may want to consider outsourcing to a strategic partner to get help shaping a proper end-to-end customer experience — particularly if rapid growth has limited a start-up's time and ability to do so on its own. Gouterman says some companies see value in very specialized help, such as technical expertise for mobile-app support.

Complexity is a definite factor in whether to outsource a given function, says John Goodman, vice-chair at Customer Care Measurement & Consulting (CCMC) and author of Customer Experience 3.0. For example, Goodman says some auto manufacturers have split their customer service offerings depending on the nature of the inquiry. "The real simple stuff could easily be outsourced," Goodman says. For example, companies could outsource what are sometimes called "tier-one interactions" — basic questions like "Why hasn't my order been shipped yet?" or "What oil does my car need?"

This frees up the company's internal resources to respond directly to more complex inquiries. "What you do is you keep the tier-two stuff like warranty complaints in-house," at least to start, says Goodman.

A blended in-house/outsource model could be a good stepping stone for a company that is uncertain about exactly what to outsource, particularly one that has functioning customer support already in place but fast-growing inbound call volume.

Another consideration to weigh carefully is who a company is targeting as its ideal customer base. For example, a company looking to service Millennials may need to up its ante on an omnichannel offering to meet its customers online, delivering support by chat, email, messaging and social media. Developing the systems and technology in-house to deliver this kind of support can be resource-intensive, and may be better in the hands of an outsourcing partner.

In the end, it's up to each company to not only evaluate what its customer support needs are, but also be brutally honest with itself about its abilities to meet those needs.

"How important is crisis preparation?"


No aspiring tech company wants to think negatively, but unexpected crises can happen, often leaving start-ups flooded with inquiries they're not equipped to manage. "Those things can happen to anybody," says Gouterman of the Boston Consulting Group.

Just look at Volkswagen and its diesel-emissions controversy. After an incident like that, customers calling in with questions and complaints would be enough to stretch a contact center to its limit. Eventually, Volkswagen offered its customers buyback options, requiring registration forms and processes that weighed heavily on their contact center.

Crisis situations are why Gouterman says some companies consider it worthwhile to invest in an outsourcing partner who can help face the best and worst of times. "People will be willing to pay more not just to scale normally as they grow, but scale in reaction to crisis," he says. A crisis naturally need not be something as drastic as Volkswagen's: It could be something as simple as a service outage.

Regardless, start-ups should consider some of their more likely crisis scenarios, along with the probability of occurrence, and then factor them into their outsourcing decision.

"Is the company culture established well enough to outsource it?"


Outsourcing isn't just passing on customer support. It's also about passing on a piece of the company's identity and culture, and how both should be reflected in the customer experience.

When a company grows quickly, defining its identity and culture can sometimes take a back seat to getting the product out the door. But it's absolutely critical for companies to work with potential outsourcing partners to establish and maintain what makes the company, its brand and its culture great. That means lots of executive level communication. "Outsourcing is as good as what you put into it," Breather's Wilson says. "Your outsourced call centers will only be as successful as your level of engagement with them, and also leadership of that team."

Indeed, companies need to be prepared to dedicate time to collaborate, as well as work fastidiously on investing in staff training, issuing clear directions, developing KPIs and more. Start-ups shouldn't expect outsourcing to free them of responsibility. "There's a certain level of maturity you have to have to be able to hand your business over, because when you hand it over, you create a partnership," Wilson says. "If you don't invest the time in that, you lose control of your tone and the voice that you want to convey."

The road ahead


Outsourcing can affect more than a brand image; it can impact the very growth a fast-growing tech company is trying to generate and respond to. While growth may come quickly, the potential decision to outsource shouldn't. Properly weighing the decision can make the difference between seizing growing momentum or stunting it.

"Keep up-to-date with the latest thinking about BPO, ITO and Contact Center solutions. Each month, TELUS International, a global provider of contact center outsourcing and BPO solutions, shares insights on the latest customer service trends."

Related articles: www.telusinternational-europe.com /
www.telusinternational.com


0 COMMENTS ^ Go back to Top
WRITE A COMMENT ^ Go back to Top
 
Your email address will not be published.
Nickname
Email
Comment
Validation Code
   
 
 
NEWS
Cushman & Wakefield Echinox: StreamWIDE joins the new IT hub created in the Timpuri Noi Square project

StreamWIDE, a company specialized in the software and telecommunications industry, realocates its office in Bucharest in the Timpuri Noi Square project, joining the new IT hub created in the business park devel

 Read Full article »
CBRE: Office deliveries expected to bring new stock of 635.00 sqm, Bucharest to reach 3.9 mln sqm modern office spaces

During 2020–2021 to approx. 635,000 sqm of modern office space are expected to be delivered on market, increasing the Bucharest modern stock at approx. 3.9 million sq m, a step closer to a new a threshold and

 Read Full article »
Uber opens at Bucharest the largest support center to drivers and business partners in CEE

Uber company launched this week in Bucharest the largest center in Central and Eastern Europe that offers assistance to drivers and business partners in Romania, a center where they can contact directly Uber re

 Read Full article »
Samsung and Orange Romania activated the 5G VR Live streaming at Untold Music Festival in Romania

Samsung Electronics and Orange Romania have successfully deployed a 5G New Radio (NR) network to demonstrate a series of 5G use cases at Untold Festival 2019, the largest annual dance music festival in Romania,

 Read Full article »
MVP Lab in Sibiu named as one of Europe's best in the "Ones to Watch" list at European Business Awards

Ropardo MVP Lab has been named as ‘One to Watch' in Europe in a list of business excellence published by the European Business Awards, one of world's largest and longest running business competitions.

 Read Full article »
Endava marks one year since IPO

Endava, one of the most important software companies, present on the local market with 7 delivery centers, reaches an almost double capitalization, 2.07 billion USD, on July 26, 2019, one year after listing. Th

 Read Full article »
Infosys opens cyber defence centre in Bucharest

Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, announced the launch of its Cyber Defence Centre in Bucharest, Romania. The Defence Centre is an expansion of services delivered thro

 Read Full article »
QuEST Global completes integration of IT Six Global Services

QuEST Global, a global product engineering and lifecycle services company, has successfully completed the integration of IT Six Global Services SRL. QuEST Global acquired IT Six, a software engineering services

 Read Full article »
RE MAX Romania opens three more offices

RE/MAX Romania has expanded its network, adding three new offices – RE/MAX Partners in Cluj, RE/MAX Quality in Sibiu and RE/MAX Prestige in Targu Mures.

 Read Full article »
Microsoft and OpenAI form exclusive computing partnership to build new Azure AI supercomputing technologies

Microsoft Corp. and OpenAI have partnered to further extend Microsoft Azure's capabilities in large-scale AI systems, according to a release of Microsoft.

 Read Full article »
 
 
 
MOST READ ARTICLES
» PwC: The competitive advantages of Rom...
» TELUS International Europe: Assessing ...
» Marian V. Popa, GM of DB Global Techno...
» China's service outsourcing continues ...
» ROMANIAN OUTSOURCING AWARDS FOR EXCELL...
» P3 expands marketing team to support b...
» Stefanini Romania goes to Targu Mures ...
» IBM leases 18.000 sqm in Forte Partner...
» Synergy of skills
» GfK: Romanians expect an income rise t...
 
EDITOR CHOICE
Workplace of the Future conference to take place on November 20th at Bucharest

The Diplomat-Bucharest together with Outsourcing Today organize the 3rd Edition of WORKPLACE OF THE FUTURE, on 20th of November 2019, in Bucharest, at Capital Plaza Hotel.

 Read Full article »
Strategic Talent Acquisition at People Empowering Business Forum on October 30 in Bucharest

Latest trends like demographic upheaval, globalization, digital technology, and changing social values and worker expectations, are disrupting business models and radically changing the workplace. These are req

 Read Full article »
Informal IT School and UiPath launch an educational program for RPA development to start in October

Informal IT School announced a partnership with UiPath to launch an RPA development educational program of five months, 100 hours of courses, five days a week. The program will run in Cluj-Napoca.

 Read Full article »
Impact Hub Bucharest joins 3house to manage three coworking spaces in the city

Impact Hub Bucharest, a coworking spaces manager and developer of accelerator programs and events merged with 3house, a new concept of workplace launched in 2018. By this, Impact Hub reaches 3 locations and 6.7

 Read Full article »
JLL: Total office space in Bucharest to reach 3 million sqm

The second quarter of 2019 reconfirmed the increased interest for the office market in Romania. Over 115,000 square meters of office space were leased over this period at the national level, a value similar wit

 Read Full article »
Latest News  
 
about us | newsletter | contact | members area | GDPR policy
Copyright © 2015 by Diplomat Media Events Design by Diplomat Media Events