For brands and retailers, customer service is no longer a function, it’s a differentiator, a selling point, and in many cases, it’s a cultural mindset. When customer service is truly part of the organisational culture,¬†why would a business want to outsource that area to an external provider, and more importantly, how can the provider possibly be expected to uphold the culture you’ve developed over a long period of time?

It’s not about the cost

Ok, that’s not strictly true. Outsourcing customer services is often a much more cost effective¬†method of managing the support function. An outsourcer will typically offer a variety of operating models to cater for a retailer’s requirements, from low to high volumes and across multichannel contact methods.

A bureau contact centre for example allows brands and retailers to simply pay by the minute, or by the email handled. This offers a massive cost advantage and almost unlimited flexibility to handle a varied contact volume. On the flip side, where daily contact volumes are well into the 100’s, an outsourcer can provider a dedicated team to manage a campaign efficiently.That’s all very well, but…

It shouldn’t be about the cost

If the aim of outsourcing customer services is purely to reduce cost, then fine, jump straight to the charges page of a proposal, and choose the provider with the lowest cost. However, If your retail business has worked hard to develop a culture of customer service excellence, then why would cost be the driving factor? It’s much more important to find a partner who can maintain, or even improve the overall customer experience, and be real asset to your retail business.

How can an outsourcer really be trusted to nurture a culture of customer service excellence?

Quite simply, if an outsourcer isn’t interested in or capable of providing a first class customer experience, they shouldn’t even receive your invitation to tender. At Spark Response for example, we’ve provided outsourced customer services to countless brands and retailers over our 30 year history. We were there at the start when a leading toy retailer launched online over 12 years ago. In that time we’ve handled hundreds of thousands of customer interactions across various channels, each one with care, consideration, and in the spirit the retailer intended, and continue to do so today.

It’s about culture

The culture of the outsourcer is a great indicator of their suitability. Do they have high staff turnover, like many in the contact centre arena? If so, alarm bells should be ringing. How can you expect to maintain a culture with a constantly revolving workforce? How many clients do they have, and how big is the business? The more clients they have, the less likely they are to be able to nurture the specific cultures of each client accordingly. How long have their clients been with them? A long client tenure symbolises trust, success, and effectiveness. And it’s exactly that which Spark Response offers.

Still think outsourcing customer services is just about reducing cost?