When Should Startups Consider Outsourcing Customer Support?
Startups generally run on lean budgets and make do with minimal resources. This approach gives them an advantage because they find it easy to adapt to dynamic business environments, However, it also puts them at risk during times of quick growth or where there are other upscaling challenges.
Outsourcing may be the answer to this challenge, if companies can recognize when to leverage this asset. In this post, we’ll discuss when startups should consider taking this step.
To Supplement Limited Resources
Once your brand starts to gain traction, you’ll need more assistance with administrative and customer support tasks. Outsourcing offers you a cost-effective way to beef up your team on your terms. You can access trained professionals without undergoing a rigorous recruitment and training process.
Furthermore, the company you partner with will have the software and resources you need to properly communicate with your clients. Therefore, you can save significantly by not purchasing hardware, software, or paying licensing fees.
You’re Undergoing a Period of Rapid Growth
You’re in business because you have a great idea. What happens when the market realizes this too and you suddenly experience overwhelming demand? The short answer is that you need to upscale your operations quickly.
However, considering that means finding the right people in your area, interviewing them, hiring them, and then training them, upscaling your in-house operations can take a while. Partnering with a third-party provider gives you access to the expertise you need when you need it.
Seasonal or Cyclical Demands
Are you a games or software developer? Then you need additional support during peak periods like launch dates. Retailers have to increase their capacity during the holiday season and at other times of the year.
Running an in-house team to meet these demands year-round is an expensive prospect, because you’ll have excess capacity during off-peak periods. By contracting this function out, you can stipulate when you need extra support, and downscale your team during off-peak times.
You Need Specialized Expertise
Do you offer a highly technical product or operate in a niche industry? Then you might want to consider partnering with a company with experience and expertise in your field. This offers clients the level of specialist support they need.
For example, supportyourapp.com offers customer support in general but specializes in supporting tech startups. Their consultants have an IT background that enables them to offer technical support.
You Need to Focus on Your Business
Initially, it’s exhilarating to hear that phone ring and realize that people are genuinely interested in your company. However, when the calls start coming in thick and fast, they’re a distraction you can ill-afford.
Handing over customer support allows you to concentrate on face-to-face service and activities that are critical for generating revenue.
Better Cost Efficiency
It seems crazy, but it’s usually cheaper to outsource support than run an in-house team. However, when you think about it, it makes sense. When you’re running an in-house team, you have to worry about more than just your employees’ wages. You have a range of anciliary expenses to contend with.
- Housing and equipping the team,
- Employee benefits like retirement and medical funds,
- Training consultants,
- Building in redundancies for sick and annual leave,
- Managing the team,
- And a host of other small related costs such as utilities and stationary.
Furthermore, many of the providers today operate in countries where the cost of living is lower than in the United States. This reduces their overheads allowing them to provide a competitive pricing model.
Access to Advanced Insights
Customer support companies today need to keep track of a range of metrics to ensure they’re delivering the best possible service. They use robust CRM systems to properly coordinate their efforts and this benefits you.
They may foot the bill for these systems, but you’ll generally have access to the insights they derive. Most reputable companies will allow you to access a range of reports like call answer times, call logs, and other interesting information to assess service quality. These also give you valuable insights into your customers.
Most companies today operate across several regions. Even if your startup focuses on one particular geographic region, you’re bound to have customers who speak different languages in your base.
Multilingual support is currently nice to have, which means that offering it can provide you with a competitive advantage. Not only can you impress your customers by talking to them in their own language, but you also reduce the risk of misunderstandings due to language barriers.
You Want Quality Assurance
You’re the best at what you do because you know your industry well and you want to come out on top. The same applies to support companies. They put their consultants through rigorous training programs and implement systems to consistently monitor service levels. As long as you choose an established provider with a good reputation, you’ll get great service.
By outsourcing, you can transfer some business risks like staff turnover and downtime to your service provider. That said, you must ensure that your provider is fully compliant with their local regulations and your own.
You also have to ensure that their cybersecurity protocols are on a par with or better than your own.
Are you considering expanding into a new market? Perhaps, for example, you want to launch your software in Europe. Do you know what the local norms and customs are? What about the operating requirements?
In such cases, choosing an outsourcer based in the region can work to your advantage. They can help your company assimilate better.
Outsourcing support has many advantages for startups. However, you must be careful about who you partner with. You’ll need to research the potential companies carefully before signing up with any, because ultimately they become an extension of your brand.
Therefore, it’s important to find a firm that matches your business ideals, culture, and brand values.