If you run a support organization and have struggled with the pains of recruiting, training, scheduling, managing and retaining your team, the idea of using external agents has probably crossed your mind.
It would be great, after all, to re-focus some of that management overhead on the more strategic aspects of improving your customer journey, right? There are thousands of business process outsourcers (BPOs) and contact centers across the globe who do exactly that by making it their business to provide companies with external support capacity.
So, why doesn’t every customer service leader use BPOs to some extent or another?
Well, we’ve spoken to a lot of customer service executives about this topic and found a few common themes among their answers that we wanted to share and discuss.
Concern 1: My business is too complex or regulated
Whether it’s because the business model is unique, because agents are expected to navigate proprietary or complex back-end systems, or because agents are required to have technical expertise to troubleshoot customer issues, support leaders may think that only internal agents could possess the knowledge to handle their tickets.
“Our business is too complicated” is probably the most commonly used reason managers cite about their decision to solely staff internally.
But, is it really?
As Harvard Business Review writes,
“It’s easy to confuse the merely complicated with the genuinely complex.
Complicated systems have many moving parts, but they operate in patterned ways. The electrical grid that powers the light is complicated: There are many possible interactions within it, but they usually follow a pattern. It’s possible to make accurate predictions about how a complicated system will behave.
Complex systems, by contrast, are imbued with features that may operate in patterned ways but whose interactions are continually changing.”
The distinction between complication and complexity is important because it’s likely that most businesses are complicated, not complex; while there may be many systems and processes in the organization, the interactions of those systems are usually predictable which means they can be taught to others with a reasonable degree of confidence.
The reality is that agents working for BPOs are some of the best-of-the-best and up to the challenge to learn new skills or processes as internal agents are. ArenaCX’s contact center partners work for companies in some of the most complex, fast-changing and regulated industries like technology, telecom, consumer electronics, and financial services and are adept at handling technical cases for them.
In fact, one of ArenaCX’s customers uses external agents to handle over 95% of their tickets and the types of tickets handled by agents at our BPO partners include troubleshooting software issues, hardware issues, network issues, app issues, and general account issues.
As the adage says, “there is a lid for every pot”; The ArenaCX team will work with you to find a BPO that has the technical and industry-specific experience to meet your particular needs.
Concern 2: My business is changing too quickly to be documented, requiring internal know-how
Working at a fast-growing company can be so exciting – new customers are being won, new employees joining the company, and every day is different and bringing you closer to a new milestone.
It can also bring about a lot of operational challenges: outgrown systems and processes, communication gaps, and resource strains.
One of the other symptoms often plaguing fast-growing companies, start-ups and complex and growing organizations is insufficient record keeping, especially as it relates to internal systems and development.
This problem is especially acute for those companies that would love to be able to outsource some or all of their support function, but don’t have up-to-date materials that could be used by external agents to train on the business.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, ArenaCX can help. We have member BPOs who specialize in training and development and can take whatever informal documents you do have (meeting recordings or notes, lectures, email blasts, blog posts, etc.) to develop a Knowledge Base for you, which you can then use to expedite training of future agents – internal or external.
Furthermore, ArenaCX has many partners in its network that are well-versed in Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) and can make adding and editing Knowledge Base articles a part of them working a ticket. This is how one of our customers went from approximately 300 articles to over 4,500 in a span of just 12 months.
Concern 3: Nobody can represent our brand as well as we can
As a business leader, you know that your reputation is one of the most valuable assets you have. Which is why it’s not surprising to us here at ArenaCX that some support leaders may be worried about the risk to their brand they would be taking by using external agents who haven’t been steeped in the company culture.
This was the fear one of our customers, Republic Wireless, had before they began working with ArenaCX’s network of BPO partners; their customer support team was the lifeblood of the connection between themselves and their members, and they were worried that when some of that responsibility left the proverbial building the end customer would suffer.
Republic Wireless wanted a way to safely test out BPOs before committing significant volume to them. Using ArenaCX’s volume-gating functionality, Republic Wireless started by only sending specific types of tickets externally.
Ultimately, Republic Wireless was able to prove that those external teams could match or exceed the customer satisfaction scores internal teams were achieving using ArenaCX’s dashboarding capabilities that enable support leaders to view agent and team performance in real-time.
As a result, Republic Wireless found that external agents could perform the same quality of work as internal agents, at significantly less cost and management overhead.
Moving to outsourcers has not impeded Republic Wireless’s customer-first mentality: the company was included in Forbes list of the Most Customer-Centric Companies in 2019.
The reality is that dedicated external agents can represent your brand just as well as internal agents. After all, whatever training you put your internal agents through, you can put your BPO partners through.
When you use ArenaCX, you have added peace of mind that your customers are getting the top-notch support they deserve. The routing functionality in ArenaCX’s software makes managing your agent network in real time extremely easy. If any agents in your network experience a drop in performance, their case volume will be immediately re-routed to better-performing agents. You, of course, have visibility into all agent performance in your management portal.
Why would you outsource?
There are a number of reasons why companies may consider outsourcing.
Perhaps they are a fast-growing start-up that needs to focus scare resources on developing and selling the product or service not the routine management of support, or perhaps they are an established business that struggles staffing for contact volume spikes or lulls and wants to break out of the seasonal routine of hiring and training temporary workers to only let them go after the peak season has ended.
Some businesses also might be interested in using external agents to extend their coverage hours or test out new support channels.
Getting started with outsourcing
ArenaCX is the natural place to start if you’re considering outsourcing, or already engage with BPOs and want to better align your BPO’s performance to your business goals.
ArenaCX is a contact center marketplace where BPOs compete to better serve your customers. Our partners are vetted, ready-to-onboard, and incentivized to deliver the results that matter to your business.
Partners in our network are typically compensated on a per-ticket basis and require no agent commitments.
If you’re thinking about outsourcing and want to learn more about how ArenaCX can help you, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page.