Outsourcing Ecommerce Customer Service
Outsourcing eCommerce customer service can be frustrating. If you’re not careful, you could end up spending thousands of dollars on an overseas call center, only to find out that you still have to handle the most difficult and time-consuming calls yourself. But you don’t have to give up your valuable time to answer questions about why the color of an item isn’t right or why there was no tracking information in the shipment notice because you can outsource eCommerce customer service by following these simple steps.
Step 1: Identify the Outsourcing Options
To outsource eCommerce customer service, you’ll have a few options. You can either hire an agency that specializes in eCommerce customer management or use an independent contractor who will work for you on an as-needed basis. Before selecting your outsourcing partner, be sure to look at their sample works and see how they handle similar situations.
Remember that outsourcing isn’t a quick fix. You’ll still need to manage your business, but delegating tasks like customer support can help you reduce costs and spend time on other priorities, such as marketing.
Consider customer service quality as well. Although saving money is important, you don’t want to sacrifice your business’s reputation by outsourcing poor-quality work. Outsourcing eCommerce customer service can help increase efficiency and lower costs in other areas of your business without compromising your customers’ satisfaction.
Step 2: Define your criteria
The best place to start is with your customer service expectations. How do you plan on training your outsourced staff (in-house or abroad)? What’s a good ratio of response time, resolution rate, and touchpoints per customer that you’ll accept? For your remote associates to follow in-house procedures properly and give each customer an authentic experience, they need clearly defined guidelines. Outsourcing your eCommerce customer service may be beneficial if you want another set of eyes monitoring online activity.
Define your outsourcing expectations by rating potential candidates on how well they match your criteria. For example, if you want response times under 12 hours, for resolutions in 24 hours or less, and for touchpoints with each customer to average 3-5 emails/calls per order (so you’re following up on late orders), evaluate candidates accordingly. This will ensure that customers aren’t left hanging, communication from you is consistent across all channels and representatives, and everyone follows the protocol as expected.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be involved in every conversation with a customer. But you should have oversight into how new accounts are opened, how accounts are trained, and how eCommerce customer service works on an ongoing basis. That way, when customers do reach out via email or chat support, your outsourced staff can quickly get up to speed and resolve issues or refer them to an associate for further assistance as needed.
Step 3: Find a suitable provider
Once you’ve found a niche of your own, it’s time to find a suitable provider. Remember that speed and attention are critical when you’re dealing with online outsource eCommerce customer service providers. Find someone who understands your needs and has time for small projects like yours.
Create a private eCommerce site for testing: Depending on your budget, you can also hire an employee or freelancer to set up a private eCommerce store just for testing purposes.
When outsourcing eCommerce customer service, your main goal is to get fast, high-quality help and attention. This means that paying a little extra for testing on a small project like yours can help prevent serious mistakes down the road. You’ll be able to see whether or not your provider understands what you need, plus it gives you a chance to evaluate their communication skills before investing too much in them.
Take a look at each provider’s portfolio: Once you have found your prospective eCommerce help and support agents, it’s time to evaluate them. Take a look at their portfolio of work and see if you find any similarities between their style and your own. Remember that when working with eCommerce outsourcing, you want someone who can not only offer high-quality help but can do so in a way that’s consistent with your brand image.
Step 4: Determine ROI for outsourcing solutions
An ROI analysis is helpful for you to understand your revenue, profit, and customer service by using a process of elimination. You will be able to eliminate any potential risk or issue that may arise with an outsource provider for support or maintenance. It’s important to perform research on eCommerce providers and understand their support level and qualifications before committing any resources. Make sure to get references from multiple companies that have used their services.
Your eCommerce business will have a positive ROI when you consider your revenue, profit, and net profit. When performing an ROI analysis, you will also have to look at additional factors that could cause financial loss such as outsourcing providers. By thoroughly evaluating all of these aspects, you can make sure that your eCommerce platform has a positive return on investment.
The outsourcing services you choose may also include additional features that are beneficial for your business but do not directly affect your ROI. Additional features such as live chat support and order management can be nice benefits for customers, but you must remember these extra benefits don’t directly correlate with revenue or profit. To run a profitable eCommerce business, it’s important to focus on factors like an increase in revenue and net profit by reducing expenses.
A few additional factors that can increase your ROI are using eCommerce platforms with a built-in live chat feature and using your advertising sources such as social media or PPC. These types of features can decrease your overhead by cutting costs on things like customer service, while also increasing profit through increased revenue. However, even though these features are not directly related to cost savings and revenue increase, they can still affect how you determine an ROI analysis for outsourcing.
Step 5: Start outsourcing and track results
Some of your customer service agents will be able to handle questions and concerns that come up on social media, while others can respond more quickly if they’re focused on replying directly to customers via email. Choose which types of support you want to be handled by your remote team and what level of service you’d like them to provide. Even though you’ll be outsourcing, continue tracking results—even from afar.
This will help you see how your customer service agents are responding. For example, if customers are still having problems with their orders, it’s an indicator that training is needed. Be transparent with your outsourced customer service teams and let them know why you need these tracking results so they can adjust accordingly.
Consider adding a review process as part of your tracking results. If you’re going to have teams work remotely, you must check in on how things are going once every week or two. Look at tracking results and then meet with each team individually to discuss what’s working and what needs improvement. This ensures you can keep your outsourcing relationship on track while also making sure your customers continue receiving a stellar customer experience.
Before you outsource, remember that customer service is a constant process of monitoring results, assessing what’s working and what isn’t, making adjustments, and then repeating. Don’t skip any steps in your outsourcing process!
Outsourcing results can be an incredibly effective way of delivering customer service at a lower cost. When done right, outsourcing can also provide you with new insights into your business and customers. If you’re considering outsourcing some of your eCommerce customer services, it is well worth researching how other companies have handled such tasks to get a better idea of what types of services they might need to succeed.
The customer experience is vital in any business today, and because of that, you’ll want to invest in research and development. The way your customers feel about their experiences with your brand will often lead directly to more money in your coffers. That’s why finding reliable eCommerce outsourcing solutions can be so important—for every dollar, you spend on such services, you’ll likely see a decent return.
Investing in customer service is essential, especially when it comes to your eCommerce business. Customers are far more demanding than ever before, and their expectations can often be hard to meet—especially if you’re a startup. As such, you’ll want to ensure that you have someone on hand who can handle those needs promptly, or at least give them what they need for them to feel satisfied.