Customer service is simply the support an organisation offers its customers before and after buying a product. It should enable the customers have an easy and pleasant experience with the organisation and it is surely the promise company brand makes to the customer.

Based on price or brand, in the past, customers chose which companies they did business with or buy products or service, but today the overall experience has changed significantly. Gartner (2014) reports that 89% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. The report adds customer support and experience the product offers has become the major drive, but only if the particular organisation expand the role of support team beyond the conventional line.

The trend

At present internet, social media and mobile consumers have grown and customer expectations have increased accordingly. Literally, eMarketer (2015) states, 82% of CEOs reported that customer expectations are now higher than they were few years ago. And customers share negative or positive experiences online quickly.

Keeping this in mind organisations must realise customer service has become part of the product itself and should have a strategy to support customers through every available channel instantly. Answering the trend many companies employ or seek assistant of support agents to go extra mile with customer service to benefit. For example: outsourcing services such as Helpdesk makes it easier for organisations to up-sell or cross-sell relevant products or services. The strategy can create winning experiences that help organisations stand out from the competition.

Smart business

It’s often true and cheaper for business organisations to keep existing customers than to find new ones. Bad customer service always leads to bad reputation. It claims 68% of customers leave because they’re upset with the treatment they’ve received and 86% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience according to U.S. Small Business Administration (2011). The report explains focusing on the customer experience is smart business. Making every touch-point valuable and making the experience interesting increase profits and lead to gain customer loyalty.

Outsource

Outsourcing service industry has a tremendous growth according to the present market data. Global Outsourcing In-sourcing Survey report (2014) reveals outsourcing as a strategy improves customer service, support business growth and help growth across all channels such as email, social media etc. Results of 2013 Global Contact Centre survey shows 85% of organisations currently support multi-channel customer service capabilities. In the meantime,  Harvard Business Review (2011) says, it believes generally there are two key reasons for customer service outsourcing to increase. First, outsourcing can save money and improve quality. Second, outsourcing can provide increasingly critical expertise that many companies lack such as customer database management and analysis.

Challenges 

A few years ago, GartnerGroup (2014) explained “customer service concept is now moving ownership of the customer up to the enterprise level and away from individual departments”. The White Paper further explains, the first obstacle many organisations face is the lack of a well-defined customer service strategy that is clearly tied to its business strategy. When service strategy is clear the organisation understands what it needs to do to improve customer support, service and information.Then it is often in a better position to make decisions on whether to outsource.

The strategy

Meanwhile,  Kartik , Tarun et al (2013) express, customer service strategy is ultimately an organisational road map connecting business strategy, business processes and supporting technologies. This strategy must target basically how the organisation wants to treat and interact with its customers through its channels such as Web and Contact Centres. It also should focus on earning profits by improving how well customers are treated. This approach can easily segment customers and how they can be treated uniquely depending on their preferences. And this enables the companies to re-engineering their business processes sometimes enabling self-service options online for customers.

Questions 

Current economic drive have changed business priorities and place customer satisfaction at the top of the list according to Research Gate White Paper (2013). In view of this, it reveals, for any company, the decision to outsource starts with its own assessment of a company’s core capabilities versus those of an experienced services provider. The questions to answer are:

  • Can the service provider deliver the systems and services better, faster, cheaper and with less risk?
  • Does the company have the talent, experience, project management, business process management, application, implementation and systems skills required to get this done right?
  • Does the service provider bring any extra value to the transaction that organisation do not have or build?
  • Does the company have the ability to select a service provider, put together a contract and effectively manage the delivery of services to the business?

Conclusion

Information technology and the globalisation of labour markets have increased the potential for outsourcing a wide range of customer service business processes. This involves direct interpersonal or technology-based interaction between the firm and its customers at the customer front. However, outsourcing projects will require tangible benefits to customers as well as to the organisations. And as mentioned, in order to succeed in outsourcing business, the organisation primarily must make sure that they have a meaningful service strategy on proposal.