Mastering Frictionless Customer Service with Outsourcing Partners | WOW24-7
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Mastering Frictionless Customer Service with Outsourcing Partners

Byline: This article is based on an interview with Patrick Martin, the EVP of Global Customer Experience at Coveo, who has over 25 years of experience in services and support.

Introduction

Outsourcing has become common for many companies looking to streamline their operations and reduce costs. Over 70% of companies outsource their customer experience to external agents. While outsourcing can offer numerous benefits, such as access to specialized skills and increased flexibility, it also presents challenges when maintaining a seamless and frictionless customer experience. This article will explore key considerations and strategies for ensuring a consistent customer experience in an outsourced environment.

Onboarding And Brand Representation

When outsourcing customer experience, it is vital to have a robust onboarding program for the external agents. These agents become an extension of the brand and should represent the company’s values and beliefs. Customers should feel like they are interacting with the company itself rather than a third-party service provider.

Patrick Martin, a customer experience expert, emphasizes the importance of onboarding in maintaining a seamless customer experience. He suggests that outsourced agents should share the same values and beliefs as the company. Agents can effectively communicate the company’s message and build customer trust by aligning their mindset with the brand.

Martin also highlights the significance of integrating outsourced agents into the company’s culture. Having them sit in one of the company’s offices allows them to interact with various departments, such as R&D and customer success. This integration fosters a sense of unity and ensures that outsourced agents have a comprehensive understanding of the company’s products, services, and goals.

“You want them to be representative of your brand. You want them to share their values. You want them to have the same beliefs. So that when they’re talking to customers, the customers have a feeling that they’re talking to your company or that they’re interacting with your company.” – Patrick Martin

System Integration For A Seamless Customer Journey

System integration is another critical aspect of maintaining a frictionless customer experience in an outsourced environment. If the outsourced agents use systems different from those of the in-house teams, it can lead to a cohesive customer journey. Customers may feel like they are dealing with two companies, resulting in frustration and a lack of trust.

To address this challenge, Martin suggests establishing tight integration points between the company’s systems and those outsourced agents use. This integration ensures that customer information captured during self-service interactions is seamlessly transferred to the outsourced agents. Agents can pick up the conversation where it left off by accessing the same data, providing a consistent and personalized experience.

“If the outsourcer or the outsourcing company is not using the same systems as you are, you need to have a very tight integration point with them… If that information doesn’t carry over to your outsourcer, how can they pick up the conversation where they left off? It will continue to be a disjointed journey.” – Patrick Martin

Ideally, both in-house and outsourced teams should use the same ticketing systems, live chat platforms, and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. This alignment minimizes complexity and ensures a seamless flow of information between teams. However, if using the same systems is not feasible, finding ways to integrate and synchronize data becomes crucial for maintaining a frictionless customer experience.

Overcoming Complexity And Perception Challenges

Outsourcing often involves leveraging low-cost locations, which can introduce additional complexity and challenges. Customers may perceive a difference in service quality when interacting with outsourced agents, leading to a negative perception of the company. Companies must take proactive measures to overcome these challenges to ensure a consistent customer experience.

Martin advises against using generic names for outsourced agents and instead encourages allowing them to use their real names. Customers can see through artificial attempts to hide the outsourcing arrangement, and using real names helps build trust and authenticity. By embracing transparency, companies can bridge the gap between in-house and outsourced teams, creating a unified customer experience.

“Don’t have them call themselves John and Sophie and just let them be themselves because customers can see through it.” – Patrick Martin

Additionally, companies should consider providing training and shadowing opportunities for outsourced agents. This allows them to gain firsthand experience and knowledge about the company’s products, services, and processes. Outsourced agents can better understand the brand and deliver a more consistent customer experience by immersing themselves in the company’s culture.

Recap And Insights

Maintaining a frictionless customer experience in an outsourced environment requires careful consideration of onboarding, system integration, and perception challenges. Companies can create a seamless extension of their brand by ensuring that outsourced agents align with the company’s values and beliefs. Integrating systems and tools between in-house and outsourced teams enables a smooth transition between self-service and assisted support, preventing disjointed customer journeys. Finally, embracing transparency and providing training opportunities can bridge the perception gap between in-house and outsourced agents, fostering a unified customer experience.

While outsourcing customer experience presents challenges, companies can overcome them by implementing robust onboarding programs, integrating systems, and embracing transparency. By prioritizing a seamless and frictionless customer experience, companies can maintain customer trust, loyalty, and satisfaction, regardless of whether the interaction is with an in-house or outsourced agent.

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