A small business often can’t afford to hire an in-house technical support team, and hiring an in-house tech support person isn’t always feasible either, depending on the size of your business and the type of product or service you provide.
Fortunately, a number of companies offer outsourced technical support, which means you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to answering questions about your product or service. Before bringing in an outsourced tech support company, here are some things to consider that will help you decide if outsourcing your tech support is right for your business.
What is the meaning of Technical Support Outsourcing?
Also referred to as IT help desk outsourcing, Technical Support Outsourcing is the process of hiring a third-party company to provide all of your customer service and technical support needs.
The outsourced service provider will take over all inbound customer calls for your business, resolving the customer’s problem or providing the necessary information. They’ll also be responsible for email responses and live chat requests from customers.
Reasons to consider Technical Support Outsourcing
Many benefits come with outsourcing tech support services, these include;
In reality, the best technology will be found at the outsourced technical support company because they have invested in their systems and processes. That’s not to say that an in-house team can’t use cutting-edge software, but it will cost more for them to get up to speed on the latest advancements.
Plus, a lot of times, companies need to wait until someone retires or leaves before they’re able to upgrade equipment. You’ll always have access to the newest technologies available without delay by outsourcing your technical support needs.
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The best customer service will be found in an outsourced technical support service because these employees are working at their job full-time. There will be no learning curve for them, so you can expect them to know how to help you solve your problem within minutes.
In-house staff usually have other jobs outside of helping customers, and it can take time to get used to solving a particular issue. Furthermore, if only one or two people are working the front lines of tech support, there may not be enough resources to answer all the calls.
It’s often too difficult for those individuals to answer questions when they don’t have access to information about what happened during previous chats. A third-party partner might seem like a costly expense at first glance, but paying per incident instead of per employee hour can be less expensive than hiring an internal IT staff member outright.
Collaborate with the Experts
When you outsource your technical support needs, you’re not just paying for someone who knows how to fix a computer problem. You’ll have access to experts that can walk you through your issue and explain why certain steps need to be taken.
They can provide feedback about what might be causing a certain issue so that you can create more effective IT policies for your company in general. In addition, this allows current staff members to focus on other aspects of their work since most business owners would rather have knowledgeable employees focusing on making sales or creating new products.
Save more cost
Outsourcing technical support allows businesses to save money while still getting high-quality support. Allowing dedicated specialists to handle tedious tasks frees up staff members from having to attend training sessions, which saves both time and money.
Training new hires for some positions can also become expensive due to the amount of hours put into training them and any lost productivity while they learn their job. Lastly, allowing remote teams means saving costs related to real estate space and utilities such as electricity and water.
Another reason to consider technical support outsourcing is scalability. If your company grows, you won’t have to worry about expanding your in-house staff to accommodate the demand. And even if you lose a couple of people, it won’t affect your ability to service your clients.
This way, you can be confident that you’ll provide excellent support for your customers as they grow and change their demands over time. This can be particularly useful for small to medium-sized companies that don’t have the time or resources to develop their in-house technical support team.
Ensure 24/7 Technical Support
You’ll have access to technical support no matter what time of day. This is great for business owners who want a personal touch but aren’t able to be there when their customers need help.
For example, if your clients are having problems and are waiting for answers during normal business hours, they can be directed to someone who will be available 24/7.
This is especially helpful for companies with customers located in different time zones or in countries where there is a difference in the time.
Achieve a Boost in Performance
Adding in-house support may not be enough. Customers demand fast and immediate responses, which is often impossible for one or two employees to provide on their own. Even if they can, it’ll require a great deal of energy and will likely lead to mistakes and a loss of customer satisfaction.
By outsourcing your technical support needs, you ensure that all issues are addressed quickly and accurately. With a dedicated specialist working on these issues, your staff will be free to focus on their jobs and take care of other responsibilities within the company.
You can reduce costly employee turnover by hiring an outsourced technician full-time instead of having part-time contractors come in periodically.
Drawbacks of Technical Support Outsourcing
Although there are several benefits of outsourcing your tech support, there are some pitfalls you should be aware of before hiring outsourced tech support services. These include;
Outsourced tech support is less able to give in-depth feedback about a company’s software or hardware because they only see the problem from one perspective. A company might have a different perspective on the same issue and could provide more information or insight into what is causing the problem.
In-house tech support is often better able to troubleshoot an issue because they have access to all parts of the product and are not limited by a specific viewpoint or perspective.
Poor quality control
The quality of service can suffer if a company hires an outsourced technical support provider that doesn’t speak their language. The agent may also lack knowledge about the type of product they’re supporting or how it operates.
For example, if someone was having trouble with their TV remote, it would be difficult to fix this problem without knowing how TVs work and what buttons do what functions. Likewise, many computer programs have complicated user interfaces that are difficult for someone unfamiliar with computers to use effectively.
Limited niche technical knowledge
A company that specializes in producing a specific product type will need someone with relevant experience. For example, if a company designs and sells smartphones, it’ll want an outsourced technical support provider familiar with how these devices work.
If their outsourced tech support team isn’t specialized in smartphones, it will be difficult for them to diagnose or fix problems effectively. They’ll also have a hard time finding out why certain features don’t work as expected.
Many companies prefer hiring people within their own organization who specialize in certain areas instead of trying to find someone outside the company with those skills. One advantage of hiring inside staff is that they know how everything works internally and can provide customer support with high levels of expertise.
Steps to outsourcing technical support Successfully
It’s a natural progression from having tech support in-house to contracting with an outsource provider. You get the full benefit of the expertise and best practices that professional firms have developed over time while freeing up your own staff for higher-value work or other tasks. Here are easy steps to take before you make the leap:
Identify your business needs and limitations
The first thing you need to understand is your current business needs. Do you have any special requirements that can’t be addressed by a standard outsourcing provider? If so, you’ll likely want to handle these tasks in-house, at least for now.
In addition, it’s important to assess how much support your business actually needs and how often issues arise. Is there an appropriate level of ongoing service available from a standard provider, or will you need additional resources on hand when problems occur? For example, if you don’t anticipate many incidents requiring more than ten hours of technical support per year, then hiring an outsourced service provider who only provides ten hours’ worth of coverage may not be enough.
Likewise, if your team needs more technical support than is available from a standard provider, then you should start thinking about building out your internal capabilities.
Seek out credibility
The most crucial factor in choosing an outsource provider is credibility. As with any business decision, you must conduct due diligence by checking references and researching carefully before committing. While it’s true that there are unscrupulous companies out there, overall, outsourcing is a highly competitive industry with businesses constantly looking for new clients and ways to stand out from their competition.
Thus, it’s generally not difficult to find credible service providers who can back up their claims with real-world results. Before you hire anyone, be sure to request several references from former customers who can attest to the company’s quality of service.
Once you’ve identified one or two good prospects, ask them detailed questions about their services – such as whether they offer 24/7 customer support and how they handle security concerns – and do some research online. Remember, as always, that buying local may also save money.
Develop your troubleshooting manual
Once you’ve found a credible outsourcing provider, it’s time to develop your troubleshooting manual. This crucial step involves documenting all of your business’s technical issues, with detailed instructions on how to solve them.
For example, if you’re experiencing a slowdown in processing because of inadequate memory, a list of software and hardware can be used in combination. Most importantly, identify what the impact of each solution would be on your bottom line.
These details will help reduce confusion and accelerate problem resolution between both parties. After completing this document, sign off on it with your management team and distribute copies to every member of your IT department.
Get feedback and make adjustments
Lastly, you’ll need to devise a way to regularly measure the success of your outsourcing arrangement. One of the easiest ways to stay in touch is to set up a quarterly meeting with your outsource provider, during which you can share notes and discuss how the relationship is going. Ideally, you’ll be able to share positive updates that show how well your business has been supported and resolved promptly.
This can go a long way towards maintaining good relations and ensuring that you receive excellent support from your partner in future years.
When outsourcing technical support isn’t a good fit
You may wonder when outsourcing technical support isn’t a good fit for your business. However, there are several instances in which outsourcing tech support is not a viable option.
Multichannel is one of the most difficult channels to integrate with an outsourced customer service team. In this situation, it’s recommended that you have an in-house team that can handle all aspects of multichannel interactions.
If you’re interested in scaling this type of customer service operation, hiring or promoting someone internally rather than hiring from the outside and training them is best.
If you’re located remotely from your outsourced provider, the latency between the two parties will inevitably affect the level of service they provide. If latency becomes too high and doesn’t meet expectations, it’s time to find another provider offering better connectivity.
When customers call, their call should never get dropped or go unanswered due to the distance involved. Having a remote company as your provider means that any problems will take longer to resolve because you’ll need to go through additional steps before you can speak with the right person.
If you’re looking for a vendor who can help facilitate collaboration between different departments, such as IT and customer service, it’s best to have an in-house team handle that responsibility.
If communication breaks down between departments, it creates a poor customer experience and forces your customers to go through additional steps—like contacting multiple people or holding on hold longer than they should—to answer their questions. It’s always better to have an in-house team that knows how things work at your company so they can bridge gaps between departments seamlessly.
The Bottom Line
Outsourcing your technical support team can be wise if you cannot keep up with your customer’s demands. Many companies find it more cost-effective to hire a third-party company for their customer service and tech support needs.
You must find a reputable company with experienced staff and strong customer service skills for this transition to go smoothly. When searching for an outsourced technical support company, ensure they have been around for at least five years and have excellent reviews from past clients.