Is bad service costing your business dearly? According to research by PWC, brands may no longer rely on customer loyalty to save them. 32% of consumers don’t give brands a second chance after just one bad service experience.
Providing excellent service is no longer the fad of the day; it’s essential to brand survival. Companies must focus on solutions that enhance the customer experience at every service point.
Small businesses are in a unique position. They’re able to adjust to changing market conditions and provide the support that large firms cannot match. Where they often experience difficulties is when their customer base expands.
It’s a catch-22 situation. Companies are no longer able to provide the same level of service because they’ve acquired many clients. At the same time, they must continue to increase their customer base to create a sustainable business.
Call center solutions for small business promise to make the process seamless, but are they cost-effective? To find out, we researched the call center options available to small businesses. Using the BPO provider’s services as a baseline, we’ve summed up our findings in this article.
Call Center Solutions for Small Business
In-House Call Centers
In-house service centers are a more traditional business approach. The primary advantage of this option is that the firm controls every service aspect of the interaction. For firms on a limited budget, this may also become one of the main disadvantages as it increases the expense.
Many small businesses view an in-house service center as out of reach. These firms seldom have the resources to devote to infrastructural upgrades, increased staffing costs, and ongoing maintenance.
Outsourced Call Centers
Outsourcing has become a more popular option over the last few years. The model has several potential benefits, including:
- Access to a Team Trained in Customer Service Delivery: The most critical advantage is access to specialist consultants. According to Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service Report, 55% of clients have increasing service delivery expectations year-on-year. Specialist providers are an increasingly popular way of filling the service gap.
- Lower Consultant Costs: The cost of manning the call center transfers to the outsourcing firm. They’re responsible for all consultant salaries, benefits, and training.
- Access to 24/7 Support: Not all customers are able to get in touch during regular office hours. For these consumers, around-the-clock helpline proves convenient.
- Multi-Lingual Support: For companies expanding into overseas markets, providing support in the customer’s home language builds relationships. Clients are more easily able to explain their problems and understand the solution, reducing frustration.
- Improves Scalability: BPO providers give companies more flexibility to manage peak and off-peak call volumes more effectively. Outsourcing allows them to scale their operations up or down more simply.
Is Outsourcing More Cost-Effective?
In a straight comparison, in-house call centers are more expensive than outsourcing. However, small businesses are often loath to take on the additional expense of providing a dedicated call center at all.
Some prefer instead to route calls to whoever is available. Cost-cutting, in this manner, is not as effective as it seems. Microsoft listed two primary frustrations clients had when dealing with support as:
- Consultants not being able to resolve their queries
- Having to repeat the information more than once
When businesses have a policy of fielding calls to whoever is in the office, clients may face both frustrations. There is also an increased likelihood of them facing variable service levels.
Office workers answering the phones have other tasks to focus on, meaning they may not provide the courteous and efficient service the client deserves. Calls may go unanswered, or the staff may forget to follow up on their promises.
Additionally, every call interrupts the employee’s focus. With a high call volume, these interruptions cause a drop in overall productivity.
A dedicated call center of either type leads to improved customer service, productivity, and employee satisfaction.
Wrapping it Up
When call volumes start to become too much for firms to handle, they should provide clients with a dedicated call center. Companies will have to choose between creating an in-house center or outsourcing the function.
The latter provides small businesses with a cost-effective, scalable solution and the expertise that they require quickly. Partnering with a good customer support company makes the most sense from a business standpoint.