Outsource Live Chat Operators: A Complete Guide for Businesses
The most important thing to know about outsourcing live chat operators is that it saves your business money and saves you time. Many businesses are turning to outsource live chat operators because they know that the human touch can provide better customer service than a machine ever could.
What is live chat support
Customer experience is a central focus for many companies today. And with a rapid rate of digital transformation across industries, thanks to the pandemic, organisations are making more efforts to reach consumers in difference platforms, expanding their customer service teams by outsourcing live chat operators.
Research by a software provider showed that 79% of businesses felt a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty when they started to offer live chat support. Moreover, 38% of surveyed customers said they are more likely to buy from a company that offers live chat support on their website or mobile app.
Some of the top industries that use live chat support today include travel and accommodation, real estate, healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, banking, and e-commerce. Even government institutions in different corners of the world have adapted live chat support solutions to improve the satisfaction among their constituents.
The benefits of live chat support
Improved customer experience
Customers get high satisfaction with quick, in-depth, and media-supported answers through live chat.
Increased customer engagement
Because live chat allows for easy access, customers tend to engage more for queries and feedback.
Improved productivity for customer service agents
Digital tools allow agents to juggle a few live chat queries at once with less difficulty and more efficiency.
Better customer relationships
Live chat allows agents to build rapport with customers to boost customer relationships and loyalty.
Capture real-time customer feedback
Customers can provide detailed feedback to your product in real-time, allowing you to act on it faster.
Live chat support is a customer service channel, which is usually embedded on a company’s website, where outsourced live chat operators can have real-time, back-and-forth conversations with the clients. It is an instant messaging platform built specifically for an organisation to connect them with their customers around the globe.
Making the overall customer service process more seamless, live chat support uses software that allows the company to integrate their knowledge base into the system, making it easy for outsourced live chat operators to quickly look for proper responses and proper escalation channels. It is also a multimedia channel that allows agents and customers to share photos and videos, something that phone conversations can’t do.
Unlike conversations on social media chat boxes, live chat support automatically opens a ticket once an agent touches base with a customer, closing it only once the issue is resolved. It uses a sessions-based solution, meaning once the ticket is closed, conversation history will be archived internally and wiped out from the customer’s end.
Most companies integrate live chat support on their website, usually hovering on the bottom right corner. However, depending on the goal, other businesses choose to integrate live chat support into their mobile apps, making their customer service accessible for their clients who prefer to use desktop, laptop, or mobile as their main channel.
Why outsource live chat support
Live chat support can do wonders for any company in this age of rapid digital transformation but building one from scratch can be a daunting task, especially for businesses that are either just starting up or looking to expand faster. Aside from looking for the right people for the job, the infrastructure and technology needed to build a live chat support team can be a real challenge.
The smarter option for most businesses is outsourcing live chat support. Partnering with a third-party live chat support provider allows businesses to create a team that is backed by solid infrastructure and technology and ready to perform. Here are some of the top reasons why businesses are outsourcing live chat to trusted providers.
1. Access to international talent
With a global talent shortage at hand, finding agents locally for your live chat support team can be challenging, let alone finding ones who can fit to your company’s culture. Outsourcing allows you to tap into the global talent pool that providers maintain. Outsourcing providers have deep connections in the market that allows them to find qualified and certified talent.
In fact, outsourcing providers specialise in rummaging through a deep talent pool to find the right ones that fit your exact requirements. If you want to build a live chat support team that can quickly understand your business goals and adapt to your company’s culture, outsourcing will definitely be a big help.
2. Access to technology and infrastructure
Outsourcing providers not only allow you to access talent, but they also allow you to use the latest technology and infrastructure for live chat support operations. Outsourcing firms, especially the ones offshore, offer ultramodern infrastructure equipped with enterprise-grade technology and security to house your team.
Many outsourcing providers even allow you to create your own live chat platforms with their own team of developers. Building your own platform from scratch can be costly, but having an outsourcing partner allows you to take advantage of their team of developers to make sure your live chat support operations are always up to date.
3. Tailor-fit solutions
Modern outsourcing models allow you to get tailor-fit live chat support solutions. This means outsourcing providers can provide exact solutions for specific pain points. For example, if you need to outsource live chat operators with advanced knowledge of specific software or platforms that your company uses, the provider can find these people for you.
Moreover, some of the most reputable outsourcing providers will allow you to customise down to the smallest detail, like office branding, dedicated board rooms, specialised training, staff management solutions, and more. This allows you to have full control over your offshore team from the comfort of your own homebase. It is like having an extension of your office abroad.
4. Gain 24/7 capability
Because the nature of live chat support is often instant response, companies would often want to build a team capable of 24/7 operations. By outsourcing live support operators to the other side of the globe, companies can take advantage of their offshore team’s time zone to allow for round-the-clock live chat support operations.
Many companies with in-house live chat support teams leverage offshore outsource to countries like the Philippines to gain 24/7 capabilities. In this case, when the local live chat support team clocks out, the offshore team takes over their duties until the in-house staff comes again the next morning. Having 24/7 capabilities allows you to improve response time and boost the chances of sales conversion.
5. Increased conversion rates
Research shows that live chat can generate up to 5 times more conversions, with a higher rate of buying frequency when a customer interacts with a real person, instead of a chatbot. With an outsourced live chat support team fully equipped and ready to assist your customers 24/7, you increase your sales conversion rates.
The better benefit here is that you increase sales conversion while having the luxury to let your in-house staff focus on core business operations, strategising, and improving the quality of your products and services. Having an outsourcing partner means you let a team of experts handle customer service while you do the thing you do best – to grow your business.
6. Savings and cost-efficiency
Partnering with an outsourcing provider allows you to get a packaged offer. You get a whole team, an office, and all the technology and security support at a much lower cost. This is because providers source talent from countries with way lower labour costs, like the Philippines, allowing you to have up to 70% savings in overhead costs.
Claims that outsourcing is only good for big businesses are inaccurate. In fact, an effective way for startups, small, and medium-sized businesses to gain a competitive edge in a market full of big-time players is to tap the help of outsourcing providers. By outsourcing, you get quality talent, access to technology, and huge savings all at once.
Is it the right time to outsource live chat support?
There is always a right time for everything, and that does not exempt outsourcing. Some companies can do well on their own, while many would need to outsource parts of their business process. The question is, when can you say that it is the right time for you to engage an outsourcing provider? Here are some of the signs that will tell you that you need to consider outsourcing live chat support.
1. When managing a big customer support team becomes difficult
Even if you can build a live chat support team from scratch, managing one can be difficult. First, the budget needed to keep your support team productive can steep. Second, there is a certain level of expertise needed to train and keep the live chat support team at part with international and industry standards. Both problems can be solved by outsourcing.
2. When you lack the resources for infrastructure and technology
Building a live chat support operators team also means you also need to have the latest equipment, software, data management platforms, and IT infrastructure to ensure everything is running smooth and secure. Building this alone can be costly, but outsourcing has ready-made and customisable solutions to equip your live chat operations at a lower cost.
3. When you need to go 24/7 with customer service
Either because of a desire to gain competitive edge or to just meet increasing demands, more companies are acknowledging the importance of having a 24/7 customer service operations in this digital age. Whatever your reason or goal is, outsourcing can boost your customer service capacity and turn it into a 24/7 global operations.
4. When you need to expand an existing customer serviced team
Some companies need to expand customer service operations because of a seasonal surge in queries. Some need to expand to reach new customer demographics. Whatever the case maybe, modern outsourcing models allow businesses to access plug and play staffing solutions and allow them to scale up and down at will, depending on their needs.
5. When you need to focus on core business operations
There will always be that crucial point in the growth of a business where the core team needs to focus on matters that have a direct impact on the company’s success. Since customer service, particularly live chat support, needs a certain level of expertise which can be outside business lines, outsourcing it to experts is the most logical way to get all the focus you need.
In-house vs outsourced live chat
There have been debates about the pros and cons of outsourcing live chat support, as opposed to just having an in-house team do the job for you. Some say keeping live chat support in-house is safe and better, while many point out to the cost-efficiency of outsourcing this business process. In truth, it is less about which one is better, but more of which one fits your business most.
Here are some of the advantages of both in-house and outsourced live chat support:
In reality, latest technological advancements already allow outsourcing to provide certain benefits of in-house live chat support. First, the knowledge base of a product can be integrated into a cloud-based software that can be easily access by authorised agents no matter where they are. Brand integration of offshore support teams are also included in training packages offered by outsourcing providers.
Data management platforms also allow businesses to monitor the whole support operations in real time, allowing the core team to act on them swiftly. Companies can also have on-ground managers to make sure everything is working smoothly. Moreover, modern outsourcing models offer enterprise-grade solutions that protect the company’s data and information from any cyber threats.
How do you find the right outsourcing provider for live chat operators?
In the end, reaping the full benefits of outsourcing will depend on finding the right provider that can solve your specific pain points and allow you to get full control over your offshore operations. But in a time when there are many outsourcing firms all over the globe offering their services to you, how do you find the one that fits your company’s goals?
First and foremost, you have to look for an outsourcing provider that complies with international standards. Look for partners that have ISO, DPA, PCI DSS, GDRP certifications, which are usually signs that they are safe to work with because they are up to date with the latest international IT security standards.
Second, find a partner that has a good track record. Look at their clients and see whether the services they provide fit yours. Look at the review of their staff in employment platforms, like Glassdoor, because it will give you a glimpse of how they will treat your team. Outsourcing providers that can give you an independent review of their operations are most likely one of the best ones out there.
To help you find the right partner, here are some questions you can ask to an outsourcing provider upfront:
2. How many clients have you managed with your current headcount?
3. What is your existing client satisfaction rate?
4. Do you have an independent audit of your operations that we can look at?
5. Do you provide customised live chat operator training for your clients?
6. Can you provide talent who knows the software and processes we use?
7. What kind of workspace will my offshore team have?
8. Do you have remote or hybrid work solutions?
9. How do we measure my offshore team’s performance?
10. Which metrics are important to look at when it comes to operator performance?
11. How frequent can we get performance and customer service reports?
13. Can help us build our own personalised live chat support platform?
14. How do you make sure our data is safe and secure?
15. Do we have access to all the chat history with our customers?
16. What kind of physical and information security does your company provide?
17. How can we help source talent faster?
18. Do you offer 24/7 solutions, given my time zone?
19. Do you offer customised packages for your clients?
20. Can we have a full breakdown of the cost?
21. How does the onboarding process work?
Asking the right questions is important for you to determine if you are engaging the best outsourcing provider for live chat operators for your business. It is also equally important to be transparent with your outsourcing partner, especially when it comes to your pain points. The quality of solutions an outsourcing firm can provide will depend on how detailed you can go with the problems you need to solve.