Top Reasons Why More E-commerce Firms Add Outsourcing to Their Carts
In an era where people can order from their couches, why would a business outsource e-commerce customer service?
The latest data from Statistica show that e-commerce sales reached $4.9 trillion worldwide in 2021 and are projected to grow by 50 percent in the next 4 years. The long-heralded marriage of technology and retail has produced some of the top global companies that we know today, such as eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba.
With more businesses embracing digital transformation in a post-COVID 19 world, the future of e-commerce is packed with endless possibilities.
With all the progress in the industry, many companies have begun to outsource e-commerce customer service, leveraging global talent and existing technologies to elevate customer experience and gain a competitive edge. Even small and medium businesses have found outsourcing reliable as they look to level the playing field in the industry.
Customer service outsourcing is the process where an e-commerce company delegates some customer support functions to a third-party provider. A business may choose the type of customer service they need to outsource, like call centre support, live chat support, email support, social media support, or mobile support.
In recent years, more companies have started to build bigger social media and live chat support teams in addition to their call centres. This is primarily because of the sharp increase in the number of people using social media or company-hosted apps and platforms to inquire and make purchases.
Even with the rise of chatbots, e-commerce customer service teams have remained important as studies find that there are no substitutes to the human element in a customer’s journey. Under current models, chatbots usually gather basic query information while customer service agents listen, analyze, resolve, or escalate a customer’s concern or inquiry.
Why outsource e-commerce customer service
Outsourcing customer service opens a lot of opportunities for e-commerce businesses. Depending on a company’s needs, outsourcing can resolve various pain points that can be too costly if solved alone. Here are 6 more reasons why e-commerce companies are outsourcing their customer service to third-party providers.
1. Boost speed and visibility
Outsourcing customer service expands the capacity of e-commerce firms, allowing them to respond to more customers. Outsourcing also allows companies to reach more new customers on targeted platforms. Lastly, outsourcing can provide 24/7 customer service solutions that will allow a company to respond to clients anytime, anywhere.
2. Convert more inquiries to sales
Having a dedicated team of customer service reps for your e-commerce business means having a group of experts focused only on serving your customers. More focus means improved response time and better customer engagement, which only results in a higher chance of converting enquiries to sales.
3. Raise customer satisfaction
The central focus of your outsourced e-commerce customer service team is to provide great customer support. Fulfilling this task will result in higher satisfaction ratings, which would also boost your brand’s reputation with the customers. A well-trained outsourced customer service team would produce not just more buyers but also more loyal customers.
4. Be flexible to changing needs
There will be times that an e-commerce company would need to augment its existing customer service team, especially during peak seasons and when there is a sudden unexpected surge in demand. Outsourcing allows companies access to plug and play customer service solutions that can quickly help them meet increasing customer demands.
5. Get customer service specialists
Finding a customer service representative that fits your brand can be difficult, especially when your competitors are also looking for one that fits them. Add that to the existing global talent shortage and you have a big problem. However, outsourcing allows e-commerce firms to have access to specialists in customer service hotspots around the globe.
6. Save more with less
Outsourcing providers source talent from countries that are not only abundant with experienced customer service specialists but there are also places with lower labour costs. Many e-commerce companies have found customer service teams that fit their brand while saving at least 70% in overhead costs.
The best times to outsource ecommerce customer support
The benefits of e-commerce outsourcing are undeniable, but there is also something to timing that can get you the most out of this time-tested business solution. While outsourcing providers are always there to help you, it is always better to know when the right or best time is to tap their services.
1. Starting Out
When you are starting out, you want to focus on positioning your brand in the market. Outsourcing allows you to get that focus you need while letting a team of trained customer service agents engage with your clients. Outsourcing e-commerce customer service puts your company in an almost same level field as your bigger rivals.
2. Peak Seasons
There are always peak seasons, like Black Friday or the December holidays, when there is a surge in demand for your product or service. Outsourcing will allow you to seamlessly meet demand surges and scale down when peak season ends. The best part is you can scale up and scale down easily without breaking the bank.
3. Entering New Channels or Platforms
When your e-commerce business is ready to penetrate new channels and platforms, you can rely on an experienced outsourcing partner to build you a team that specialises in these channels. This saves you time as the only training your outsourced customer service team needs is about your brand.
4. Expanding Overseas
The moment your company decides to expand overseas, an outsourced e-commerce customer service team will come in handy. Not only would outsourcing increase your capacity, but it would also give you access to experienced agents who are trained and equipped to serve a global market.
Finding the right customer service provider
Besides right timing, there is also a matter of finding the right e-commerce customer service provider when delving into outsourcing. Customer service providers are everywhere, but to get the most out of their services, you want to have a partner that can give you tailor-fit solutions for your exact business goals and needs.
However, to find the right one, you must look at the right locations and ask the right questions to outsourcing providers offering their services. By asking the right questions, you can uncover certain unique service offerings that will help you determine if the provider is the right fit for you. Here are some tips that will help you look for a trusted
1. Start by looking at providers abroad
Customer service is one of the most, if not the most, outsourced business processes, and many countries abroad have mature industries for this specific need. The Philippines, for example, has been providing customer service to clients around the globe since the 1990s. Today, hundreds of outsourcing companies in the Philippines employ nearly 2 million customer support agents serving clients from major countries.
2. Look for flexible and customisable solutions
Gone are the days when businesses need to adjust to their outsourcing partners. Current outsourcing models allow companies to have more control over their outsourced customer service team. When looking for an e-commerce customer service provider, be ready with a detailed list of your requirements and see which one can deliver. Most outsourcing firms offer customisable solutions from team size, composition, work hours, even to office branding.
3. Cultural adaptability is important
Look for an e-commerce customer service provider that gives you a team of agents who can easily adapt to your company’s culture. Many outsourcing markets offer talent that can quickly adapt to foreign clients. The Philippines, for one, as an English-speaking country with a deep multicultural background produces is a good place to look for talent that can seamlessly integrate into your business culture.
4. International Compliance
Make sure to get an outsourcing partner that has the necessary international compliance. Ask the outsourcing provider if they are certified with ISO, DPA, PCI DSS, GDRP. These compliance certifications prove that the provider follows international standards when it comes to outsourcing services, data privacy, and IT security. Do not hesitate to ask the IT team of a provider about the level of security they can offer before you sign a deal.
5. Technology and innovation
Look for a partner that is updated with the latest technology. Many e-commerce customer service providers can offer advanced management platforms that allow you to track, monitor, and respond to your team quickly and directly without any delay. Some providers offer ultramodern offices that can support your outsourced team and give them a productive and secure space to work.
6. Track record
When talking to a provider, ask about their track record – their history, offices, turnover rate, as well as their strengths and points for improvement. A quick glance at their clientele can also give you an idea about how they work. Look for providers that have developed long-term partnerships with their clients. Additionally, ask if there is an existing independent audit on the provider, which will give you an insightful look at their operations.
Always make sure that there are no hidden costs when the provider talks about their rates. You can do this by asking for a detailed breakdown of their rates. Have your own accountants or in-house experts study the breakdown and pinpoint parts of it that can be further broken down into specific details. The best outsourcing partners are transparent enough to give you a detailed breakdown of rates quickly.
Are you ready to explore e-commerce customer service outsourcing? Philippine-based, Australian owned offshoring firm Emapta can help you begin your outsourcing journey. Emapta places a heavy emphasis on the client’s brand when developing customer service solutions to make sure everything, from the people to the workspaces, is aligned to their vision, goals, and idea of success.