If you’re planning to outsource some (or all) of your CX operations, what should go into finding a partner?
According to a recent TELUS International survey, 84% of enterprise technology executives polled said they plan to work with an external provider in some capacity to achieve their companies’ CX objectives this year.
The majority (89%) of these executives consider CX to be a moderate or high priority in their organizations, ranking innovation (28%), experience (26%) and end-to-end solutions (19%) as the top three most important qualities when evaluating a digital CX provider.
According to Maria Pardee, TELUS chief commercial officer, working with the right provider can be “transformational.”
“Brands have the opportunity to shift their internal resources back to their core competencies such as designing new products and services, and R&D,” said Pardee. “That creative white space also comes from brands having the peace of mind from trusting their CX partner to stay in compliance with all customer data privacy regulations, which can vary by country and are constantly changing.”
However, working with an outside firm for CX can present some challenges. Following the three strategies below can help firms navigate these challenges while seeing great advantages.
1. Define Success
“Gone are the days of CX firms being merely vendors within a company’s CX ecosystem,” said John E. Thompson, ibex global head of sales. “The transition to a partnership ecosystem is an industry best practice that has been adopted by many of the globe’s most recognized brands. These brands are also the most tenured in terms of outsourcing.”
Establish early on what success looks like, how success is measured and what the company’s long-term goals and objectives are from a customer journey standpoint, Thompson recommended.
“Even though the number of non-voice interactions over the last decade has declined there remains a high number of CX interactions taking place within the call center either via a voice, chat or e-mail channel,” he said. “Therefore, the culture of the CX firm and how they manage agent experience remains a key driver toward the ultimate success of any outsourcing relationship.”
By aligning the company’s goals and objectives early on, you are laying the foundation for the agent experience, as many of these goals and objectives impact the agents’ day-to-day and as result the culture of the CX team, Thompson added.
2. Set Clear Expectations
If you want your outsourced CX partner to meet — or go beyond — your current customer service levels, you need to set clear expectations up front, said Alexander Anderson, Solar Panels Network USA digital marketing specialist.
He added, “This means being specific about what you expect in terms of response times, quality of service and results. By setting these expectations early on, you can avoid any surprises down the road.”
Pardee recommended communicating your expectations transparently and regularly, as well as offering honest and constructive performance feedback.
“This establishes a strong foundation of mutual understanding and trust that must be present in order for companies to ultimately let a CX provider represent its brand to customers and the broader market,” she explained.
3. Ensure Partners Understand Your Culture
“When onboarding a CX provider, it is critical that a company share its company culture and values — what they stand for and hope to achieve, and also its more nuanced brand elements, including the company’s ‘voice’ so that all parts of the CX strategy and delivery map back to these foundational elements for the most authentic customer experience,” Pardee said.
Ultimately you — the client — are an expert on all things culture, including your product and services, said Pardee. When you share that knowledge with a CX partner, they can better deliver consistent omnichannel experiences, which are necessary to build customer loyalty.
Outsourcing your customer experience (CX) can be a great way to improve your customer satisfaction levels, but it’s important to partner with a company that has a strong understanding of your industry, brand and your customers, Anderson added.
“If the outsourcing company doesn’t understand what makes your company special, or who your target audience is, they may not be able to provide the level of service that you’re looking for,” he said.
Final Thoughts: Outsourcing Your CX Successfully
While there are some firms that will rely on their internal resources to drive CX, as the TELUS survey indicated, a large percentage of companies will outsource all or most of their CX, while others will outsource certain portions and handle some of the work internally.
There are several third-party providers from which you can choose, some that are large enough to handle any CX needs that you want to outsource, while others are better suited to handle one or two specific portions of your CX. The three strategies above will help you get the most out of any outsourcing arrangement.