There are many challenges that can be solved through outsourcing. As your business grows and evolves there are many scaling factors to consider. Here are some of the most common reasons to outsource support:
Reducing support costs is often associated with outsourcing. It is true that outsourcing is often a cheaper way to scale a team. The savings can be quite significant at scale. Most of our experts cited this reason as part of their choice to outsource. Jon of Invoice2go also elaborated that specifically reducing the cost on specific tickets, such as repeatable low-value interactions was important to them, as this allowed them to level up their existing team, and to hit Service Level Objectives (SLOs) more easily.
Flexible and Seasonal Staff
Rachio is a highly seasonal business, and they outsource with PartnerHero to help ramp up and down quickly to ensure a consistent level of support even as volume skyrockets in the summer.
Dane Berry, Customer Support Director at Rachio says: “We have our core outsourced team that works with us all year, and we hire seasonal for Spring/Summer. After Summer, some of these folks end up staying with us in the core team and others move on to other roles. We also see that core team members move on, which opens the door for seasonal team members to become part of the core team.”
This flexibility was also important to Change.org, Invoice2Go and Sana Benefits. Employees are often moved to other teams after a contract is over which means that there is potentially more stability for the high performers on a team, even if your company no longer requires their services.
At Change.org, language was a big driver for outsourcing. James Baldwin, Director of User Success and Support at Change.org tells us: “At our peak, we supported English, French, German, Japanese, Turkish, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Thai. As a global organization, we made it our mission to ensure all users received the same quality of service regardless of where they were in the world, what language they spoke or who they were dealing with. Going the outsourcing route and using native speakers in various languages ultimately proved to be the best way to accomplish this.” Finding native speakers in one region is hard, and setting up corporate entities in many countries for small teams requires a lot of overhead and knowledge about local laws and regulations. Outsourcers, including OneLink, which Change.org uses, are uniquely set up to handle those parts of operations, letting you focus on your business.
Another benefit is that outsourcing can help you with lower volume or part time coverage, as with Automattic. Andrea Badgley, Program Manager, Contract Support at Automattic shares: “Even our highest volume languages were not high enough volume to merit hiring full time Happiness Engineers to support only that language. In our first attempts with localized support, multilingual Happiness Engineers tried to provide support to both their native language and English support. They were continually being torn which created a lack of clarity around the Happiness Engineers’ priorities and a tremendous amount of decision fatigue.” Outsourcers can allow you to hire part-time, native speakers to help you as you scale your language requirements.
24/7 and Holiday Coverage
Outsourcers often operate in many time zones around the world. This coverage means that you can have a 24/7 team where no one is working odd-hour shifts. For many people, shift work can be a demotivator and disrupt work-life balance. Outsourcers help you remove that through hiring people to work their normal work day, and still provide you complete coverage for your customers. And since most countries have different national holidays and different seasons, you also have more opportunity to cover your time off without having to ask employees to skip their much-needed days off.
Even if you don’t want an offshore team, outsourcing can provide local employees through their services. Hilary, Director of Member Support at Sana Benefits observed that:
“Recruiting and hiring is tough work that can pull managers away for hours a week. The time it takes to do this well could be spent serving the team.”
Especially at scale, hiring can seem to never end. Dane added: “Not only is there a lot of work in interviewing and hiring a large number of people, but there is also the time managing daily work and providing professional development to individual team members.” Outsourcers have talented people ready to go and are always recruiting for different talents. Working with them to rapidly increase your team can save you hours of effort, while still maintaining the same benefit of getting the right people for you and your customers. They are also well-placed to professionally develop the team. It is in an outsourcers best interest to make sure their employees are strengthening their skills and developing new ones. This development helps the employees to transition to other teams if there is a downsizing or be promoted to leadership roles as the outsourcers expands.