There are pros and cons of outsourcing your customer experience management. For starters, customer experience (CX) can be expensive. It’s also hard to manage.
On the flip side, no one knows your customers better than you do (let’s hope!).
So, how do you know if it’s worth outsourcing your customer experience management to someone else? Read on for our advice!
Prioritizing Customer Loyalty
If your goal is to protect customer loyalty, your customer service and support leaders must prioritize customer experience. Increasingly, this means providing oversight and support of social media channels.
Look at your customer loyalty initiatives with CX in mind.
- What’s your loyalty driver? Does this driver significantly influence CX and/or loyalty among customers?
- Identify your competitive advantage. How is your company truly different from competitors — especially as it relates to customer loyalty?
- Asses your risk. If something went wrong with one of your initiatives, would it create significant risk to your brand?
These questions are all good places to start when auditing what you currently do and don’t have. As you consider outsourcing your customer experience management, these will provide a baseline for customer loyalty initiatives.
If you can’t effectively answer those questions, try the below instead.
Overall, ask yourself if you have customer experience figured out.
Customer Service vs Customer Experience
Next, let’s look at some differences in customer service and customer experience. Believe it or not, they are not one and the same!
Customer Service: Customer service is a reactive, one-on-one interaction between your brand and a customer. It usually takes place after purchase.
Customer Experience: We love the way Convince and Convert defines customer experience.
“Simply put, customer experience is the combined interactions a customer has with your brand. It looks at the lifecycle of the customer, mapping each and every touchpoint the customer has with you. It highlights where you’re delivering an exceptional experience, building loyalty and advocacy. And where you’re delivering a poor experience, driving your customers to competitors.”
When looking at your customers’ digital journey, identity your digital touchpoints at each stage. Here’s what the B Squared Media digital customer journey looks like …
Once you have yours mapped out, you’ll want to figure out what digital touchpoints you have at each stage. As in, where to customers and would-be customers reach out along the journey?
Social media posts
Customer support (reactive)
- Customer Care (proactive)
The Importance Of Conversations Along The Journey
Customers are increasingly using social media to discover new brands and make buying decisions on social media. As a result, they expect to be able to converse with brands for assistance on these same channels.
Brand conversations on social media are a trusted, everyday part of the shopping and research process. But many brands, because of staffing issues, aren’t available to participate in these conversations 365 days a year on social media. This is one of the biggest reasons you may want to outsourcing your customer experience management program.
In the new Publicis + Twitter study “#LetsTalkShop:
- Ninety-two percent of people surveyed said they actively seek out comments about brands, products, or services on social.
- Sixty-eight percent said their impression of a brand was changed as a result of experiencing brand conversation.
- More than half of shoppers are impacted by brand conversations.
More importantly, the conversations brands have with their customers on social media are just as important as brand reviews.
Interestingly, the study also found conversation is most impactful early in the purchase journey, which suggests people may be more impressionable during the acquisition portion of their digital customer journey (DCJ).
The research goes on to underscore that brand conversation — whether brand or shopper initiated — significantly impacts purchase consideration at any point in the DCJ. This isn’t surprising to us given our tagline of “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” and knowing that the self-led journey shoppers use today has them researching and asking questions right up to the point of purchase.
Additionally, as I pointed out throughout my recent book on this topic, Conversations That Connect, brands that use conversation to align their brand values with the values of their audiences outperform those who stick to content filled with clichés and facts.
Conversations should be at the center of your customer experience program.
The Need For Speed
Engaging in brand conversations isn’t enough. Your customers also expect lightning-fast response times. And although the research is varied on the “right” response time, it’s crystal clear that slow response times will turn even the most loyal customers away.
HubSpot research shows that two thirds of buyers expect a response within 10 minutes to any marketing, sales, or customer service inquiry. Additionally, 90% of consumers said that getting an immediate response to their customer service questions is important or very important.
Furthermore, according to Salesforce, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. And two-thirds of customers say they’re willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
However, brands are failing miserably to meet consumer expectations. A report by Simplr showed that only 38% of companies measure resolution time on a consistent basis as a part of their CX program.
You can see why this is a problem if it’s your customer’s biggest concern and one of your least-addressed customer care issues. Brands who want to survive must stop letting slow response times kill their CX.
To achieve this, many brands are outsourcing customer experience management to a trusted partner.
Can You Actually Outsource CX?
First of all, CX can make or break you. It’s a huge part of why customers will want to buy from you. So, outsourcing your customer experience management can seem super scary.
Secondly, does it make sense to rely on a vendor to deliver CX?
The B Squared Media answer is yes.
When looking for a partner, make sure your vendor is looking to provide a seamless extension for your team. The best CX providers will have proven experiences, and will actually enhance your current CX.
When outsourcing your customer experience management, the pros are many:
- Cut costs and overhead
- Mitigate certain risks
- Expand support opportunities; access to larger staff
- Increase availability (for example, our services have coverage before/after office hours, are “on” over the weekends and holidays, or 365 days per year)
- Optimize for both customer acquisition and retention
- Innovation opportunities (especially with social listening & intelligence!)
Finally, how quickly your CX vendor delivers will depend on how well-defined and documented your processes are. So, YES, you can outsource your customer experience management.
Should You Consider Outsourcing Your Customer Experience Management?
We’ve answered if you can outsource your customer experience. But should you?
The short answer: not every company needs to outsource their customer experience. However, that’s not super helpful in the context of this article. So let’s look at questions you can ask to determine whether it’s something you should consider.
- What’s your CX plan? If you have a plan for using customer experience for both acquisition and retention, great! Conversely, if you don’t have a plan, it may be worth consulting with a vendor to help create one.
- Do you have qualified CX agents now? Do they have the bandwidth for all mediums, including phone, email, online chat/bots, social media channels, etc.? Next, are they available before/after hours, weekends, and holidays? If you don’t have bandwidth with employees, you may want to consider outsourcing your customer experience management to a vendor.
- Is your goal to be proactive? Traditionally, support agents and CX can be extremely reactive; agents react to issues and don’t spend much time on “surprise and delight.” An innovative CX vendor can change this.
- Can you manage costs? Minimum wages in the U.S., are rising. Labor and staffing issues remain volatile. I mentioned bandwidth and availability above. Hiring an outsourced vendor can help curb costs. Additionally, McKinsey research found that improved customer experiences can grow revenue by 5 to 10%, and can even cost 15 to 20% less.
Overall, asking your team the above four questions will help you get a sense of whether or not you should outsource your customer experience. The biggest factor to sell to the C-Suite is that working with a CX outsourcing partner can be offset by growth in revenue.
Should you consider outsourcing your customer experience management? It depends. But, this article should help get the conversation started!
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