4 Signs It’s Time to Outsource to an Ecommerce Call Center

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Your business is expanding, which is great. But if you can’t keep up with an increasing number of emails and phone calls, it might be time to either grow your in-house team or look for outside support.

Call center providers like Nextiva can assist you with both—but which is the right fit for you? 

While it sounds like a quick and convenient solution, there are nuanced aspects of outsourcing that make it a great option for some business owners and a headache for others. 

To find out if outsourcing to an ecommerce call center is a good option for you, ask yourself if the following four criteria are true for your operation right now. 

1. It Isn’t Cost-Effective to Hire an In-House Customer Service Team

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your customer service, you’ve likely already given some thought to establishing a team of your own. 

Here are some of the logistics involved with hiring an in-house team:

First, there’s the pay. The average salary for someone in a service representative role is $38,000 per year, plus employee benefits. You’re looking at a minimum investment of $190,000 per year for a team of five in-house agents—and that’s just the base salaries. 

There’s the operational price tag as well, for things like office expenses and agent training. You’ll also need to purchase relevant service support software and hardware infrastructure, such as computers and phone headsets. 

Even if your business is earning enough to cover these costs, your money may be better spent on streamlining your existing operation, particularly when you consider the added time of hiring, onboarding, and supervising an entirely new department. 

With an outsourced option, you typically pay a set hourly rate per agent. This rate is often much lower than that of a full-time service representative, especially when selecting a large-scale international call center.  

There are no additional benefit-related costs to cover, and you don’t have to worry about the tax burden of paying another salaried employee. The operational and office-related investment is also the call center provider’s responsibility, keeping your financial requirements fairly low. 

That said, there could be some hidden fees and unexpected costs that may put you over your intended budget. On your first month’s bill, you might see items like a management or startup fee, a per-agent service fee, and additional charges for any social media channel coverage. 

Be sure to ask your potential outsourcing partner about any additional fees that you need to be aware of, then compare these numbers against the total costs of maintaining an in-house team.  

2. You’re Consistently Missing Customer Calls

It’s exciting to see your ecommerce business grow. But that excitement can quickly turn into overwhelm if your phone is ringing incessantly and you’re missing customer calls. 

Customers don’t want to deal with long wait times, being put on hold, or worse, not reaching anyone at all. And as a business owner, it probably gives you anxiety when you hear a phone ring that you can’t answer right away.

It may be tempting to get help as soon as possible—but don’t make any hasty moves quite yet. 

The ideal time to shift your customer service approach isn’t when you miss your first few phone calls.

It’s when you’re missing calls and your sales are being negatively impacted.

Review the call data from the last six months. Ask yourself these key questions:

  • How many calls were abandoned before your team could answer?
  • How many calls came in during off hours when no staff were available?

Now, take a look at your sales figures over the same time frame and consider the correlation between these data sets. If the numbers reveal that you’re losing or missing sales as a direct result of your communication gaps, an outsourced solution may be in order.      

3. Non-Core Tasks Are Becoming More Than You Can Handle 

When you’re able to stay in the sweet spot between product development and marketing strategy, your business performs at its best. If more and more of your time is spent on accounting and administrative support tasks rather than growing your business, it may be time to look at getting outside help.

This is also true if you already have a small team, but they’re feeling overwhelmed by the increase in responsibilities that accompanies a rapid period of expansion. Quality and efficiency can suffer if pressure builds up for too long, leading to bigger problems—like associate burnout. 

With various types of call centers, you can find one that’s able to fulfill far more than just customer-facing functions. 

Many ecommerce call centers can handle back-office business processes, not just customer-facing functions.

For instance, they can monitor and manage your inventory, process invoices, and even offer HR support. This takes a huge weight off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on long-term strategizing and growing your business.

But before signing up for an ecommerce call center service, make sure to do your due diligence. Compare the costs and fees associated with outsourcing versus hiring additional part-time or full-time staff to cover the workload. If one extra part-time staff member can handle these additional tasks without any issues, it may not be worth dipping into the budget for additional support.

4. Your Digital Support Channels Are Suffering 

In an age of smartphones and convenient store-to-door delivery, omnichannel customer support isn’t just for big businesses. Offering multiple support channels is a smart move for any business, even if you’re just getting started.

Most people don’t actually want to call in and speak with an agent. It’s way more convenient to resolve issues and address questions through whatever channel they’re currently on, whether they’re scrolling through your Instagram page on their phones or browsing your website on their laptop. 

Options like live chat, chatbots, email, SMS, and social media messaging make it easy for customers to reach out through channels they already trust. 

An outsourced provider can manage all of these elements for you, which can be a gamechanger if your team is struggling to keep up with customer demand over digital channels. 

Allowing an ecommerce call center to take over these crucial front-office tasks can free up more time for your team to hone other core business functions. And you can typically find a provider willing to customize your plan, ensuring you aren’t overpaying for the help you need. 

Still Not Ready to Outsource? Try a Contact Center Solution 

If you’re not ready to outsource yet, you can still elevate your customer service and make it less overwhelming to handle with a solid system built for comprehensive customer support.

This is where a contact center comes in.  

If you’re fairly new to how contact centers work, Nextiva’s AI-powered system is a great place to start. In minutes, you can power up a dashboard that provides modern capabilities to manage your workforce and customer support needs without feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

Here are some of the features you can get to level up your customer and agent interactions:

  • A built-in autodialer for more efficient outreach efforts
  • Omnichannel support to manage inbound and outbound calls, plus digital channel communication
  • Workforce optimization tools to streamline and perfect your customer service experience 
  • Automated outbound campaigns to grow your customer base
  • AI resources like voice bots, chatbots, and virtual assistants to provide more complete agent and customer support 

This self-managed approach can save you the ongoing investment of an outsourced call center while giving you a greater degree of control over process optimization and implementation. Just know that you’ll have to be more hands-on with interpreting your data and making coordinated workflow adjustments. 

You’ll also need to consider software subscription costs, along with the possible need for a small team of in-house agents to manage increasing call volumes. You could avoid hiring dedicated staff by spreading the customer contact responsibilities across your existing workforce. However, this might divert their attention from other pressing duties.

Ultimately, your decision between outsourcing and in-house customer service approaches will be determined after weighing all of the potential costs against the benefits of either solution.

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