Where to outsource customer service to next?


Customer service is something that many companies think of as very important. Especially for premium brand products and services a good customer service is one of the differentiation points. Yet, in practice the customer service is always worse then companies would make you believe. I don’t recall the last time that I was actually surprised by the high quality of service I received. When I look online the complaints about customer service seem endless, which made me wonder: How can something that is perceived as important for many companies be so bad and what can be done about it?

A trend that is currently going on in the industry is outsourcing. Outsourcing production, outsourcing administration, and yes, outsourcing customer service. Highly trained Indian customer service employees are nowadays often on the receiving end of our call to customer service. And it gets worse: companies are also experimenting with outsourcing customer service to bots. Using advanced software to impersonate an actual customer service employee seems like a great idea from a financial point of view, but having a bot recognize questions and giving the most likely solutions to a question can hardly be called customer service anymore.

In my own experience customer service using a company’s customer service is usually a big waste of time. When I need help my first guess is Google, where I will look for people on forums who have similar problems. Often there are people on these forums capable of helping me with my problem, as they have more knowledge then a customer service employee reading a script or a bot posting the same useless solutions over and over again. Luckily I’m not the only one who thinks that customers often have more knowledge then the company’s own customer service. I found this article online:

http://www.fastcompany.com/823979/does-new-website-hold-secret-great-customer-service

This is a site that allows companies to outsource their customer service to their own consumers. A place where customers can help each other out with their problems is in my opinion a great idea. This is great for consumers, who could finally get the proper help they deserve. Of course there are also benefits for the company as well. The costs of this method can be very low, as customers only like to help others. A little encouragement such as a discount coupon could go a long way into motivating consumers to be active on the site. In this way a company can lower costs drastically. Still, the quality can be very high. It’s a win/win I believe! What do you guys think?

By Martijn Roest (323762)

Source:

Pattison, K. (2008). Does a New Website Hold the Secret to Great Customer Service? http://www.fastcompany.com, http://www.fastcompany.com/823979/does-new-website-hold-secret-great-customer-service

One thought on “Where to outsource customer service to next?”

  1. Thanks Martijn! Another great example of how customer involvement creates value! I agree that in most situations this would be a win/win, but imagine a scenario that involves high expertise. Of course, forum users may have that expertise, nevertheless they could disagree on a proper solution. In such a context, the firm is the one that can offer the ultimate solution (regardless its customer service), since they know their products better than anyone.

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