Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is a great way to delegate repetitive tasks and focus on important management and development decisions. In fact, 24% of small businesses choose outsourcing to increase efficiency.
But choosing an outsourcing company is not an easy decision to make. That’s because delegating your business processes in the wrong hands can ruin your business within a short period of time.
Research shows that 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers. Moreover, the average business loses around 20% of its customers each year by failing to attend to customer relationships.
So, you should be careful while choosing an outsourcing company for your business.
In this post, we will cover the following:
– Linguistic and cultural differences
Offshoring your business operations abroad may often lead to confusion among your staff and customers due to linguistic and cultural differences. Certain industries need agents with specific cultural verbiage that their customers can grasp. For example, in the case of the Automobile Industry, a foreign agent might not be accustomed to the US customary units. In this case, rather than cursing the metric system, hiring a US-based support agent will make much more sense.
– Understanding of native business terminology
Secondly, offshored agents won’t understand the terminology related to American businesses. For instance, an agent in the Philippines might have no idea about how Americans refer to a certain piece of furniture (e.g., Ottoman, Loveseat, etc.) or a certain section of a house (e.g., Patio, Vestibule, etc.). Therefore, a US-based agent with relevant experience is going to be much more efficient than an offshored foreign agent.
– Quality of services
Another case where outsourcing within the US would make a lot of sense is if your business is based in an expensive city, you may outsource your customer support to companies based in cheaper cities within the US without compromising the quality. A recent example of this can be seen in Silicon Valley, which is an expensive place itself, and due to high labor and real-estate costs, is outsourcing customer as well as technical support in cities within the USA that are comparatively cheaper.
There are a plethora of outsourcing companies in the USA. Their functioning and specifications vary largely. These services can be broadly categorized as follows:
– Specialist Services
These services procure agents with legit experience in specific domains such as medical, legal, automobiles, etc. This adds to the credibility of these agents in the specific domains and vests them with the skills to handle your business processes with ease.
For instance, here at Helplama, we provide specialist services suited for specific domains. We have special teams for legal as well as various e-commerce categories like furniture, hair, and beauty, pets, etc. This helps us add that extra inch to customer satisfaction and conversions.
– Answering Services
Answering services are swift and cheaper but the agents provided lack domain expertise. They can just impart basic information to the customers over chat or email and escalate the issues above their expertise to someone with technical expertise in your company. They can only satiate customer concerns provided in the knowledge base and FAQs.
Secondly, there are a lot of processes being handled simultaneously by the agents procured by these answering services. This may lead to diminished support quality and improper attention to your customers.
– Big Call Centres
With big call centers, you get infallible support and unparalleled infrastructure. The support staff is experienced and possesses a good tone and verbiage. But you’ll only get expensive per seat options because of big overheads.
Helplama is a US-based outsourcing company that provides a variety of business process outsourcing solutions to micro, small, and medium enterprises.
Unlike large outsourcing companies, Helplama provides tailored BPO solutions to businesses as per their requirements.
Moreover, to ensure high-quality services, they allow their clients to stay in touch and train the outsourced professionals.
– Helplama’s primary BPO outsourcing services include:
1. Customer service outsourcing
- Live chat outsourcing
- Phone support outsourcing
- Email support outsourcing
- Social media support outsourcing
- SaaS support outsourcing
2. Data Entry Outsourcing
- Online data entry
- Offline data entry
- Image data entry
– Helplama’s Outsourcing Cost
You can avail of Helplama’s BPO services starting from just $399/month. You can also estimate outsourcing costs for your business as per your requirements.
2. Peak Support
Founded in 2015 and based in the USA, Peak Support is a large outsourcing company that provides a variety of outsourcing services to businesses across various countries.
Their key service includes customer support and other business process outsourcing services. Industries served by them include – retail & e-commerce, software & technology, and gaming.
They can be a good outsourcing option if you run medium-large e-commerce or IT company with diversified business operations.
- Customer Support
- Technical Support
- Sales operations
- Back office tasks
Peak support charges a flat monthly fee or an hourly fee based on clients’ requirements.
3. CIENCE Technologies
Based in Solana Beach, CA, CIENCE Technologies is a B2B company that mainly provides lead-generation services to businesses in the USA.
As per information on their official website, they comprise experienced sales development representatives (SDRs) who specialize in using multichannel outreach practices to bring leads for their clients.
- Sales data solutions
- Outbound SDR
- Inbound SDR
- CRM services
CIENCE Technologies generally charge their clients on an hourly basis, and their average hourly rate is less than $25 per hour.
Smith.AI is a California-based outsourcing provider that can offer you virtual receptionist services over the phone, chat, SMS, and Facebook.
They can provide you services like answering your customers and message taking. And they typically serve almost every industry because of less specialization required in answering services.
- Virtual receptionists
- Webchat & messaging services
Smith.AI answering service plans start from $210 per month which includes 30 conversations over the phone. Simply put, it will cost you $5-7 per call attended by the live agent.
Note: If your services are highly-personalized that must need your presence to serve your customers, then you should consider outsourcing answering services for your business only.
For example: If you’re an attorney-at-law, it’s you who can provide legal advice to your clients, and an outsourcing agent most likely can’t. So in this case, it would be best for you to outsource answering services only.
5. Remote CoWorker
As the name suggests, Remote CoWorker is a US-based BPO company that can provide you with virtual office assistants on a part-time and full-time basis. They also offer bilingual assistants who can talk both English and Spanish.
What virtual assistants can do for you? These visual assistants can do basic and repetitive office tasks so you can focus on more important management tasks.
Services provided by their VAs:
- Customer support
- Back office support
- Technical support
- Sales, billing, and bookkeeping
For hiring one virtual assistant, you will need to pay between $6 – $9 per hour based on your work requirements.
6. Firms Desk
Based in New York, the Firms Desk is an established firm that provides back-office support and customer support services to its clients.
They focus on providing superior outsourcing services to established businesses with a decent amount of operations.
If you’re a startup with limited operations then you may find their services expensive.
- Customer Support
- Back Office Support
- Technical support
Their services start from $1499 per month/person.
7. Westpark Communications
Westpark is a Texas-based outsourcing company that can provide you with a variety of call center solutions.
The key industries they serve include – Attorneys & law firms, e-commerce, and medical health.
Phone answering is the key service they provide to their clients.
Other services include:
- Disaster recovery
Westpark’s pricing plans remain fully customized based on clients’ requirements.
Based in Miami, Uassist.ME can help you with virtual assistance that can perform administrative and creative services tasks on your behalf.
The industries they serve include – E-commerce, real estate, marketing, and legal.
Like Remote CoWorker, they will also provide you with a virtual assistant on a part-time or full-time basis.
What virtual assistants can do:
- Administrative tasks
- Website development
- Graphics design
- E-commerce support
- Social media management
Unlike most outsourcing firms, Uassist does not charge its clients on an hourly basis.
For a full-time virtual assistant, you would be required to pay $1798 per month. While a part-time virtual assistant would cost you $1059/month.
9. Perfect Data Entry
As the name suggests, Perfect Data Entry is a data entry outsourcing company based in Florida.
Focus on providing data entry solutions only, they can help you with a variety of data entry solutions from simple data entry to intricate processing tasks like data mining, cleansing, capture, etc.
- Data entry & processing
- Lead generation
- Data mining & enrichment
- Content moderation
Data entry services provided by them start from $5 per hour. And currently, they are offering a free trial as well.
Kareo is a CA-based BPO company that provides cloud-based medical technology solutions to health care organizations.
Their services mainly include a medical technology platform named Kareo that can help you simplify various tasks related to serving healthcare clients.
They have built various products including Kareo Clinical, Kareo Billing, and Kareo Engage.
- Care delivery
- Insurance reimbursement
- Patient engagement
- Patient collection
- Managed billing
They comprise different customized plans for Physician and Non-Physician healthcare providers. You can also schedule a demo on Kareo’s official website.
1. Your budget
Budget is a factor that you shouldn’t underlook while hiring an outsourcing partner. You should have a clear estimate of the dollars that you spend on customer service. Not deciding your budget upfront can be problematic and can also ruin your profits.
How to know the amount you can spend on customer service? Assess your business economics i.e. Average Order Value (AOV) and profit margins. A business with low-profit margins and low AOV operations will find it difficult to afford customer service of high standards.
For example, suppose you make a profit margin of $100 from an order received and pay $10 for a ticket resolved. But if your profit margins are low like $5, then paying $10 for a ticket resolved will be a loss-making decision. By doing this, you can have a clear estimate of the amount you can spend on outsourced customer service.
By having an estimate, you can clearly communicate your budget to your outsourcing partner in advance like $3 per ticket resolved or $1000 monthly.
2. The payment policy
The payment policy is another major underlooked factor that you should consider while hiring an outsourcing partner. For a small business, it’s difficult to withdraw a hefty amount of money from the business.
A personalized payment model is one you should look for, that allows you to make flexible payments.
Most large outsourcing vendors have rigid pricing policies that will not customize it to your needs and cater to their needs and not yours. Because they’re interested in a large flow of volumes and don’t entertain small startups as they treat their big clients. They might not give you a chance to examine their services and will demand payment, say $2000 – $3000 upfront.
On the other hand, a small outsourcing vendor doesn’t have a huge list of clients and will be able to entertain you with personalized pricing plans as per your needs. Moreover, some vendors also provide dedicated support agents to their clients at customized prices.
3. Channels you want to outsource
The channels that you want to outsource should be under one roof.
Some outsourcing vendors only provide live-chat services and no phone support. For a business, having more than one outsourcing partner can be troublesome because it will become nearly impossible to sync the channels and provide a great omnichannel experience to the customers. In such a case, a business won’t be able to track customers’ issues on another platform, and customers would have to repeat their issues if they wish to contact you via another channel.
Helplama’s US consumer engagements survey revealed that a majority of 65% of consumers ended a business relationship with a company because they had to re-explain their situation every time they contacted that company’s customer service support.
So, as a small business unit, even if you’re planning to outsource a single customer support channel, you should definitely consider looking at the set of services offered by an outsourcing vendor. So that you don’t need to look at other vendors if you want to outsource any other support channel in the future.
4. How much expertise do you want?
I want domain experts, not outsourcing agents!
Your outsourcing requirements also may vary according to the nature of your business.
For example, If you run an e-commerce store and the function of a customer support agent is to issue gift cards, refunds, and provide shipping status. Then it won’t be troublesome for an outsourcing agent to resolve your customer issues.
But, if you run a B2B company that provides IT solutions to other businesses whose issues are pretty technical, then there are very slim chances that you can rely on an outsourcing agent to resolve your customer issues. Then, a live answering service might be a good option for you that registers customer complaints and books appointments with your in-house technical support.
But, some modern-age outsourcing vendors also provide you with empowered domain experts. For example, If you own a furniture business, then they offer you agents that have sold furniture in the past. If you run a saloon, then they provide you with customer support agents that have worked on a saloon before.
5. Your customer demographics
For whom you’re going to hire customer support? Of course, your customers!
So, you can’t underrate your customers and their demographics. Their income, location, age, culture, social beliefs, language, accent, etc., you need to consider their every single characteristic. For example, if the majority of your customers are US-based, then your primary requirement should be US-based agents who speak the native American languages.
While the trend in outsourcing is shifting towards offshoring customer support to cheaper and competitive markets such as the Philippines or India, there are certain unparalleled benefits of choosing from outsourcing companies in the USA, for a US-based or a Global business selling in the USA.
Additionally, it’s true that outsourcing within the US is a relatively costlier option than offshoring, but it has numerous boons as seen above. Customer satisfaction is enhanced as the agents can relate to your customers, and belonging to the same cultural background, can communicate easily with them to know their concerns inside-out. Specialist agents with the right domain expertise can help judge and solve customer issues expediently. All this is instrumental in sustaining and widening your customer base and in turn expanding your business.