While the trend in outsourcing is shifting towards offshoring customer support to cheaper and competitive markets such as Philippines or India, there are certain unparalleled benefits of choosing from outsourcing companies in USA, for a US-based or a Global business selling in the USA.
Why Outsource within the USA?
Offshoring your call center to agents abroad may often lead to confusion among your customers due to linguistic and cultural differences. Certain industries need agents with specific cultural verbiage that their customers can grasp. For example, in 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.
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.
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 the 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.
Types of Outsourcing Companies in the USA
There are a plethora of outsourcing companies in the USA. Their functioning and specifications vary largely. These services can be broadly categorised as follows:
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 skills to handle your customers 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 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. The 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 possess a good tone and verbiage. But you’ll only get expensive per seat options because of big overheads.
How much should you expect to pay?
Various customer service outsourcing companies follow varying pricing plans. We have put together a much more informative list of the pricing models and explained it all better in our previous post. Here is a relatively non-exhaustive list explaining what to expect as far as the pricing goes:
Phone Support Costs:
1. Pay by the minute:
For example, $0.8-$1.5 per minute
If your incoming call pattern is highly variable, it’ll be wise to pay by the minute. This way you won’t have to pay the call center for the idle time. But, if your inbound is susceptible to frequent surges, this kind of plan can increase your expenditure.
2. Fixed Monthly/Annual plans:
For example, $450 per month for 24/7 support and 500 minutes call time (+$1 for every additional minute)
If the inbound pattern is predictable and rather stable, going with this option is convenient. As 100% uptime is guaranteed, the service is commendable and undelayed.
Email/Live Chat Answering Services Costs:
1. Pay per seat
For example, $2000-$3000 per seat per month
If you need dedicated answering agents all the time, giving 24/7 support to your customers on your store, buying customer support on a per seat basis is the way to go. It gives a high ROI if your inbound volume is high.
2. Pay per chats/per hour
For example, $3-$8 per hour
Full uptime is provided by the outsourced agents but you are only charged when the customers require the agents’ attention. It is optimal for businesses with low volume inbound.
While outsourcing within the US is a relatively costlier option than offshoring, it has numerous boons as seen above. The 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 judging and solving customer issues expediently. All this is instrumental in sustaining and widening your customer base and in turn expanding your business.