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Signs it's time to consider customer experience outsourcing

"Success begets success," goes the time-worn proverb acknowledging that a taste of success stimulates a hunger for more. But despite the merits of the original line, for many rising mission-oriented companies, it might be due for a small-yet-significant update. For some, there's the possibility that success begets stress.

It's not what you typically associate with an industry renowned for its unicorns and a general aura of effortlessness. Sushi at your door in a few clicks, intuitive money management, dating at a (safe) distance — it's common for tech companies to add simplicity to our lives. Perhaps that's why the list of unicorns is growing. In fact, their mythical moniker may speak to their rarity, but as of April 2022, there are at least one thousand unicorns capturing minds and wallet share around the world.

For scaling companies, customer experience outsourcing stands out as a reliable way to manage the complexities that may accompany success. Through a productive partnership, you can bring calm to the cacophony of customer calls, chat notifications and email alerts; navigate the expansion to new markets with cultural differences and new compliance requirements; and protect your business, your data and your customers from security threats. What's more, a top-tier partner will push your company forward, unleashing new potential through co-innovation.

There are often tell-tale signs that it's time to consider outsourcing, says Brian Hannon, global head of customer experience innovation - technology at TELUS International. Outsourcing partners like TELUS International are familiar with the challenges that can come with success, and can help tech companies protect, scale and enhance all aspects of their digital customer experience (CX). "Emerging brands can sometimes think they're on a path that no one has followed before," says Hannon. "And while that way of thinking may be great from a product perspective, it's rarely productive in terms of the customer experience."

Is it time for you to consider outsourcing?

Growing by over 3.5% per year, the global market for CX outsourcing is expected to eclipse $81 billion in 2023, per a report by Research and Markets. This is an industry that is concerned with, and driven by, the customer. As such, the right outsourcing partner will be tuned into CX best practices for new and emerging brands, including key signs that it's time to consider outsourcing.

"It might seem obvious, but one clear indicator is when companies can't maintain their standard of customer service as their customer base grows," explains Hannon. "All of a sudden they're trying to help customers in several languages, on several support channels, at all times of day. Pretty quickly they start to see a decline across a number of their customer experience metrics."

A worsening of important delivery Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is a warning sign companies can't afford to ignore: In one study, Microsoft found that 58% of Americans will switch companies because of poor customer service. Tech companies on an upwards trajectory would be wise to pay close attention to changes in metrics like Average Handle Times (AHT), Customer Satisfaction and Customer Effort Scores (CES), ensuring that they don't sacrifice service in their quest for success.

To support more customers, companies need to scale up their teams accordingly. Therein lies another problem: For companies that are growing quickly, it's not always easy to keep up with the pace of demand — especially during the Great Resignation. Without an outsourcing partner, companies face real challenges scaling their customer care teams to meet customer expectations, and failing to do so brings them back to worsening KPIs. It can be a vicious cycle.

But what might be the most draining sign that it's time to consider outsourcing is that you're spending less and less time doing what you do best. Success can lead to stress when you're focusing more time, energy and budget on your customer service, rather than your product. Not only is this taxing, but it slows down your pace of innovation and gives competitors a chance to grab the spotlight.

Advantages of outsourcing

If the stress of success is mounting, a strong partnership with a knowledgeable and proven digital CX leader can bring peace of mind.

For starters, an experienced outsourcing partner will be able to help your brand respond to current and anticipated customer care needs by optimizing your people, processes and technology on an ongoing basis. They'll offer scale, in the markets you need it, and they'll have the tools and expertise to forecast demand. As a result, your rising success won't be coupled with worsening support delivery.

And if you're planning to enter new markets, an outsourcing partner can set you up for success with a multilingual, follow-the-sun model of support, ensuring help is available to your customers whenever and wherever they need it.

Partnership also provides access to expertise. That can have a real, positive effect on your existing CX team members and the support channels you already have. But what's more, by partnering with a company that has sophisticated tech capabilities and earned experience, you'll be able to layer on new aspects to your digital CX that you may have thought were too resource-intensive, or too lofty. You benefit from the knowledge of a company who has done it before.

What to look for in an outsourcing partner

Of course, there are a number of companies out there who will claim to be able to scale and lend their expertise. So how can you make the right choice?

A lot can be learned about a potential outsourcing partner in your initial conversations. Hannon says to consider a partner that listens first, and speaks second. "It's not about pitching at all. It's about asking good questions — questions that get to the heart of what the company is grappling with. A trustworthy partner will take the time to care and reflect upon what you have to say. You should feel heard."

By listening, rather than selling, a partner will avoid jumping to conclusions about what you need. Better yet, this puts a potential partner in a position where they can look at your challenges and goals holistically, and work with you to devise a strategy that deploys the right mix of human and tech elements in CX. The best partners will do this in a way that enhances and embraces your innovative culture, rather than detracting from it.

Tech companies reaching heady heights may experience their share of headaches. A CX outsourcing partner can make a world of difference, helping you to manage the evolving expectations of your customers and the wider market, and picking up the slack to free you up for your next breakthrough.

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