Outsourcing your customer relationship: good idea or big mistake?
While discussing with start-ups – about customer relationship outsourcing – I get many different points of view! So, is customer relationship outsourcing a good idea or not?
There is no rule: each start-up, depending on its maturity and market, can commit to it, even occasionally. Here are my 5 tips (to challenge depending on your specificities):
Outsource, to scale without hiring
Good news, your start-up is growing fast and well. However, this development brings in a high HR cost because you need to hire. To avoid the time-consuming recruitment headache, outsourcing is a flexible and adaptive solution: especially if you need to set up 24/7 operations, sometimes with multilingual needs and if you are looking for large shifts or highly specialized advisors.
Also, think about if your business experiences occasional or structural peaks of activity (key moment to acquire new customers, sales periods, special offers, etc.). Your outsourcing partner will handle those recruitment operations based on your expressed needs. A bestshoring strategy will generally follow: it will aim at defining the most adequate teams and locations, nationally or internationally.
Outsourcing is therefore an agile solution if you have to significantly grow your start-up’s headcount, without having to handle either recruitments or employment contracts. Efficiency without complexity.
Outsource, to deploy internationally
Does your start-up need to enter a new market abroad? Partners such as Webhelp benefit from a large number of locations across several countries, with multilingual hubs across the world. This gives you a key strategic advantage: a fast and accurate international recruitment capability.
Let us take an example: to set up in Brazil, you will need customer advisors who speak Portuguese, but with a Brazilian accent and mastering the country’s cultural codes. Not easy to find, if you are not an expert… Thankfully, for a company like Webhelp, it is a rather basic mission, mastered for several years.
Starting in a new country and finding the right people is not an easy move – it can take months. Relying on a specialist partner to do this can help you save time and gain relevance with agility. You will not have to deal with local HR, labour law or training issues.
In a crisis context: outsource to reduce your burn rate
The sanitary crisis is in everyone’s mind, but it is only one of the specific crisis situations for a start-up. Other events can impede its growth. Often, in such cases, the priority will be to reduce spending, more specifically your burn rate.
In a crisis context, outsourcing can provide an excellent solution to this. Within a few hours, the start-up can renegotiate its task force dimensions. No HR constraints, no complex reorganization, no individualized management of employment contracts, etc. Ultimately, the outsourcer partner will be the one to take the hit, since it is precisely their role to continuously re-adjust its workforce and tasks!
For a start-up supported by The Nest by Webhelp, in the middle of the Covid crisis we went from a dedicated team of 15-people to 2 advisors because there was no longer sufficient business volume: the financial risk was borne by Webhelp and not by the start-up. In short, outsourcing is the right option if your start-up is competing in a market that is subject to crises (cyclical as well as occasional ones, predictable or not). This outsourcing will be total or partial, depending on your objectives.
Outsource, to optimize your time to market and keep the right focus
This is the sinews of war: for a start-up that aims to grow, time management is critical! In other words, the daily challenge is to keep the right focus – on the product, new features, additional services, UX improvement, customer feedback, financial performance, and many more!
Nevertheless, a small team, no matter how brilliant, does not have extended days to do so, therefore, they need to arbitrate according to deadlines, availabilities, and skills.
It is often said, a good entrepreneur must know how to delegate if he wants to develop his business. What is left to decide is, which tasks to delegate, and to whom?
Some tasks should be trusted to an experienced partner whose job it is to do so. Multichannel customer experience management is one of the most relevant ones in this respect. There is no longer a need to deal with recruitment, training, hardware and resource requirements, hourly performance, land charges, etc.
As a result, your core team will be able to focus on what really creates value.
Outsource to gain credibility
It has been said – a good entrepreneur focuses on the core of its value proposition. This common ground is also well known amongst start-up partners – investors in particular. Proving that you can outsource, is therefore a good way to (re)gain credibility in the eyes of partners or associates, both current and potential ones.
A successful partnership can therefore be highlighted: it is a good signal to send to investors or associates.
Performance and healthy organization token, mastering outsourcing will be a very valuable argument when inviting partners to fund your development.
Practical question: when to outsource?
These few considerations may have helped you to get a clearer understanding of what outsourcing can offer you.
But, THE essential question remains: when to do it?
I will save this for another post, which will consider objections to outsource. So do not hesitate to follow our news or to contact us using the form below if you need any clarification or if you want to testify about your experience.
Bear in mind that it is also possible to set up a PoC if you have a got a specific customer relationship challenge. We provide a full range of services: Customer Service, Telesales, Loyalty, Acquisition, KYC, Retention, Claim Management, Back Office Support, Technical Support, Appointment Scheduling to name just a few… We know how to start small before expanding our scope and support your growth!