Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Play to your strengths! - The Question of Outsourcing

Outsourcing For DummiesTo Oursource or not to outsource ... while not exactly a question that plagued William Shakespeare (hence the lack of any really good quality plays about it!), is a very valid question for the small and medium size business!

While my natural inclination is generally to urge businesses to support and service their customers directly - after all the only one who can really tell you what you are doing wrong and right are the people paying for your service - there are sometimes very valid reasons to outsource your helpdesk and support operations.

As you helpdesk is your primary and first point of contact with customers, they are the people that your customers will most likely work with whenever they are having a problem.  The question to ask yourself though - especially if you are a smaller business - is ... is this the business you are a specialist in?  If your skills are in manufacturing or cooking, perhaps picking up a phone and troubleshooting a customers service issue is really not your forte!

You must remember, that to the customer calling in, the person on the other end of the line IS your company.  If your support staff are not well trained with the appropriate tools and resources available to them, then they are not going to be able to provide the answer that your customer is looking for.  If they are not knowledgeable and helpful, chances are good that your customers is going to feel the same way about your business too!

Now I think its self evident that many companies just don't have the resources for a high-quality help desk.  As companies focus on efficiencies and turnover the mandate for these businesses is generally getting through as many calls or emails as possible in the shortest amount of time.  While being responsive is an admirable goal, you NEVER want your staff rushing to get the customers off the line without providing the correct answer - this is a slippery slope and will only lead to unhappy customers and as I've been mentioned before you'll lose more business in the long run with unhappy customers than you can afford to.  When companies do not provide the help desk team with the appropriate resources, training or tools you have a recipe for failure. 

Please see my further posts for additional information on this topic.

Play to your strengths! - The Question of Outsourcing Part II
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