Wondering if you should outsource your technical support or not?
There’s no doubt that technical support is a vital part of any company.
After all, users could request technical assistance at any time and they don’t like to wait. And as your business expands and the more customers you’ll acquire, the more technical assistance you’ll have to provide.
But providing customer support for technical issues with an in-house support team can get incredibly costly and difficult to manage..
So should you outsource technical support instead?
In this article, we’ll have a closer look at what this would involve, to help you decide if this form of business process outsourcing (BPO) is for you. We’ll also look at its pros and cons to help you make a more informed decision.
This Article Contains:
- What Is Outsourcing Technical Support?
- Is Outsourcing Technical Support The Right Option For You?
- 4 Pros Of Outsourcing Technical Support
- 3 Cons Of Outsourcing Technical Support
- 8 Excellent Companies For Outsourcing Technical Support
What Is Outsourcing Technical Support?
Technical support is a service that most businesses provide to customers that helps them deal primarily with technology or software issues.
In technical support outsourcing, you hire a third-party to handle the technical support of your company’s products and services. This allows you to focus on more important things that would help your business grow — like developing a new product.
Recently, technical support outsourcing has seen exponential growth due to the availability of highly skilled support agents in regions with favorable salary brackets, like the Philippines or India.
But what kinds of technical support could you outsource?
You could cover your customer’s entire pre and post-sales lifecycle by outsourcing technical support tasks like:
- Software activations.
- Installation and repair.
- Account management.
- Warranty support.
You could even outsource support for custom applications or any major platforms that your business integrates with.
Is Outsourcing Technical Support The Right Option For You?
Outsourcing technical support gives your customers access to quick and simple resolutions across multiple channels. This could range from mobile apps that support virtual assistants to an email support help desk, or even contact centers where a live support agent helps them resolve issues.
And this isn’t just about outsourcing to inbound call centers that handle customer queries. You can also outsource to outbound call centers, who can extend customer care by following-up on updates or technical resolutions to ensure that everything is still running smoothly.
Sure, outsourcing technical support isn’t the only way to optimize your technical support business process. But it’s one of the best ways as you save on tons of costs like hiring and training support agents.
However, outsourcing isn’t always viable.
That’s why businesses need to know when they should or shouldn’t outsource their technical support.
A. When you should outsource
Do your common technical issues have a set response?
If they do, outsourcing helps you improve efficiency and you can scale your technical support services based on your needs.
As most of these queries are generic, an outsourced agent can be trained to deal with these standard responses and won’t really face many issues when dealing with customers.
B. When you shouldn’t outsource
If your tech issues need individual attention and the solutions differ on a case-by-case basis, technical support outsourcing may not be the best choice for you. Remember, dealing with unique customer requests requires thorough knowledge of the product.
That’s why it’s better to let an in-house agent, who’s extremely familiar with your product, deal with this.
Here’s an example to help you understand when you should decide to outsource:
Company A sells consumer electronics that have a lot of similar technical queries.. Here, outsourcing their technical support services makes sense.
Company B sells niche electronic items to a targeted audience. Due to the nature of the product, the technical queries are more varied. So, the outsourced IT help desk staff should have a decent amount of domain knowledge and expertise to respond correctly.
In this case, it would be better for company B to invest in an in-house support team to take care of these operations.
4 Pros Of Outsourcing Technical Support
There are tons of benefits that come with outsourcing your technical support. However, different benefits appeal to different businesses.
So here’s a look at some of the most common reasons why people outsource their tech support:
1. Reduced Costs
IT personnel have an average income of $62,000 per year.
By outsourcing your technical support, you’ll save yourself from shouldering this cost entirely.
Moreover, when you have a people-centric technical support cell (as opposed to an automated service) outsourcing to a low-cost region, like India, might be a good idea. Call center outsourcing is a good example of this.
But lower salaries aren’t the only benefit.
Instead of wasting your time and money on sourcing, hiring and training support agents, your outsourced agency takes care of all of this for you!
Additionally, you won’t have to oversee all these tasks on your own, helping you focus on other important business processes. You also won’t have to shoulder day-to-day operation overheads like electricity, internet or office space rental for your agents.
2. Flexibility In Scaling Up (Or Down)
The volume of customer queries you receive never stays the same.
There’ll be times when there are more requests than you can handle, and times when your agents are idling as there are barely any requests coming in.
This is when you have to decide to either expand or downsize your team in response to the situation.
Naturally, if you were doing this with an in-house team, this could be a problem. If you need to scale up, hiring new agents is going to be very costly and time-consuming. On the other hand, scaling down would require firing your employees – which comes with it’s own set of issues.
But if you outsource, the service provider is the one responsible for expansion or downsizing, depending on what your business needs are.
You’ll save yourself the hassle of hiring tech support employees when you’re swamped with work and letting them go when there are not as many support calls coming in. This helps you save a lot of time and money in the long run.
3. Focus On Your Core Business, Not Tech Support
When you run a business, your focus should always be on developing your core business functions. So, whatever you consider as a secondary function should ideally be outsourced.
As most businesses don’t focus on IT support – and instead focus on other aspects like product innovation, outsourcing their technical support makes sense.
Outsourcing technical support will let you focus on your primary product and on what you do best. Let your outsourced agents deal with daily technical concerns and customer interactions instead.
4. Harness Tech Advances to Speed Up, Not Slow Down
Providing tech support is probably not the primary focus of your business. So, investing in the latest technologies that help you with it won’t be at the top of your expense list.
Additionally, you may not want to waste your IT support staff’s time by training them over a new product that won’t necessarily contribute directly to your business growth.
Outsourcing technical support helps you avoid this dilemma.
Since technical support is their primary focus, your BPO vendors would be well-informed with the latest advances in IT services, and therefore, be better equipped to handle your customers’ queries.
You also won’t have to bear the costs of upgrading equipment or software, since this would be your service provider’s responsibility!
3 Cons Of Outsourcing Technical Support
While outsourcing your technical support comes with a lot of benefits, it’s not without its drawbacks.
Let’s take a look at some problems you could face when outsourcing your tech support team:
1. Quality Control May Be Out Of Your Hands
When you outsource, a third party will be handling technical support — which means you’ll have virtually no control over the quality of service provided.
In-house tech support will have the benefit of being familiar with the product and will possess more technical know-how when dealing with customers. And when it’s performed in-house, it’ll be easy for you to monitor how each query was handled and resolved.
However, when you outsource, you’re not responsible for onboarding new agents. This means you’ll have no idea if they’re properly trained for the job or not. There’s also limited scope for you to monitor how well they’re dealing with your customers as you’re not there in person.
But don’t worry, in most cases, outsourced agents are well-trained and extremely professional.
2. Limitations In “Trouble Ticketing”
Outsourced call center agents aren’t your employees. They have no in-house experience working on your product, and they likely aren’t technical experts in your field.
When a query falls outside of a standardized problem resolution, they’ll probably have to revert the question to you to help them troubleshoot.
If your guidelines can sufficiently outline all (or at least, most of) your technical resolutions, then outsourcing is an option. But when it gets too complicated, investing in your in-house support for the long run is probably more worthwhile.
3. Outsourcing Creates Less Direct Contact With Customers
Having an outsourced technical support team means there’s a buffer between you and any direct feedback from your customers.
You can get feedback, but it will go through several people before it reaches you, so potentially crucial information can be missed.
If customer feedback and the resulting resolution is vital to the betterment of your product, having in-house technical support is probably a good idea.
Getting your technical support right is one of the most important things for any modern business. Not only does it play a huge role in customer satisfaction, but it can also go a long way to building up your brand’s reputation.
And since technical support is so vital to improving customer experience, it makes sense to be very careful about how you handle it.
So whether you’re a start-up, SMB, or even a large corporation, go over the information we talked about here to determine if outsourcing your technical support is a good idea. And if it is, start by evaluating the companies we listed to find the best fit for your business.