Outsourcing your Technical Support Process: Good, Bad, or Both?
Managing costs is one of the biggest challenges facing every business, large or small, in the 21st century. With the rapid advancement and adoption of technology, companies of all sizes are facing increasing financial strain on budgets. One of the easiest ways for companies to save money is to outsource specific business operations to an outside management or support service provider.
Outsourcing technical support to an outside provider is something that every business should consider. It doesn’t matter if your business is a fresh startup or a well-established corporation; there are good reasons for outsourcing for any business. But why are more and more organizations outsourcing technical support? Consider the following key factors:
- #1 Lack of skilled labor in-house
- #2 Availability of cheap, qualified labor elsewhere
- #3 Ability to focus resources elsewhere
At the end of the day, the question is whether the decision to outsource is good, bad, or a mix of both. There are benefits and drawbacks to entrusting your technical support to outside vendors, and each of these will vary in importance and impact from company to company. The only way to determine the feasibility of outsourcing is to carefully consider both sides of the debate and analyze how they will impact your company.
Benefits of Outsourcing
The first benefit that will come to mind for the fiscally conservative is cost reduction. Let’s set aside for a moment the cost of maintaining telephonic systems and paying for VOIP services, outsourcing your technical support to a third-party specialist transfers the cost burden associated with hiring and training tech support specialists, setting up resources, and maintain systems to the outside specialist.
Outsourcing your technical support reduces the people cost your business faces, while also providing the peace of mind that knowledgeable, highly-trained associates will be assist your clientele when issues arise.
Next we come to flexibility. As your business grows you need your systems and infrastructure to keep pace so that customers don’t pay the price for hiccups in service or coverage. If you keep your technical support service in-house there are two potential problems involved when it comes to scalability.
If your business experiences rapid growth, you might struggle to find quality team members to work in your technical support group and clients will suffer through longer waits. On the flip side, if you find your company has too many technical support specialists, you are burning money on employees sitting around waiting to tackle problems that aren’t popping up.
By outsourcing your technical support to an outside vendor, you have transferred the responsibility for scaling up or down to them. You are paying them to add qualified staff during expansion or scale down services when contraction occurs. It is their responsibility to absorb those shocks and adjust on the fly.
Last but not least, there is the concept of the company’s focus. Every company has a limited budget and limited resources, and those resources need to be able to tackle all of your business’s needs appropriately. Outsourcing your technical support services to a third-party vendor can free up resources (funds, people, and infrastructure) for use on core business processes.
Without the burden of staffing, funding, and maintaining a technical support group, your company can focus its efforts on perfecting its core business processes to ensure clients are receiving the best possible services and products directly from your company.
Disadvantages of Outsourcing
Like any decision in life and business, there is bad that has to be swallowed with the good when outsourcing your technical support services to a third-party vendor. Although it would be possible to highlight a number of potential concerns, there are only two major concerns that your company should have when considering entrusting your technical support to an outside vendor.
First and foremost, you’ll have to accept a loss of quality control over your company’s technical support service. When you entrust your business’s technical support services to an outside vendor, you are entrusting them with the responsibility of hiring experienced individuals and properly training those tech support specialists.
This means that you have given up control over what employees will do to ensure your customers are getting the very best in service. Will they go the extra mile to solve problems? Will they provide correct, accurate solutions for your customers?
Additionally, outsourcing your technical support puts a degree of distance between your business and the clients and customers that drive your business. This isn’t to say that you won’t know what is going on with your technical support. Your business will receive data and information in droves to show how your technical support needs are being handled.
But on the other side of that, you will lack direct insights from your customers and a certain sense of “humanism” in the eyes of your customers.
One final concern that all business should keep in mind is the potential for exposing confidential customer data. While there is a risk for data exposure whether your business keeps tech support in-house or outsources it, when it is kept in-house you can at least rest-assured knowing that the security of your company’s confidential data is in your hands.
Keep in mind though that your business will face the added cost of securing confidential data. Respectable outside vendors include security in their service packages and use some of the best data protection services available to keep your data secure.
As mentioned, there are two sides to every coin and you’ll notice that when mulling over the decision to outsource your tech support to a third-party vendor. For most businesses, the benefits of outsourcing are going to exceed the negatives. With that said, doing so is something that cannot be carbon copied from company to company.
Determining if outsourcing is right for your business requires the insight of a professional outside vendor. Trusting your technical support services to an outside vendor with a proven track record will not only provide you the chance to analyze your business needs, but also maximizes the benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.