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Customer service (or rather lack of), can make or break eCommerce brands. Especially with review sites like Trustpilot being so prominent. So, if you want to provide the very best customer service without breaking the bank, it’s time to start thinking about using an outsourced contact centre service. Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know…

What is a contact centre?

A contact centre is a centralised point where all interactions with customers are funnelled and dealt with.

Customers contact businesses in many ways, from telephone calls to emails – and it’s the job of contact centres to deal with these enquiries – regardless of the format they take.

Contact centres are typically divided into two distinct types:

  • Inbound contact centres.
  • Outbound contact centres.

Inbound contact centres deal with enquiries from customers – providing advice, information, updates, and dealing with complaints.

Outbound contact centres are those that reach out to individuals – traditionally by phone.

In an eCommerce context, a contact centre will generally combine both of these functions – dealing with inbound enquiries from customers, and providing outbound communications, for example letting customers know about a change in the status of their order.

What is contact centre outsourcing?

Contact centre outsourcing refers to the scenario in which an eCommerce business partners with a third party who will run their contact centre on their behalf.

In other words, rather than going to the time and expense of setting up a contact centre in-house, an eCommerce brand chooses an outside company to deal with their inbound and outbound customer service requirements.

The advantages of contact centre outsourcing

Outsourcing your contact centre requirements can have a number of benefits for eCommerce brands. This is especially true if your eCommerce brand is in the early stages of growth and development.

Below, you’ll find the top benefits of contact centre outsourcing.

It’s cost-effective

Setting up a dedicated contact centre isn’t cheap. You need to pay for staff, equipment, software, and office space (and that’s just for starters!).

These are a mix of upfront and ongoing costs – which tie up a lot of your capital. This is capital which could often be better used on activities that’ll further grow your business, such as sales and marketing campaigns.

By outsourcing your contact centre to a third party, you’ll be able to benefit from great customer service, but at a fraction of the cost of setting up a contact centre in-house.

It improves customer experience

If you’re running a rapidly growing eCommerce brand, then you’re probably struggling to stay on top of the amount of customer enquiries you’re receiving.

This can lead to a sour taste in many consumers’ mouths.

With large eCommerce brands being able to provide answers to customer queries around the clock, customers have become used to getting relevant, comprehensive answers quickly.

If your brand is to compete in the crowded eCommerce space, you need to be able to respond to customers in the same timely fashion.

Outsourcing your contact centre allows you to do just that.

Access to expertise

Handling customer enquiries – especially varied enquiries – is a specialist skill.

It’s a skill that you and your internal team may not be particularly adept at. This is why it makes sense to outsource your contact centre to a specialist.

Think of it this way; a third party contact centre provider is focused solely on dealing with customer enquiries. They’ll have the experience, systems, processes, and people to deal with large volumes of enquiries professionally.

That’s something that would take you and your internal team likely years to develop.

Third party contact centres also tend to have advanced data collection tools and will be able to provide you with detailed analytics such as average wait times, the number of different types of enquiries and more.

These can be incredibly valuable insights and, again, aren’t something you’d necessarily be able to develop in-house.

Improved customer retention

According to a survey conducted by Gravy Solutions, 69% of people shop more frequently with brands that offer consistent customer service.

By outsourcing your contact centre, you can capture that 69% of people, with consistently good customer service.

Third party contact centres are incentivised to offer the very best customer service – plus, you can quantify this by asking them to report on KPIs around customer satisfaction and retention.

Improved availability

Related to the above point, outsourced contact centres can improve your customer retention rate simply because they make you more available to your customers.

What we mean by this, is that outsourced contact centres can be available 24-7 (or at least extended hours), so your customers can get the answers they want at any time of day.

This puts you on a similar footing to the very biggest eCommerce brands like Amazon, where customers return time after time because they can always get an answer about their orders…

The disadvantages of contact centre outsourcing

Like any form of outsourcing, contact centre outsourcing does have a few disadvantages. We’ve outlined these drawbacks below.

Less control

If you’re very concerned over controlling your brand’s messaging, then outsourcing your contact centre can diminish your level of control.

This is only a minor drawback, however, as many third party contact centre providers will work closely with you to establish things like tone of voice, the key messages that need to be conveyed etc.

Lack of industry knowledge

This isn’t a universal drawback, but rather a note of warning.

If you don’t select the right third party contact centre provider, then you may find they don’t have the detailed industry knowledge that is needed to provide a proper level of service to your customers.

This can be solved by only working with a third party contact centre that can provide a demonstrated track record of working in your industry.

Lack of qualitative feedback

Third party contact centres will be able to provide you with detailed analytics regarding call volumes and types. However, they may not be able to provide you with qualitative feedback, such as customer comments on the quality of your service or products.

This isn’t necessarily the end of the world though, as it’s possible for eCommerce brands to gather this qualitative feedback through other channels such as email surveys, social media platforms and on-site chatbots.

How outsourcing your contact centre can enhance the customer experience

As we’ve just seen, contact centre outsourcing comes with a whole host of benefits. Here at 3PL, our outsourced contact centre service stands out from the rest. Here’s why:

  • Your brand, in safe hands. Our team will work closely with your brand to understand your needs and ensure your customers receive the perfect support.
  • We’ll respond to your customers quickly. Our experienced support team is adept at responding to enquiries quickly and accurately.
  • Never miss an order again. Not only are our advisors able to expertly answer your customers’ questions, but they are able to process orders directly over the phone, taking payments in line with PCI compliance.
  • Industry-leading returns. Because 3PL also offers complete logistics and fulfilment, we can also handle your returns – delivering faster refunds and timely replacements – making you the envy of your competitors.
  • We’re more than an outsourced contact centre! As the point above mentions, 3PL also offers a complete range of eCommerce fulfilment services, meaning we are the one-stop-solution for the most ambitious eCommerce brands.

Speak to 3PL about your contact centre outsourcing today

It’s time to supercharge your customer service and overtake your competitors. Speak to 3PL today, and find out how we can take your contact centre operations to the next level.

Find out more about 3PL’s outsourced contact centre services now

For more eCommerce advice and information, read the 3PL blog

A Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Post-Purchase Customer Experience | When to Make the Switch From In-House to Outsourced Fulfilment? | 7 Strategies to Supercharge Your Omnichannel eCommerce Growth