By: Luis Artiz, Chief Strategy Officer at Helpt
Today, the vast majority of customer support calls to US-based companies are being routed and answered by call centers outside the United States. Cost savings is overwhelmingly the key driver to outsourcing calls. While reducing corporate overhead is important to shareholder dividends, customer experience at all parts of the buying cycle, including post-sales, is essential in a continually competitive market.
The quality of a company’s customer support function can vary based on a variety of factors, including the training and background of the support staff, the availability of documentation, and the nature of the customer’s issue. However, even beyond the quality of the agents’ skills, there are advantages to having domestic customer support:
- Language proficiency: Customers may find it easier to communicate their issues and concerns with support agents who speak their native language fluently, without any language barriers.
- Cultural familiarity: Agents staff may have a better understanding of the cultural norms and expectations of customers, which can help them provide more personalized and effective support.
- Time zone and availability: Domestic support agents are likely to be in the same time zone as the customers they support, making it easier for them to offer timely assistance during business hours, including escalating to the company’s level 3 support if needed.
- Legal and regulatory compliance: Agents are likely to be more familiar with the legal and regulatory requirements of their home country, which can help ensure that support interactions are compliant with relevant laws and regulations.
- Brand image: Some customers may perceive a company that provides domestic support as more committed to supporting their local community and economy, which can positively influence their perception of the brand.
Ultimately, a company’s success will ride on their ability to continually sell their products and services. Unfortunately, companies forget that the purchase process is a relationship that is more complex than just the object sold: the customer needs to buy into the brand’s promise. That promise is an amalgamation of product reliability, sales process, features delivered, and after-sales support. The support function is key, as it tells the customer that the company stands by the product and that they care about the customer so much that they will continue to talk with them after money has exchanged hands. Offering customer and technical support that is empathetic and sensitive is key. Domestic support shows that the company understands the nuances of their customers’ communication needs, as they are willing to break the outsourcing norm to go the extra step.