Customer service outsourcing is one of the most valuable tools available to community banks. When you outsource customer communications, not only will customers be more satisfied with your services, you can also save a lot of time. Outsourcing takes the complexity out of communications and gives you a tremendous competitive advantage.
The first step is hiring a dependable customer service provider. That’s easier said than done. Many providers will promise the world, but when it comes time to deliver, the services don’t live up to expectations. The remedy is to get a provider that truly cares about your customers. To help, we’ve prepared this guide to the essential do’s and don’ts of customer service outsourcing.
Do: Work with a Provider You Trust
If you’ve handled all customer communications in-house up to this point, it can be nerve-wracking to trust another company with this responsibility. This is why it’s important to work with providers that act as extensions of your community bank. Ideally, your customers shouldn’t even notice whether they’re speaking with a third-party vendor or your own in-house staff—it should be seamless.
When you meet with a provider, consider whether the provider understands your bank’s brand and culture. If you feel comfortable speaking with a provider, chances are your customers will too.
Don’t: Try to Do it All In-House
Even if you think you can continue to handle all of your own customer communications, there will come a time when the responsibility grows too large. As your community bank expands and you add new branches or services, you’ll need to hire more customer service staff. This is a problem because:
- You’ll spend more money hiring in-house staff compared with what you’d pay for customer service outsourcing;
- Your staff will feel overwhelmed whenever you add a new service or gain more customers;
- It’s hard to keep all of your staff on the same page and control the quality of their work.
Inevitably, something will slip through the cracks. You don’t want to lose a customer due to poor communication. Letting experts handle it can free up your staff and get your account holders what they need.
Do: Shop Around for a Good Deal
Ask the customer service outsourcing provider for a detailed proposal and cost estimate. This proposal should include information about:
- The platforms and banking technology the provider uses;
- What training their staff receives;
- How they control the quality of their communications;
- How they plan on incorporating their services into your banking process;
- Examples of past work or testimonials;
- The structure of the call center and how it operates;
- The total cost of all services (with no surprise fees).
It’s also helpful to ask about Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores, First-Call Resolution metrics, Net Promoter scores, or any other data that the provider collects that showcases its performance.
Don’t: Automatically Go with the Cheapest Option
While you should never go over budget for customer service outsourcing, the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best choice either. You need a provider that has a great track record. It’s wiser to work with a trusted provider that charges slightly more for its services than it is to gamble on a provider that charges less but has a spotty reputation.
A subpar customer service provider is actually worse than having no provider at all. If your customers have a bad experience with a customer service agent, they could consider taking their accounts elsewhere. Customer service agents are the friendly face of your bank, and that’s worth every penny.
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Do: Partner with an End-to-End Customer Service Provider
End-to-end customer service outsourcing is a great way to streamline operations and keep everything under one roof. Some of the best providers offer:
- Dedicated loan management and servicing software for community banking;
- Inbound and outbound contact support;
- Sales and lead generation;
- Friendly welcoming calls to new customers;
- Well-trained call centers;
- Data analytics;
- Collections management;
- Loan and lease care;
- Multilingual communications;
- Online help centers;
- Collections and back-office processing;
- And other advanced processing services.
These providers go above and beyond traditional call center duties. When a customer calls to ask about a loan application, they won’t be forwarded to one of your in-house loan experts. Customer service providers with industry experience can accurately answer your customers’ inquiries, no matter how complex. By keeping everything under one roof, you’ll make it easier for your customers to get immediate answers. Your customers will also have greater trust in your bank because your representatives are extremely knowledgeable and professional.
Don’t: Work with Inexperienced or Unspecialized Providers
Many customer service outsourcing providers set up call centers in remote areas of the world and don’t specialize in community banking specifically. Their customer service representatives may not have an understanding of the loan servicing process or other complex questions your customers have. These services are also often monolingual (only offering assistance in English), so they are not ideal for community banks that serve a diverse group of customers that speak many different languages.
Your customers will feel like they’re being given the runaround if they have a question the customer service representative can’t answer—and the burden will still fall on your own in-house staff to answer.
Getting the Most Value Out of Customer Service Outsourcing
The most important thing to consider when outsourcing customer service is whether representatives have experience in community banking. Community bank needs are very different from retailers and other businesses. They need a call center that can effortlessly field questions about loan applications, loan payments, interest rates, and more.
The whole point of customer service outsourcing is to make banking communications simpler and more professional. When you hire an end-to-end provider that considers every little detail, you’ll put your best foot forward and ensure that your customers feel supported and appreciated.
defi SOLUTIONS is an LOS, Servicing, and processing services provider offering end-to-end solutions to community banks. We have years of experience providing top-notch customer services to community lenders using our proprietary communication model, Customer Connection. If you’re ready to get started, contact our team today or register for a demo.
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