Paolo Fabrizio
January 29, 2016

The Risks of Outsourcing Social Customer Service

When brands decide to integrate social networks within their customer service, they have to consider some operational implications. Definitely one of the Hamletic questions is: “shall we handle social conversations internally, or would it be better outsource them?

Of course there is no black or white. However, if you opt in for outsourcing, be aware that you may be having a ‘controlling issue’ with your third-party vendor.

So I wrote this post to help you prevent problems with your customers in such cases.

External assistance, external timeliness 🙁

Let me give you an example with a case recently occurred to a friend of mine. He had to contact his internet provider because the router was down, making him unable to access his web service. As he needs internet for work he immediately called the contact centre of the internet provider and urged the agent to send a technician with a brand new router.

That was the first day. Then he sent a tweet the second day.

– Please note that the Company has a 2-day policy for any intervention –

Nevertheless nothing happened on the third day, so my friend had to call the contact centre again, plus he also sent a new tweet. As you can imagine, he was getting nervous because the only answer that he got was that ‘he would be contacted very soon’.

The fourth day may be entitled ‘the sound of silence…’

Finally, the technician intervened on the fifth day and replaced the router with a new one (with a 3-day delay compared to company’s policy).

SLAs vs Outsourcing

Outsourcing knot

Credit image: Unsplash

So, what’s the moral of this story?

The above mentioned example was a typical issue due to lack of control by the Company. In fact they offer customers a 2-day policy but are unable to keep their promise because there is a discrepancy between their internal service level agreements and those of their vendor.

TIP: do have the same people to define internal SLAs and negotiate external ones with vendors. Make sure that they always make a comparison between both of them before approving providers’ SLAs. If you don’t double check it you will be exposed to risks (customer issues and complaints!)

Improve channel efficiency before adding new ones

In 2016, customers demand fast resolutions to their issues regardless of the channel they use to get in touch with your brand. Therefore, your first concern must be to improve customer experience using your current channels.

For instance, if your brand deals with customer queries via phone (contact centre) and email, both channels must be aligned in order to deliver a seamless experience. If one channel is not efficient, many customers will revert to the other, causing a ‘conversation traffic jam’ that will consequently affect overall customer satisfaction . 

In that regard, I’ve recently hosted the social customer service expert Luke Porter in my podcast. During that interview, one of Luke’s quotes particularly impressed me :

Consistency across channels is essential: brands need to become channel-agnostic.

Your turn

Customer Churn is one of the worst nightmares for customer service managers. Today more than ever, it’s crucial to keep promises to build and preserve customer’s TRUST.

Do remember that the social customer is just one click away from your competitors.

Have great social conversations.


Lead/Featured image:

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Paolo Fabrizio

Digital Customer Service Consultant, Trainer, Author, Speaker. Paolo has been helping companies to harness digital customer service as a business driver. Founder of CustomerServiceCulture, author of books and speaker at conferences in Italy and abroad. Lecturer at the Bicocca University of Milan
Filed Under: Tagged With: Customer Service, SLAs, social customer service