In the current business setup, synonymous with a high competition rate, it’s overly critical to focus on value-adding tasks and waste no time on less significant assignments. True, functions like providing customer support can improve your company’s bottom line or reputation. But do you need to perform them as a business owner, entrepreneur, or executive? Or you can outsource to customer service agents and concentrate on administrative and marketing tasks?
This is where virtual customer service comes in.
To be successful and stay ahead of the competition, businesses must prioritize offering impeccable customer service 24/7. When you outsource mundane yet critical tasks, you shall have guaranteed that your customers’ concerns will be addressed throughout. Customer service agents can be the answer you need for your customer base. And the reward? You’ll create more time to explore new business opportunities and increase your market outreach.
Some established companies prefer having a dedicated support team or contracting an outsourced customer service company. But that’s usually expensive, considering that virtual assistants offer the same services, if not better.
Furthermore, you don’t have to spend on office space, additional taxes, maintenance costs, employee benefits, etc., when you outsource customer service to a virtual assistant.
What to Expect from this Article
Redirecting customer requests to an outsourced call center, or hiring customer support agents to provide support for the buyer’s journey can seem overwhelming at first glance.
In this comprehensive guide on virtual customer service, we’ll enlighten you on;
- How to outsource customer service to a virtual assistant
- Tips for providing outstanding service and customer satisfaction
- Top software for virtual customer service
- Quality assurance by way of customer support outsourcing
- Establishing customer loyalty and customer retention
- General customer service outsourcing tips
- The types of companies that need to offer outsourced customer service virtually
So let’s get started.
How to Outsource Customer Service to a Virtual Assistant?
When starting or looking to grow your business, deciding on which services to delegate can be challenging. A support team is essential, but if you can’t hire contract workers or a center service, where would you turn to next for customer service outsourcing?
What happens during every customer interaction needs to be well thought through and managed efficiently (especially for small business owners). That’s why we’ve decided to lay down five little-known secrets to efficient virtual customer service outsourcing.
Establish Your Brand Voice plus Tone Guidelines
Your customers are used to how you communicate with them — be it through direct calls, live chats, or branding. Customer satisfaction is more than the UX of your product or service, it extends to every corner of your company, including accessing customer service professionals.
When seeking external support, you want to ensure that your VA sounds precisely like the in-house team. But how?
- Establish brand guidelines that dictate what the outsourced team can and cannot say
- Create a list of hypothetical situations they may have to handle and see how they go about it
- Train them on how to handle naturally antagonizing customers
Consider Multiple Options
Don’t be in a hurry to hire when searching for the right outsourced customer service representative. Some contact centers are excellent in handling high-volume, mundane tasks, whereas others excel in more in-depth situations.
You also want to consider critical factors such as;
- Timezone differences
- Language needs
- Support volume, among others
To be on the safer side, we recommend hiring a VA that qualifies for these three bare minimums. That is, the one that can meet the minimum support volume, speaks the same language, and stays in a similar timezone as you.
Consider Security and Legal Risks
Looking at your internal security posture, will it be at risk if you allow a third party to access your files? If yes, you must beef up security by restricting access to sensitive customer data and information like health records, payment card details, social security numbers, etc.
And another thing, before signing any legally binding contract with the virtual service representative, let your legal team review the documents to ensure that no security threat window is left unclosed.
Invest in Tools
Since it’s not an in-house arrangement, you’ll need to keep in touch with your VA team every often. Investing in modern tools like Zoom, Skype, or Slack can make the process extraordinarily hassle-free and efficient.
Moreover, if you’re billing your outsourced customer support team directly, Zirtual is an excellent option for managing your expenses and invoices. It sends invoices, reports, and organizes expenses.
Train Your Virtual Team
Regardless of how tight your schedule is, ensure you squeeze some time to train your new virtual team. Training is extremely vital because the quality of customer support offered can be a break or make for your business.
Did you know that 65% of customers are likely to spread negative feedback about your business if they face even one bad customer experience? This shows how critical it is to deliver impeccable outsourced customer service throughout. And you can only be sure of realizing that feat by adequately training your outsourced team.
Tips for Providing Great Virtual Customer Service
Customers don’t care whether they’re getting the support they need virtually or on-premise; their expectations will always remain high, regardless. Here are four actionable tips you can implement to provide excellent virtual customer service:
Establish a Connection with the Clients
In this era of social media, building a personal connection has never been easier. Make a quick scan on the clients’ social media platforms to find out their interest areas. Perhaps they live in the same location as you do, or you support similar sports teams. Spare a minute to establish those connections as it can have a massive impact on the client.
Practice Timely Response
Timely response applies both ways depending on your responsibility as a VA. For instance, if a company tasks you with the role of writing content for their website, you must acknowledge receipt to let your clients know that you’ve accepted the order and that you’re working on it.
Likewise, if your role as a VA is to answer customer questions, you must provide immediate and accurate feedback to enhance the customer experience. The initial response is important for a customer service agent, whether they’re handling questions, processing transactions, or taking general customer service calls.
Ask for Feedback
Asking customers for feedback benefits the business in two fundamental ways. For one, the company gets to point out features of its products or services that it can modify accordingly. Also, asking for feedback makes the clients feel valued, and you can leverage that to establish a long-lasting connection.
Unlike an in-house team, the virtual service team is always free to dictate their working schedule. Have clear-cut customer service hours or inform clients when they should expect a response to eliminate any confusion or frustrations. If you’re going to be off for a few days, you should keep your clients informed ahead of time.
Top Software for Virtual Customer Support
When provided with the best tools for the job, one virtual assistant can perform the tasks of a full-house outsourced customer service team. Here are the top five software you can leverage to offer excellent virtual customer service:
Zirtual Assistant is your one-stop software for unparalleled virtual customer service. It provides lots of incredible features and tools, including but not limited to expenses & invoice management, calendar management, scheduling, email management, research, and data entry.
LiveAgent is a platform-based service that has plausible call center tools like transfers and call routing. Moreover, it includes advanced features like callbacks and recordings, enabling customers to communicate with your team even when agents are preoccupied or missing.
HubSpot Service Hub
Service Hub is an all-inclusive customer support outsourcing software that consolidates several useful tools into one platform. These include a help desk, an advanced ticketing system, a knowledge base system, a free live chat tool, and many more.
If you’re looking for virtual customer service software with arguably the best live chatting setup, Intercom has got you covered. The software installs chat widgets on your mobile app, website, and product to help customers receive instant chat support whenever they need it.
Freshdesk is a feature-studded customer service software that’s suitable for businesses of all scales. Some of its most remarkable features include instant email notification, ticket management, omnichannel support, a knowledge base, and a team inbox. Plus, it has a self-service portal that’s accessible 24/7 for top-notch customer support service.
What Types of Companies Need to Offer Outsourced Customer Service (Virtually)
Although virtual customer service isn’t only a preserve for particular companies, the following categories are likely to benefit more:
Founding a company and developing its products from scratch often involves a beehive of activities. As you sort after investors to pump in more funds and take care of other administrative roles, you may not find time to respond to prospective clients.
And since you may lack enough funds to set up an in-house customer support department, delegating the services to a virtual contact center may be the most reasonable option.
As an eCommerce business owner, you can’t afford to be overwhelmed, especially now that most people have embraced shopping online. An eCommerce virtual assistant comes in handy to handle routine tasks.
- Responding to customer queries
- Processing orders
- Updating price information
- Ensuring customer satisfaction
- Managing returns or exchanges
- Publicizing promotions
- Managing your finances
- Conducting market research
- high customer retention
Training and maintaining an on-premise IT department is very costly. In the United States, a basic tech support specialist earns an average annual salary of $52,823. Hiring a temporary IT tech specialist is equally a bad idea due to the lack of adequate investment, both financially and mentally. Tech companies can avoid all these by outsourcing their virtual customer service reps to well-trained VA’s from credible sites like Zirtual as they tend to be less costly and more efficient comparatively.
These are just a few examples of companies that can benefit from delegating virtual customer assistance to a 3rd party. Others include production, tourism & travel, transportation & logistics companies, and many more.
Ready to Get Started with Top-Quality Virtual Customer Service?
As more companies continue flooding the market and surging customer support demand, the quality of outsourcing customer service has depreciated significantly. Therefore, when looking for a virtual customer service provider, it’s overly essential to consider a company with a proven track record, quality resources & software, and a customer satisfaction guarantee.
Here at Zirtual, we boast of the best-trained VA team dedicated to helping business owners and executives get back hours by taking over customer support. Our Zirtual assistants have the right skills and expertise to deal with all sorts of customers courteously and professionally. Get in touch with us today for dedicated, quality virtual assistant services.