Insights to help organizations manage globally distributed customer support partners

Author: Matthew Wolf

In a global economy shaped by rapid digitization, customers worldwide have come to expect 24×7, connected experiences, with seamless service and support in their own language no matter where they’re located. To meet these expectations, organizations are increasingly turning to globally distributed customer support partners with expertise in building out international support teams.

But ensuring a consistent customer experience and seamless operations across multiple separate entities can be incredibly challenging. In this article, we’ll explore some of the advantages and challenges of working with a global support partner. We’ll also share some tips to help you manage multiple global customer support partners in a more streamlined way.

The advantages of leveraging global customer support partners

Establishing global support teams is a tall order for all but the largest companies. Setting up the technologies, processes, and teams can prove time-intensive and cost prohibitive–especially in another part of the world. Plus, once up and running, it can take a lot of time to smooth out operations, which can frustrate customers and negatively impact business

By working with global customer support partners, organizations can bypass these hurdles. Experienced partners already have the infrastructure, methodologies, and personnel in place, which reduces costs and ramp-up time. Plus, because partners have expertise in running global support teams, they provide a more streamlined and positive experience for customers. They can even tailor service level agreements to fit an organization’s needs.

The challenges of working with multiple global outsourcing partners

While using partners has some clear advantages, organizations also face some drawbacks. It’s difficult to find one partner that can support multiple global locations. Which means that organizations must rely on multiple partners, each with their own disparate systems, tools, and methodologies.

To illustrate the problem, let’s say you’re a large technology provider with outsourcing partners in EMEA, APAC, and North America. Together these partners provide 24×7 support for your global customers. However, each partner uses different tools and methodologies that impact every aspect of business, from resource forecasting to issues escalation to reporting. While these tools work well internally, getting the tools and partners to integrate seamlessly poses a big challenge.

For example, imagine that your EMEA partner’s site goes down. Call and traffic load must shift to the other two partners. But without the necessary integrations, the partners who need to pick up this load do not have visibility into the other partner’s site. Reacting to this shift can take a long time, negatively impacting customers.

Monitoring call volumes, social media sentiments, and other customer satisfaction indicators is critical to your business. But disparate data sources and formats from multiple partners can require hours of manual work to extract actionable insights. And even after all that work, there are still gaps.

SLA considerations also factor in. While you may have SLAs with each subcontractor, you are ultimately responsible for global SLAs that are a function of the aggregate of each subcontractor’s performance. Even one subcontractor not meeting their SLA can have a significant impact on your SLA as a whole. Without robust monitoring and management of the overall ecosystem, it’s difficult to ensure that a single weak link doesn’t impact the global organization.

Tips for unifying disparate global outsourcing partners

To ensure your global, separately managed contact centers provide a seamless customer experience, choosing the right partners is key.

  • The right resume:  Above all else, they must have experience in supporting a global organization. Prioritize partners with proven expertise and a track record of delivering results.
  • The right technology: It’s crucial that your partners have the tools and technology required to aggregate differing data sets into actionable information. Many contact center partners either do not have a good monitoring platform, or they do have one but only use it for internal purposes, leaving critical information opaque to you and your team.
  • The right methodology: Ensure your partner has established processes to leverage data insights to proactively address and mitigate issues before they arise.

What a seamless experience looks like

Here’s one example of what a seamless experience between multiple outsourcing customers can look like. Microsoft’s Customer Service and Support (CSS) business runs more than a hundred contact centers worldwide. At the time, they were only monitoring about half the calls using repetitive and manual processes. They wanted to increase this to 100% through an automated solution.

Beyondsoft quickly scaled their operation using the Beyondsoft Intelligent Operations Platform (BIOPS). This prescriptive AI solution proactively monitors for potential issues to help mitigate risks and maximize efficiency.

Within months, Beyondsoft doubled the CSS organization’s monitoring capacity, increasing coverage to 100% while reducing incident response time—all without additional headcount. The BIOPS solution enabled CSS to trade manual processes for automated monitoring, issue detection, and alerts. The client was also able to automate ticket escalation and root cause analysis.

Giving customers a streamlined, consistent experience across the globe is critical to retaining and growing your customer base. With careful planning, experienced customer support partners, and the right intelligent and automated solutions, unifying globally distributed customer support partners is possible.

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