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In-house or Outsourced Support, Which one to choose?

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Published on: April 21, 2017 by George K.

In-house  or Outsourced Support, Which one to choose?

Scenario:

You started a great journey of building your own empire by following the words of your heart and dreams through dedication, perseverance,investment of time, money and health. Every journey meets with road blocks and your’s is not going to be an exceptional one. Converting the challenges to possibilities is the real trait of leaders which distinguishes them from the followers.

Contrary to the common belief of “Price matters the most”, various studies have proven that clients move from one company to another based on their customer support experiences. Your highly strategical marketing and sales team might be able to woo the customer for the first time. But its the quality of the support that makes the end users happy and it  defines the nature and duration of  your relationship with the client.

Working Extra Hours Vs Support Team

This is the most common dilemma when an entrepreneur seriously thinks about support quality. You might be highly confident in your technical skills and enjoy being in regular contact with your precious clients.  But as time progress,  expansion of the business necessitates multiple levels of involvements and sticking to the all rounder approach may not be sufficient to manage the growing pain with enthusiasm.

We are humans and being in business doesn’t make you spared from common day to day worries and chaos. You or your dear ones can be ill. There will be situations which needs your physical presence, with no means to be in touch with your clients. Your absence for such periods won’t be acceptable for the clients always and can make them to turn around for other choices.

Clients are the only reason for your company’s existence. Even with best efforts, you are destined to loose some of the clients on the fly even for reasons beyond your control. For instance, a new financial policy of the government could badly affect your client and they may reduce or stop the business with you. If you heavily depend on this client and devotes your entire time for it alone, you will be in a bitter situation as you have no other major revenues to move the company forward.

Focusing entirely on the day to day operations or invest your potential time on such routine tasks will burn you out soon and makes company in stagnated state. So it is imperative that you should device a way to unload the burden of daily client management from your shoulders to competent team so that you can focus on implementation of novel ways to augment the business growth.

How can I employ a team with such limited resources?

Trust me, trillions of investors around the world asked the same question multiple times.

Setting up the company might have drained a major chunk of your resources and hence it is natural to be hesitant about moving with the plan of employing a team for the fear of additional financial woes.  Still, it is found that those who worked with the arithmetic alone failed to make the progress as they envisaged.

The availability of a support team or admin with the craft will relieve you from the regular responsibilities such a helpdesk management, live chat support etc. This makes you more relaxed and gives you ample time to invest and focus on newer thoughts and ideas to expand the business in an authoritative way.

Should I go for Outsourced Support or Build My team?

Whether it is Outsourced or In house, the prime concern is the quality of support. You will have N reasons to vouch for one being superior to the other. Here I am trying to make an objective analysis of the two streams of support so that you can make an informed decision when you are in need.

When the owner entrusts some one for the support of the clients, he will be of the same state of mind of a mother who leaves her child at the creche. The difference here is that while you have practically no options to avoid physical presence of the baby minder for your angel, your brain child ie your company doesn’t necessarily need a support team at your premise.

You can have the same level of control with your support team which is geographically located on another continent with a different language, culture and time zone. Before making a decision about the way to proceed, let us analyze the various factors which are to be considered while making the choice between an In house and outsourced support.

A. Infrastructure Cost

Setting up of an office demands relatively higher investments. The costs shoots up with the locations with better accessibility and connectivity and are essential for a support team to offer 24/7 availability.  Some investments such as  parking area, re-recreational rooms, security systems etc.  are essential for setting up a smooth conductive environment for your employees, which affects or enhances the productivity in an intangible  way.

The major advantage of in house team is that you have absolute choice and control over the resources, be it be the devices or the team. Besides it is more convenient for you to be with the team and can build personal relationships, which can create tremendous results.

On the other side, infrastructure costs are quite low in countries like India. Much of the cities in India have good infrastructure facilities in terms of network and power connectivity for smooth Internet operations. So if you wish to build your own team or support company at a city like Chennai or Cochin, it will be quite cheaper than setting up one in NewYork or Manchester. You may also carve a team of your choice from a professional company, which provides staffing solutions at highly reduced price when compared with the same in your locality.

The major disadvantage of outsourced support is that you are left with no choices to ensure the quality of infrastructure other than the company claims. However things are much improved in companies operates from cities and cyber parks. But the possibilities of power and network outages are still higher and efficient backup systems are a dare necessity as well.

So if you plan to outsourced the support, don’t be fascinated by the rates alone. Make a detailed study about the infrastructure facilities and arrange for a visit, if possible, to be confident about the core essential requirements.

B. Staff Availability and Retention

Your team is the one which makes your clients happy and encourage them to refer new clients for you. So its imperative that selection of right resource is of paramount attention. However getting talents with the right skillet can be a tedious task.
To hire a talent, you have to invest on Advertisement, head hunter fees and then salary. The process repeats if the employee is unsuitable or moves to another company. So the process of talent capturing and retention demands too much time and expenses other than salary.
In outsourced scenario, as majority of the companies are operating from cities and are working on same verticals, people with the particular skill set tend to settle within the proximity and hence staff availability, retention or replacement are much more quicker and easier. So there is no need for you to make all these unnecessary expenses and can choose or drop an employee based on your satisfaction level.

During the recruitment of an in house team, you can perform a direct interview and can perform back ground verification from his previous employer or even from enforcement authorities.

In outsourced support, you can’t confirm the genuineness of the data being provided. Employee background verification is not possible as you seldom has any knowledge about the employee outside the company identity and are totally blank about his previous associations.

C. Operational Expenses

Operation expenses can be varied based on the requirements and every managements prefers to keep it minimal.

Outsourced support gives you the advantage to keep your operational expenses to a fixed amount, as you no longer need to spend on fixing broken pipes, chairs etc. other than the fixed team cost. Also you can save payments towards statuary employee benefits such as insurance, pension schemes etc. It also exempts you from the legal liabilities related with workplace issues such as sexual abuse or racism and is a cherry on the cake.

On the flip side cost reduction can affect the service quality and may hinder your spontaneous growth. Assume that you are into video editing business, which requires advanced and custom infrastructure. Due to time restrictions and cost advantage, you may assign a part of the work to an outsourced firm which promises stars and moon. There is high possibility for the company to abstain form making the same level of investment on infrastructure as you do, due to the fear of ROI. Instead they may end up with some make shift arrangements such as rented facilities or re-outsource to some one else. During the process dilution of job description can happen which results in reduced output quality and affects your good will and reputation.

D. 24/7 Availability

Issues can pop up at any time and you can’t ask your clients to wait for another 10 hours for your staffs availability. As long as the client and you make a living through it, any type of service interruption is of utmost importance. So there can’t be any compromise on 24/7 support availability.

An in-house team has some level of limitations when it comes to 24/7 support, especially if the clients are spanned across different time zones. The cost involved with a team to cover nights and weekends can be an expensive deal as well. Also ensuring support during highly active sales promotional periods such as Halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas and new year sales is a hectic deal as the staff prefers to be on vacation during these periods.

In outsourced support, as the mentioned periods may not got any importance in their country and even if so, the time zone difference helps you to manage the things without much damage. Besides regular  support, an outsourced team can pump in more staffs to meet the high influx of client for sales and technical support activities during such active promotional periods.

E. Invest more on sales and marketing

Each moment brings up new changes and challenges. The technology which was promising and lucrative a couple of years back is an obsolete one now. So one should be able to observe the changes to pitch in at the right moment to keep the show going.

Having support team, whether it is in-house or outsourced, helps you to get some extra moments to analyze situations and work on solutions with catalytic effect to the growth of the company. The relatively lower expenses of outsourced support scheme helps you to invest more on implementation of better solutions which will enhance the customer confidence and trust.

Nothing is better than word of mouth and a good customer is the best testimony and advertisement for a
company.

We will be discussing about the other aspects of outsourced support in the coming articles.

 

Part 2: Things To Consider While Outsourcing

Part 3 : How To Choose a Good Support Company

Category : General

George K.

George K.

George started his career in web hosting and Linux technical support in the year 2004 and is with SupportSages since 2009. He has keen interest in server optimizations, custom security solutions, hacked server recovery, cyber forensic and high availability fail over system design and implementation. George loves long drives and is passionate about art and literature.

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