Technical Support Outsourcing: A Strategy for Business Growth
Potential challenges like communication barriers and loss of quality control can be mitigated through careful vendor selection, service-level agreements, and ongoing management. Overall, outsourcing technical support functions like help desk services, troubleshooting, and customer service can provide manpower flexibility, specialized skills, and budget efficiency to enable business growth.
Providing prompt and effective technical support to customers is crucial to business success. This is why organizations must decide whether technical support outsourcing is right for them.
What Is Technical Support?
Technical support refers to helping customers troubleshoot and resolve technical, product- or service-related issues. Its main goal is to solve specific technical problems and ensure the product or service works as intended.
The use and scope of technical support varies across industries.
For a software company, it may entail assisting customers with software installation, downloading and applying updates and bug fixes, and addressing software glitches. Oracle can answer client queries on connecting enterprise resource planning modules, Autodesk may need to help users toggle through different Revit views, and Microsoft may have to guide people on activating Co-Pilot.
For an original equipment manufacturer, tech support typically involves helping customers with device setup, maintenance, and repairs. Sony may need to walk customers through setting up their home theater system, Etisalat may have to guide subscribers through their embedded subscriber identity module or eSIM activation, and Apple can help iPhone users activate or deactivate certain features.
The need for technical support arises from the inherent complexity of modern technology. Products and services are becoming increasingly advanced, so users often require expert assistance to maximize their value or utilize them effectively.
Is Technical Support the Same as Customer Support?
Technical support is customer support, but customer support is not always technical support. Both are crucial to enhancing the customer experience, but they differ in the following things:
Nature of Support
Customer support handles general customer queries, including billing questions, product information requests, complaints, and feedback. Meanwhile, technical support is specialized assistance provided to address technical issues.
A company's customer support team can be the initial point of contact for technical concerns. In this case, a customer service rep escalates product- and service-related concerns to the tech support team.
Both customer and tech support representatives must have stellar communication and problem-solving skills. However, tech support personnel should have a deep understanding of the product's technical aspects, often requiring knowledge of information technology, software development, and engineering, among others.
General customer concerns are usually easier and quicker to resolve. Meanwhile, technical issues can be significantly more complex and require more time to handle.
Why Is Tech Support Important?
Technical issues, if not addressed promptly and correctly, can lead to user dissatisfaction, damaging the company's reputation and affecting its bottom line. Customer satisfaction also positively impacts profitability.
It all boils down to customer retention and lifetime value.
By providing quality tech support, you can improve client satisfaction—and happy customers are likely to remain customers. This translates to a higher retention rate. This is something you want because it costs five to seven times more to acquire a customer than to retain one.
Therefore, if your app needs a certain number of users to remain profitable, spending money on excellent tech support makes business sense. Keeping your existing customers satisfied will cost you less than it will cost you to attract new users.
Happy customers are also likely to remain onboard longer, increasing your average customer lifetime value (CLV). CLV is the total net profit your business can expect to realize from a customer. Naturally, the longer people remain as your customers, the higher their CLV becomes.
Finally, satisfied customers can become your brand's staunch champions. They can refer you to their social and professional network, which means more users at no direct (acquisition) cost to your business.
Moving Towards Technical Support Outsourcing
Technical support is critical to business success; there's no doubt about it. But why should you consider outsourcing it? Here are a few reasons.
1. Scale at a Reasonable Cost
In the United States, Indeed says tech support staff get paid from $12.79 to $35.33 per hour, with the average base hourly salary falling at $21.26. In contrast, technical support personnel in the Philippines cost approximately $7 to $10 per hour. Notice that the highest figure in this range is still lower than the lowest base technical support salary in the United States.
Imagine you are a startup. Like most businesses, you have limited funds that you need to allocate to core business functions. Technical outsourcing will ensure you can provide your growing customer base with the help they need while keeping costs down.
Put another way, technical support outsourcing can let you have twice as many tech support staff (and, thus, better tech support coverage for your organization and customers) for nearly the same amount (or less).
Slack is an example of a startup that used outsourcing effectively to scale quickly. It outsourced its app development functions, saving itself a significant amount of money in development costs. The money it saved, it put to excellent use elsewhere (e.g., expanding its user base).
2. Be Flexible
Technical support outsourcing offers more flexibility than hiring staff in-house. Specifically, it lets you scale up or down according to demand.
You can ramp up support during product launches or high-demand periods. You can also downsize your outsourced tech support teams during off-peak periods.
3. Gain Access to More Talent and Expert Resources
According to Indeed, hiring a new employee costs companies from $4,000 to $20,000. This excludes salary and benefits, covering just the time and resources spent on sourcing, screening, testing, reference-checking, onboarding, and training new employees.
Outsourcing tech support is an excellent alternative to hiring in-house. Your outsourcing partner takes on the burden of hiring tech support employees while you pay a fixed per-hire fee.
Additionally, technical support outsourcing gives you access to highly skilled tech support professionals. Tech outsourcing companies keep up with the latest industry trends and ensure their staff can provide support that is on par with or surpasses industry standards.
4. Focus on Core Competencies
Outsourcing your technical support functions can free your core personnel from handling technical troubleshooting concerns. Your engineers can concentrate on product development instead of answering tech support calls.
Technical Support Outsourcing: A Worthwhile Business Strategy
The availability of technical support can lead to higher customer satisfaction, which can lead to a higher customer retention rate and average customer lifetime value.
However, instead of hiring tech support staff in-house, consider tech support outsourcing for its many business advantages.