Customer Care

5 Tips for Choosing the Right After-Sales Partner

By Phil Telfer - June 21, 2018

Choosing an after-sales outsourcing partner is no easy task. After all, it is a decision with long-term effects. Customer care organizations that have their contact center, field service, in-store support or repair service operated by a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) provider enter into a relationship of lasting significance.

In addition, your after-sales partner takes on one of the most responsible tasks in business: supporting your customers with the goal of achieving the highest possible customer satisfaction levels. Besides after-sales know-how, relevant references and technological competence, it is the cultural fit that matters most. We have compiled the five most important criteria that you should bear in mind when selecting your after-sales partner.

1. Check the After-Sales Track Record

Outsourcing is not simply outsourcing. Major BPO providers such as Accenture, Capgemini, Convergys, Genpact, HCL or TCS offer a wide range of business process services for standard functions such as accounting, IT and procurement. However, only a few providers are in a position to offer a complete after-sales outsourcing solution that covers both the entire customer care process from the front-end to the back-end and is available across the globe.

While call center operations can be centralized in low-wage countries, many BPO providers fail when it comes to establishing a local presence. However, this aspect is essential to ensure an excellent customer care experience. Brazil is not like India and South Africa is not like China. Your after-sales partner should be able to cover the local peculiarities of the different market and customer requirements with experienced after-sales experts on the ground.

The after-sales market is an exciting growth area for conventional BPO providers. Nevertheless, few companies are able to meet the complex requirements of after-sales service. B2X CEO Rainer Koppitz explains why this is the case in this blog post.

2. Request Relevant References

Outsourcing providers with a solid track record are not afraid to give you insight into relevant reference projects. Customer care studies that are based on facts and that focus on the benefits of working with this provider will give you a first impression of whether the provider has already successfully implemented similar after-sales projects.

Does the provider specialize in certain industries? Can the company cover all areas of the after-sales service, or do the references indicate that the provider only covers certain aspects such as call center operations? Is the provider already active in regions that are also relevant for your customer care?

Do not be afraid to ask the provider for direct contact to their customers. You will only gain an independent and authentic impression as you engage in personal conversations with reference customers and contact persons who have faced similar challenges to those you are dealing with now.

3. Get to Know Goals and Strategy

After-sales outsourcing initiatives are commitments that require a high level of mutual dedication. The partnership is usually built up over several years – it is worth comparing your own customer care strategy with the plans of the provider. Many companies are hesitant here because the medium and long-term strategies contain confidential information that they are unwilling to share with external partners.

However, given the close collaboration between your customer care organisation and your outsourcing partner, you should definitely not do without it. An outsourcing partnership is similar to a wedding, in that you as partners should get to know each other as well as possible in advance and agree on your own as well as the common goals for the relationship.

This includes insights into investment planning: Does the partner invest in a global service network and not shy away from exotic markets? Is there a technology roadmap that gives you an idea of the company’s future innovative strength? Does the provider invest in employees and managers with proven expertise in the after-sales business? Answers to questions such as these provide information about the provider’s commitment to the after-sales business as a whole and to your project in particular.

After-sales service is a complex business. Companies that want to concentrate on their core business can benefit greatly from outsourcing call centers, in-home services, in-store support, repair and logistics operations. We have summarized these benefits for you in this blog post.

4. Evaluate the Provider’s Innovation Capacity

Customer care is a dynamic business. Customers who turn to your service primarily want one thing: a competent answer to their question and a functioning solution to their problem. But in the context of digital transformation, the manner in which service and support are provided is changing fundamentally.

Where personal support via an expert hotline is still one of the most popular service channels today, artificially intelligent chatbots will soon control dialogue with your customers. Whereas the majority of customers still go to a store to get a device repaired, the demand will soon be for intelligent in-home service concepts combined with spare parts delivery via drones.

Make sure that your outsourcing partner has a clearly structured innovation process in order to be able to support you in the future with new after-sales concepts. Take a look at the company’s history – have there already been breakthrough innovations? A good indicator of the innovative strength is also whether the provider is active for customers who themselves are regarded as innovation leaders in their industry.

5. Get an Impression of the Corporate Culture

One of the most important foundations for working successfully towards and achieving common goals is shared values. It is part and parcel of after-sales business that you and your BPO provider are repeatedly confronted with new challenges for which there are no proven solutions as of yet. All this is easier to achieve if you tick in a similar way and maintain open communication with each other.

Get an intense impression of the provider’s corporate culture. How does your provider communicate with you? The early phases in the sales process are a reliable indicator of what communication will look like at a later point during operation. Test how the provider reacts, even in confrontations. Depending on the provider’s values and mission, you will quickly see what long-term cooperation with them may look like.

What criteria do you use to select your after-sales partner? Which aspects are particularly important for your company? Write to me – I look forward to receiving your message!

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Customer Care

About the Author

Phil Telfer

Phil is responsible for the growth strategy of B2X and manages all global and regional sales activities, including account management and business development for strategic focus markets.