Your clients might not demand 24/7 customer service yet, but they’re certainly hoping for it. But how can a startup with a lean staff provide round-the-clock customer care? There are several options available, but more than ever, outsourcing is one of them.
When should your startup consider outsourcing its customer care? And what should you look for in a provider? Here are some insights on what customer care as a service (CCaaS) can do for you, and how fast-growing startups have been leveraging this new class of partners to boost customer satisfaction.
Addressing customer care challenges
Customer care as a service can address several pain points, such as the need to provide support outside of business hours.
If you find the right partner, outsourcing customer service can help you save time over options such as finding and managing your own freelancers, or hiring in-house, which might burden you with fixed costs.
Since online shoppers didn’t have to wait for stores to open during lockdowns, they have increasingly been making purchases on evenings and weekends, and often tend to abandon their carts if nobody is around to answer their doubts. New clients aside, existing customers also hope to get responses outside of typical business hours.
The COVID-19 crisis has significantly increased the share of e-commerce in total retail in recent months, and these new purchasing habits are likely to stick, the OECD pointed out in a report last year. This led many small retailers to discover a reality that e-commerce startups already know well: When you are an online business, working hours aren’t really a thing.
And it’s not just e-commerce — from SaaS to mobility services, there is a growing range of startups for which always-on customer service no longer a luxury. French CCaaS provider Onepilot learned this firsthand: During its beta program, its “support heroes” were available from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., but it is now moving to 24/7 coverage due to greater demand from clients, co-founder Pierre Latscha told TechCrunch.
French micromobility startup Pony, one of Onepilot’s clients, needed reliable customer care for its dockless bike and scooter fleets in several cities, but couldn’t justify the expense of an in-house hire: “We didn’t have enough demand to have someone take care of customer service full time,” Pony explained to French newspaper Les Échos (translation ours).
In such situations, outsourcing to a partner like Onepilot can save costs when demand isn’t high enough or constant, which is often the case when the business is seasonal or growing faster than the startup can address it.
The latter was the case for SPRiNG, a French subscription service for eco-friendly laundry detergent and cleaning products that has partnered with Onepilot. The startup launched in the summer of 2020, and thanks to €2.1 million in seed funding, its team tripled, but with “tens of thousands of clients,” it soon felt the need for more support to handle the growing volume of requests, co-founder Ben Guerville told us via email.