The power of hybrid outsourcing: partially outsource your live chat

If you’ve made the decision to start offering with live chat, you will be faced with the following question: am I going to outsource or manage everything myself? Both methods have their own advantages, which means the choice isn’t always easy to make, but have you considered that it is also possible to partially outsource live chat, while maintaining control over it yourself? This type of “hybrid outsourcing” is the ideal solution for many companies, and can assist them in achieving their goals (faster). 

What is the hybrid outsourcing of live chat?

Hybrid outsourcing could also simply be called partial outsourcing. There are two ways to do this concerning live chat: based on time and based on particular questions/topics. Both methods will lower the pressure on your own team, making hybrid outsourcing a valid option in most cases, and always worth considering.

Hybrid outsourcing of specified hours

With the first method, you can choose to outsource all live chat at specified times; after 17:00, for example, or when your office closes, or before office hours, when your customers are on their way to work, or during lunch, if you’ve found that this is a peak chatting period for your company. But, it can be hard to meet this demand if your office hasn’t opened yet or if most of your chat operators are on their lunch break.

You also have the option of expanding your manpower at times when your staff are present, but you experience peaks in the number of incoming chat. This is useful for companies that can easily handle their live chat during “regular” hours, but are often in trouble during peak hours, because they simply do not have the manpower to respond to all incoming chats during busy periods.

Hybrid outsourcing based on topic

The other option is to employ an external team for all hours that your live chat is available, but to only allow the external party to offer first-line customer service; in other words, concerning basic questions and problems that are easy to solve. What falls within this framework can be decided upon with the live-chat provider. You remain responsible for second-line service, which includes all “complicated” and substantive questions that require more knowledge and access to the website. The provider’s team can scan the incoming questions and only send the complicated questions through to your team.

You can also automate the filtering of the chats by having customers choose a topic before they open a chat; “Account problems”, “Orders” or “Payments”, and so on, for example. Particular topics can be forwarded to the external chat team, while others are dealt with by your own team. You can also choose to have the external chat team receive all incoming chats and only send those chats on to your team for which they do not have the required authority; if they are required to go into the customer’s account, but don’t have access to do this environment, for example.

By filtering the questions before they are forwarded, you can save your team a lot of time. Your team is no longer required to answer every question that comes in and can focus on larger, more substantive problems. This results in fewer chats, allowing your own team to focus on the more complicated matters. The questions they have to deal with are, in a sense, more concentrated, freeing up your team to concern itself with more important matters.

Why should I partially outsource my live chat?

Hybrid outsourcing of your live chat is a good method to partially outsource. You do not lose contact with your customers, but at the same time, having part of the workload outsourced lightens the burden on your chat team, enhancing their efficiency. If you don’t want to wholly outsource your live chat, it is worth considering outsourcing part of it to a specialised company.

By outsourcing your live chat outside of office hours, you aren’t required to keep your office open for longer hours so that the customer-service team can do its job. You can simply close at five o’clock if you want, resting assured that your customers are still being assisted with their questions or problems. This saves you man-hours and money.

Are you still deciding whether to outsource? Read this article that covers the cases in which it is better to outsource your live chat to a specialised company.