A Guide on How to Outsource Customer Service

Follow this step by step guide on how to outsource customer service to free up time in your online business.

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Step 1: Identify the customer service tasks you want to outsource

The first step to outsource customer service is to know which parts of the system you want to take off your plate. When running any type of business, you will run into some form of customer service.

For eCommerce companies, customer service can take up a lot of time and be a major part of the customer's buying decision. For digital agencies that want to outsource customer service, they may be looking for someone with a higher level of knowledge of the service that they're providing.

Before you dive into the process to outsource customer service, you want to understand what specific tasks you need handled by someone else. Here's a list of possible tasks that you may outsource.

If your business requires phone customer service then make sure to include it as a part of what you’re looking to outsource in customer service.
If you want to outsource live chat, you need to be careful in how you set up the hours with freelancers, but it is 100% possible.
Outsourcing customer service emails is an extremely common move made by business owners. Take the complaints, common questions, and returns/exchanges out of your hands.

Okay, have those customer service tasks that you want to outsource written down? Let's jump into step 2.

Step 2: Create a Google doc that outlines they key points of the customer service task

Once you've chosen the customer service tasks that you want to outsource, you need to prepare your business to actually pass it off. So many entrepreneurs and business owners make the mistake of jumping into hiring before knowing how they're going to onboard the person.

Take some time to write down they key points about the task, the steps that you've seen success taking on your own, and the goals that you want the person to work towards.

You can use a Google doc (free) to create the document and then easily share it with the person once you find them.

Below are a few examples that you can look at to help you outsource customer service tasks in your business.

Example #1: Outsource customer service calls

1. Set up an 800 number using an online service like Google voice.
2. Have the Google voice number forward to the person accepting phone calls.
3. Provide the customer service freelancer with a document outlining common customer service situations, i.e. returns, exchanges, cancellations, angry customers, tracking, refunds, etc.
4. Have the customer service freelancer handle all calls elevating difficult situations to you.

Example #2: Outsource customer service emails

1. Set up an 800 number using an online service like Google voice.
2. Have the Google voice number forward to the person accepting phone calls.
3. Provide the customer service freelancer with a document outlining common customer service situations, i.e. returns, exchanges, cancellations, angry customers, tracking, refunds, etc.
4. Have the customer service freelancer handle all calls elevating difficult situations to you.

Step 3: Define the perfect customer service freelancer

Once you've created your standard operating procedures (SOPs) to outsource customer service, you should identify who your ideal customer service candidate is.

Ask yourself the following questions and jot down your answers. This will help you to put together an ideal makeup of the person that you're looking to hire.

(1) How many years experience does the ideal person have?
(2) What type of companies has the person worked for?
(3) Where is the ideal person located?
(4) What is your ideal hourly budget for the person?
(5) What hours would you ideally need the person to work during?
(6) How strong is the ideal person's English?
(7) What other softwares or programs would the ideal candidate know?

Once you've put this criteria together, you'll have an ideal outline of who you're looking to hire. When you outsource customer service, you want to make sure that you hire the right person first. Otherwise, you're forced to onboard another person and spend more time on the same project.

Next, we'll talk about requesting, meeting, interviewing, and hiring the right customer service candidate.

Step 4: Meet possible customer service candidates to hire

With a clear understanding of the customer service task you want to outsource AND the ideal makeup of the freelancer you want to hire, you can now go out and request the freelancer from the FreeeUp Marketplace.

If you haven't already, the first step is creating a FreeeUp account. You can click the button below and have your account set up within 5 minutes. There are no costs until you actually hire a freelancer and they start billing you hours.

Once you've created your FreeeUp account, log in and click on the "Request a Freelancer" button at the top of your account. Fill out the Freelancer Request form on the following page entering all details about the freelancer that you're looking for. Hint: you can use the content from steps 1, 2, and 3 to fill this out.

Within 24 business hours, you'll be introduced to a freelancer from the FreeeUp Marketplace that meets your requirements. The next step is setting up a meeting or phone call with the freelancer so that you can ask them questions and see if they are the right fit.

In the interview, make sure that you ask very direct questions all aimed at the ideal makeup that you created for your ideal customer service candidate. For example: If you need them to work on EST hours, make sure that you ask them about that.

If you like the first person that you meet, by all means let them know and move onto the final step of getting them hired and onboard.

If you don't like the first freelancer or you'd like to view other options, go to the Open Freelancer Requests section of your account and provide feedback or request another freelancer option.

Step 5: Hire and onboard the customer service freelancer

The final two steps in the process to outsource customer service is (a) to hire the freelancer you like the most and (b) to properly onboard the freelancer to your business.

To hire the freelancer, navigate to the Open Freelancer Requests section of your account, select the ticket that applies to this hire, then click the Hire button for the freelancer you want to add to your FreeeUp account. Once confirmed, they will be added into the Hired Freelancers section of your account and they will be able to start billing hours to you based off what you agree with them.

Before the freelancer starts billing any hours, it's smart to set up an onboarding meeting. In this meeting, you can discuss expectations of the role, the process you've seen success with, the freelancer's working hours, the max hours you want them to bill each week, and how you want to receive updates and communicate.

Hint: If you're worried about the freelancer's performance, set up a test project to get started in the first week. Give them a small project within the task, ask them for an estimate, set a deadline, and see if they can complete it on time and to your standards. A test like this can help to avoid dissatisfaction weeks into working together.

Once you've agreed upon everything, you can get the customer service freelancer started. Voila! You set out to outsource customer service tasks in your business and you're now victorious. Congrats!

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