Customer Service Glossary

What Is Technical Support Outsourcing?

Technical support outsourcing is a business process that involves hiring a third-party individual or organization to provide technical support services. These services are often referred to as virtual help desks, where customers can ask questions and receive support while troubleshooting issues with a product or service. 

As with any type of outsourcing, organizations can contract technical support agents through onshoring, nearshoring, or offshoring practices. Most of the time, however, businesses turn to offshoring for technical support services. Offshore outsourcing transitions customer service and technical support jobs to agents in other countries, such as India, Malaysia, or the Philippines. 

Although outsourcing was once considered a tactical solution, businesses have now adopted the practice as a common way to reduce costs, streamline technical support departments, and provide convenient, consistent customer support. 

How Does Technical Support Outsourcing Benefit Customer Service Departments?

Technical support outsourcing benefits businesses in several ways, including: 

1. Reduced Costs

Generally, businesses outsource their technical support teams to countries overseas, where the cost of living is significantly lower than in the United States. As a result, outsourced customer service departments cost 20-30% less than in-house employees. 

In addition, third-party service providers oversee the recruitment, hiring, training, and management processes. Businesses can then draw from expert tech support agents while eliminating the lag time and expense of insourced customer support solutions. 

2. Advanced Technology

While a large organization may have a well-established, fully outfitted tech support department, small- to medium-sized businesses frequently lack the resources needed to do more than hire a single agent to answer phone calls and emails. 

Outsourcing technical support services to a third-party service provider allows organizations to enjoy comprehensive technical support departments and advanced technology without incurring more costs. The business process also enables organizations to provide their customers with fast, convenient service. 

3. 24/7 Support

The Internet has made it easy for customers to access products and services from companies worldwide, at any time of the day or night. Because of this, clients also require immediate, 24/7 access to technical support teams. 

In-house tech support departments may only cover one shift per day. However, outsourced teams typically work on rotating shifts to assist customers on their schedules and at their convenience. 

4. Easy Scalability

As businesses expand, they need easy access to a large pool of agents with tech support experience. Many organizations don’t have the budget — or time — they need to scale their technical support teams to suit high volumes of customer support requests. 

Outsourcing provides organizations with a large talent pool. Further, businesses can expand or reduce their tech support teams based on seasonal demand, without the hassle of recruiting and training temporary workers. 

5. Enhanced Customer Experience

Finally, outsourced technical support departments provide consistent, cohesive, and experienced service for customers worldwide. Customers can enjoy easy access to agents without long wait times. At the same time, outsourced agents have the experience and training needed to troubleshoot tech problems and provide quick, effective solutions. 

Different Levels of Technical Support

Typically, businesses implement a three-level outsourced technical support system, which includes:

1. Level 1 Tech Support

Level 1 support handles roughly 75% of all customer service requests. Agents collect user information, define the problem, and troubleshoot the issue. In many cases, tech support agents use a knowledge management system to provide assistance. 

2. Level 2 Tech Support

If a Level 1 support agent cannot provide a solution, then the issue is escalated to Level 2 agents. These agents often have more training and experience, allowing them to review the work performed by Level 1 agents and use advanced methods to troubleshoot the problem. 

3. Level 3 Tech support

Level 3 agents are typically specialists with the expertise needed to solve complex issues. These agents also work to find solutions to issues that customers may face in the future.

Why Businesses Choose Technical Support Outsourcing

Businesses of all sizes have turned to technical support outsourcing as a strategic, cost-effective solution to customer service. The low cost of outsourced staff and 24/7 access to assistance allow businesses to consistently increase client satisfaction ratings while improving their bottom line. In addition, businesses can reallocate assets to the core functions that give them a competitive advantage.