Outsource customer service cost

Outsourcing customer service is usually a way to cut costs for companies. At least that's what first comes to mind when you ask anyone about the benefits of outsourcing. However, last several years prove this idea wrong. More and more companies prefer to find the right balance between low costs and high quality. That's why they seek for outsourced customer service providers in their own country, or country of their clientele. There's even a word for that - "in-sourcing".
customer service representative
This trend is especially true for IT companies which demand skilled and trained specialists to provide high quality technical support. Customer service standards are increasing each year. Today clients are very picky when it comes to the service quality. Low-priced labor is not helping companies thrive anymore. Instead, they are looking for solid business partners that will provide necessary expertise, even if it means much higher rates.
customer service team
So is cutting outsource customer service cost a thing yet? This questions is hot for small businesses who are not yet financially stable, and still quite vulnerable when it comes to the "price-quality" balance. Let's point out the opportunities.

First, you can try "shared service" variant. In this case your support agents are involved not only into your project, but in some other projects as well. This is a good option if your daily workload is not high (4 hours for example). This way you don't reserve a dedicated agent that is bound to cover your project only, without switching to other projects. And you won't have to pay for full workday.
      Next, you optimise your payment for the outsourced team. There are 3 pricing models on the market.

      - Cost per reply. Pay per each reply to each customer your agent makes. This pricing model can be good for phone or live chat support in case you have long and detailed discussions. WARNING: you have to make sure your agents are not just farming replies by providing uninformative answers and forcing the customers to reach for support again and again.

      - Cost per hour. Pay per each tracked hour. This model allows you to calculate your monthly spendings on customer support department. WARNING: you need to calculate yourself how many tickets your agents usually solve per hour. This value will allow you to check their performance (as well as decency) and predict future workload.

      - Cost per solved case. Pay per each closed ticket / case / phone call / chat inquiry. This model is good if you have long conversations that require a ton of replies and take several days to finish. WARNING: you have to check how your support agents complete requests, and if they close tickets intentionally to inflate cases quantity.
      is outsourcing a good idea
      Just looking at the description of these models, you may still feel lost. Which one will be the most cost-efficient for you? It's all individual, and you need to calculate it for your business. The calculation starts from knowing your workload. You need to clearly understand how many hours per day your whole team spends on customer support. If you spend 4 hours and your colleague spends 3 hours, and no one else is doing this - then your daily load is 7 hours. Next you need to know how many replies you file and how many requests you close within those 7 hours. You can calculate these metrics hour by hour, writing down your results and summarizing them afterwards. This rough estimation will give you an idea of the best pricing model for you.
          is outsourcing a good idea
          When you look for a reliable outsource customer support service, pay attention to their trial policy. Trial is a very good option that allows both sides to understand whether they like working together. Even if your first trial won't bring desired result, and you'll have to search for another provider - you'll get a much better understanding of what you're actually looking for.
          Also, check forums like Quora to get independent opinions on different firms.
              Overall we can say that there is some room for reducing outsource customer service cost, but the main trend has shifted towards high quality which involves bigger budgets on customer support department.