For a long time, there has been a general trend of outsourcing production to reap the benefits of cheaper labor and lower material costs. Although mostly established among industrial companies, the trend has spread to other industries, such as, telecom, IT and insurance, which often outsource things like customer support to other parts of the world.
Among these more service-focused industries, another trend has gained momentum – the customer-centric approach. This approach has in turn paved the way for “CX” (Customer Experience), as more businesses realize the value of keeping and nurturing existing customers. The CX trend is already well-trodden territory (especially on our blog), but a less-explored aspect is how it led companies that were on the search for increased control and customer engagement to cut back on their outsourcing.
And as often happens when things go from one extreme to the other, the best solution actually falls somewhere in the middle. To demonstrate this, this article will showcase how modern service companies need to outsource to companies that offer a similar experience and level of control as insourcing.
The reason for this is simple, it has to do with the rate at which modern technology creates new trends and customer expectations. In order for a company to stay relevant, each part of the business needs to be equipped with and designed for constant change. A rather daunting task for any business, especially with the exponential technical growth we face today.
To show you why outsourcing with the benefits of insourcing is the way forward, we will present common arguments in favor of insourcing. We will then use our own payment solution as an example of how some outsourced solutions stand up to these arguments.
Common Arguments for Insourcing
“We don’t want to lose control”
Insourcing is often said to allow for more control, faster reaction speed, and increased flexibility, but digitalization has in many ways turned this on its head. If you take a look at what's currently happening in the online payment industry, things develop at such a fast pace that keeping up with customer demand requires a dedicated in-house development team. This is a luxury few can afford, and most in-house development teams are already flooded with work. In addition to this, most companies have not prioritized modernizing their payment process, making the road to catching up a long and windy one.
When it comes to Billogram, we deliver an efficient and customer-friendly payment platform - in other words, our clients get more control, with less effort, by outsourcing. Billogram replaces work that usually demands a few partners with one digital interface and companies who use the service regain control over how their customers are handled throughout the whole payment process. The platform also includes a range of digital tools which let companies automate time-consuming processes, such as distribution chains and debt collection. Automations are based on rules set up by companies tailored for their individual needs, and allows for easy handling of exceptions to these rules.
Instead of having to turn to a third party with payment related issues, end-customers can turn directly to your company through a chat function right on the invoice. This leaves full control over how customers are handled in your company’s hands.
“We can make it ourselves”
Although most would prefer to build their own tailored solutions, few have the knowledge, time, and resources to do so. At the same time, it’s never been more important and challenging to stay relevant to things like the needs of modern customers. As mentioned earlier, development and implementation teams (if they exist), often have their plates full.
Nowadays slow progress means an in-house solution runs the risk of being outdated by the time it’s released, requiring more work and then continuous upkeep. Billograms platform is instead built for change and every year new features are released while others are updated. All progress is based on data and insights stemming from our clients and their customers. New payment and distribution methods are added to the service, as they become sought after. This means clients can rest knowing their payments will continue to be up to date, to a set price, without maintenance.
Another common misconception is that it is cheaper to do everything in-house. We have already mentioned that Billogram often replaces several partners, which reduces costs. The integration is also painless and takes between 1-3 months, in comparison to years of costly resources, when developing and maintaining an in-house setup. Once integrated with Billogram, clients get access to an ever-growing list of tools that are free of charge and contribute to cost cuts and increased revenue.
“This could complicate communication”
Even prior to the current working-from-home boom, which pushed most internal and external communication to move into the digital space - digital solutions like Billogram have been as connected and communicative with our clients as most coworkers within a big organization are. Through dedicated chat channels, clients have day-to-day conversations with our team of Key Account Managers. These channels are complemented with weekly video or telephone check-ins, providing the same connectivity and availability as any in-house team.
“Outsourcing dilutes the brand and causes confusion”
There are big risks associated with using third parties, especially if their business goals don't align with yours. As an example: the debt collection industry makes their money from your clients not paying on time. When using their invoicing solution, all payment related customer support is often left in their hands. While this distinction is obvious to you, customers will often first turn to your support with questions, before then getting redirected to your partner. This will cause both confusion and frustration, while adding to your service costs. This setup is a real gamble for any CX focused business and often means the ability to showcase your brand on the invoice is often limited. The same goes for your chances of sensing when a customer is about to churn.
Billogram's solution, on the other hand, is close to being a white label solution. Our brand is featured in just a few places, while our clients have a massive brand presence on their invoices and in all the communication. Although our invoice is designed to minimize confusion and reduce customer support errands, it also features a chat function, which is easily connected to a client’s CRM-system. This means the communication and control over almost all invoices or payment related matters, can be handled by you. Our solution is also built to allow for making easy changes to invoices. Both customer support agents and the recipient can see the changes made to an invoice in real-time, on their respective ends.
Regardless of your current situation, this text has hopefully broadened your perspective on the possibility of outsourcing while maintaining control of your business and customer interactions.
Using services that offer technological tools which help you modernize your company, without the need for a big and costly implementation, offers a great middle ground between insourcing and outsourcing. In fact it lets you reap the benefits of both. It is definitely worth considering for any company that lacks endless resources and struggles to either catch up, keep up, or stay ahead of the rapid changes we are facing. Even though our payment example used here is close to home for us, it is worth noting that the reasoning we’ve applied holds true for many outsourced service areas.
You don’t need to insource an Einstein in order to see the potential that comes with using outsourcing solutions that provide more control with less effort.
Want to read more about changes and advances that can help companies today? Here’s an interview about the future of payments with Design Researcher, Koert Jobse.