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Do you have experience outsourcing customer support?


#1

Did it work? Why?

I’m specially interested in people that have done it or are still doing it in SAAS products and/or e-commerce sites.


#2

Yeah, we’re doing it since this winter (I even posted a thread here ) was doing it all by ourselves (the founders) before that. Since our flagship product (the helpdesk) is quite complex, the guy we hired had to spend several weeks learning. We basically told him “do nothing just read our replies for two week”. Then we have created a room in Hipchat where he could post quick tech questions for developers and such…

  1. Don’t expect support people to learn fast. They’re not you, they don’t know your product very well.
  2. Don’t do this from the start, until the product-market-fit has been established - you should do support yourself, so you can make fast product-strategy decisions.

#3

Nice. All your comments make total sense.

What was the main reason that made you decide to outsource it?


#4

I hope @jitbit doesn’t mind me replying to this (I’m a co-founder there). At one point we started getting so much tickets that essentially all we did all day was replying to customers. I was handling most of the tickets and simply couldn’t do anything else when we started getting 20-30 tickets per day. It was inefficient and we decided to hire someone to do that for us.

The person we hired handles around 70% of all tickets – I handle the rest. Many tickets are too technical, since we make complex web apps. Also, support tickets is a place where I can speak to customers directly and I’m not ready to give that up entirely.


#5

Got it.

Do you know about someone that has hired an external service/company (for example, something like CoSupport) for doing customer support (vs hiring someone)?


#6

Haven’t done this myself yet, but if I did this is exactly the approach I would take.

Don’t expect them to sink or swim—they need to know your product really, really well before you let them interface with customers.


#7

We considered CoSupport briefly. It can get very pricey. Way more expensive than hiring just one or two full-time support guys. Not justifiable for a small company.

But from what I know they are awesome at their jobs. If you can afford it go for it.


#8

Sounds interesting. Where did you end up getting someone from? oDesk, 37signals?

Are they local or overseas based?


#9

We’re based in the UK, where “overseas” means “in the US” :). So I’m guessing - no, he’s more of a “local”. I posted a job to some local UK, European and Russian developer forums and found a great guy who works for us now.

BTW, it’s the second time we’re hiring someone using small local boards, turned out to be really effective. Requires local language knowledge though :frowning: Also, a couple of my friends (who’re also founders) were successful finding people through Facebook and Twitter, just shout-out, ask for retweet and they will come.