Outsourcing customer support

Any experience (good or bad) with outsourcing customer support in US and EU for highly technical saas (https://etlworks.com)?


  • does it make sense?
  • how does it work?
  • price
  • limitations

Additional information:

  • we are scaling rapidly
  • our customers expect direct answer, not just a link to the article in a Knowledge Base
  • we do have a Knowledge Base
  • we are using Zendesk support for capturing tickets
1 Like

I consider customer support to be a part of my core competence, a key differentiator and a fantastic way to set a direction for product development. It would be one of the last things that I would outsource.

If I get too many questions about a specific area, then I probably need to rework that area so that it’s more understandable. If people ask about certain features, I dive in so that I understand the underlying need (e.g. what their workflow is) and the conclusions are often priceless. I don’t know how I could outsource that work and still keep the benefits.

Also, my customers appreciate the fact that they get a quick and comprehensive response from someone who actually designs the product.

But, my customers are electrical/electronic engineers, so this might not be true for everyone.


We too! The key is “scaling fast” and providing support across 10 time-zones. Also, in many cases our system is a part of the main business workflow so the response time is critical.

I’m not sure if this works for small businesses. One of the main selling points for us is that users have more or less direct conversation with developers or at least someone in charge. Yes, this can be slow at times, but the answer if far more competent than most (all?) big companies ever offer.

If I did it, I would hire someone full-time, pay them good salary and make sure they are competent and care about customer’s problems. Absolute “no” to freelancers and other people who I can’t talk directly to, as this can ruin everything.

1 Like

@maximus When you say “outsourcing customer support”, do you mean using an external organisation that handles hiring and firing and training and managining of their support people?

Or do you have in mind that you’d recruit individual freelancers to help with support?

I was thinking about reliable third-party organization, sort of like Support-as-a-Service. Ideally it would be subscription based with no commitment, so if I don’t like them I just drop them. They would be using our existing channels: support agents and chat in Zendesk, so for the customers they would appear as us. The quality of the the support is a key (we say “best in class support” for a reason), but so is a response time for our EU customers.

Using freelancers is no difference from hiring internally, which we are doing anyway, but need to prioritize during initial growth stage.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster. - It will take time and effort to get someone up to scratch to competently handle support requests. Neither a third-party org nor a freelance can support your product out of the box.
I would try to build a long-term relationship here. Anything else does not make much sense for any product except the most trivial.

Does such a thing exist? I mean, not for trivial questions, but something about product usage that requires real, deep product knowledge? Quality support requires learning that’s why it should be your own employees - this is a sort of investment.