The CEO of WOW24-7, Maya Momotok, talks about the outsourcing landscape and her experience of providing customer support for startups.
Due to limited resources, startups struggle to establish expertise in each area of their business. Outsourcing has become one of the most viable solutions to deal with that problem. Customer support is one of those processes that businesses often outsource because it requires high-quality expertise and competence. Maya Momotok is the CEO of WOW24-7, one of Ukraine’s top customer support outsourcing companies. In this interview, Maya shares her insights into the outsourcing industry and its impact on startup businesses.
Tell us about WOW24-7 and what it does.
Maya Momotok : WOW24-7 was founded on the basis of the internal customer support department of our holding company. We are over 6 years old, so obviously, we know everything about how customer support works, how to build its strategy and processes, and how to satisfy clients and gain their loyalty. After operating as an internal customer support agency for a while we decided to start providing services to external companies since we had a solid experience. So I was put in charge of building a company. After some time, we started getting our first clients. They were from the US, Israel and other countries. Those clients are still with us and we keep friendly relationships with them. Today, we provide customer support to international clients from over 20 countries.
Does demand for customer support outsourcing change and how?
Maya Momotok : The demand is definitely increasing and very rapidly. Especially recently, in the face of the pandemic. Before, many companies were hesitant about hiring a team from outside of their region. But the pandemic changed that attitude. People realized that it’s possible to operate fully remotely and that there are pretty much no borders when it comes to choosing a talent. So a location ceased to be a limitation. That’s why more people started to be more open about outsourcing.
What is something outsourcing can offer that the in-house can’t?
Maya Momotok : Expertise. When you choose to create in-house customer support you have to start from zero. That means that you have to go through the hustle of finding the right talent, figuring out how everything works, building a strategy, etc. On the contrary, an outsourcing partner like WOW24-7 would take care of all of that for you. Clients would have to spend a significant amount of time on developing a professional level of customer support like ours. We take that burden off our clients’ shoulders, allowing them to focus on their core business tasks. Our experience-based expertise together with SLA commitment and offered flexibility presents businesses with a more appealing option than having to build a customer support system from scratch.
From your experience, what are the most common reasons startups decide to outsource their customer support?
Maya Momotok : At the beginning of their journey, startups try to manage their customer support by themselves, because they get just a couple of interactions. But when their ticket volume starts growing and hits 200 interactions per month, they realize that these processes require a separate role. Startups are usually willing to invest in the development of their customer support because they understand how important it is for their business. But at the same time, they want to be able to focus on their company growth. So they opt for outsourcing because this way they can save money and time without compromising the quality of customer service.
There are other reasons too. With outsourcing, you can launch an efficient and reliable customer service in a few weeks, as opposed to having to create a new team which takes a lot of time and effort. Also, startups don’t want to deal with customer support themselves, because if you don’t have the experience and knowledge needed to build and maintain client care, the whole process would be very stressful for you. They want to avoid such stress and focus on their core business tasks. That’s why they outsource.
What mistakes do startups do in customer support?
Maya Momotok : The most common mistake is that they don’t standardize basic processes and don’t build a clear strategy, which in its turn, causes chaos. This is a typical situation for many businesses that are just getting started. What they need to do is to create clear and effective customer support processes, however, it is hard to do that without professional help. In order to build and develop reliable and strong client support, you need to outline your goals and basic strategy, so every employee would understand what’s expected of them, how to resolve issues, and how to act in different situations. That would make customer support very quick and efficient.
Another very important thing is quality communication between clients and agents. As an outsourcing provider, our goal is to build a structured communication strategy that would convey the client’s main objectives. In order to do that, it’s important to keep close and systematic interaction with them. Technically speaking, your outsourcing provider is a part of your team that is located in another country or another office. So you have to think of it as an extension of your team, which you have to keep systematic communication with, give feedback about its performance, etc.
What are the specifics of providing customer support for startups?
Maya Momotok : I think that the main specific is that we have to assimilate to a young and changing environment of startup and maintain flexibility in our service. Every time we start working with a startup we try to understand their customers’ needs and what solutions we can offer to meet them. However, since the startup environment is usually unstable – because the companies explore their possibilities, try to find the best strategy, etc. – they themselves can’t yet define what value they want to offer to customers. That is why we have to keep in touch with our startup clients systematically so we don’t miss any updates or changes in their business. So basically, providing customer support for startups is about exploration and constant service improvement.
What results or progress do startups report after hiring WOW24-7?
Maya Momotok : Overall, they see an increase in customer trust and satisfaction. To be more specific, after working with us for a while, startups notice that their customer support service becomes more reliable and effective. They report better quality of customer experience and as a result, get positive feedback about the service. Moreover, our startup clients notice that their team’s productivity improves almost instantly after WOW24-7 takes over their customer service responsibilities.
What should you pay attention to when choosing an outsourcing partner?
Maya Momotok : I think that the partnership conditions should be a win-win. Also, it is important to make sure that you have the same values. You should have the same vision of how to build inner or external communication. That would make a workflow between your teams very smooth and productive. Being on the same page about your values and expectations is indeed very important, especially because your interaction is based on virtual communication. Otherwise, there will always be some miscommunication or misunderstanding which can break your collaboration. So look for easy and clear communication as well as familiar values when considering a potential outsourcing partner.
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