A modern business owner has a lot of issues to deal with. Gone are the days when a business could simply set up shop, send out a few flyers, and focus on face-to-face customer service. Today, the buzzwords are ecommerce fulfilment, customer relations management, social networking, mailing fulfilment, and other high-tech terms.
If your business has any sort of online component, then you will have to worry about these issues. Managing an ecommerce site, and looking after your brand image online is something that can take a lot of time, and will divert your attention away from the parts of your business that you would be more suited to managing. Rather than spending your time on the boring bits, why not investigate outsourcing?
There are outsourcing services for many business areas, including:
- Customer support
- Online marketing
- Social media marketing
- Ecommerce fulfilment
- Mailing fulfilment
Some common concerns when it comes to outsourcing are the expense, and the perceived loss of control over a part of your brand image. However, a lot of those issues are mostly misconceptions. Most good companies offering customer facing outsourcing – such as ecommerce fulfilment, call center offerings, or mailing fulfilment, offer companies a lot of control over how they are presented. Standard messages, logos, and branding are used, and when you work with an ecommerce fulfilment company they will ensure that all communications that are sent to the customer are presented in as consistent a way as possible. With mailing fulfilment services, there is the option to choose any packaging that is used, and to tweak branding, shipping options, and other aspects of the service.
Outsourcing is an option that must be considered carefully. For very small companies, it may be an option that is too expensive, however as your company grows you may find that instead of trying to scale your operations to keep up with the extra demand, it is better to bring in some external aid. The cost of the services will depend on several factors – some companies charge by volume, and this could be beneficial if you have unpredictable demand.
Imagine, for example, if you were to run a promotion and see a massive increase in interest from new customers for the duration of the promotion. Rather than risk tarnishing your brand by being unable to fulfil orders during this time, or risking taking on new staff that would not be needed long term, why not just outsource fulfilment for that time?
The cost of outsourcing should pay for itself when you consider that you will be able to focus on other parts of your company, and not have to worry about peaks in demand, staff sickness, holidays, office space, and all the other issues that surround growth. By allowing your ecommerce fulfilment and mailing fulfilment to be handled elsewhere, along with, perhaps, your front-line customer service needs, you can focus on research and development, marketing, and the other core areas of building up your product and brand.
This post was written for Hallmark Consumer Services by James Harper. James has experience of working in a large multi national company and has had direct involvement in projects where outsourcing services has been beneficial.