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Challenges in Outsourcing After-Sales Service to Third-Party Service Providers

Outsourcing has become an intricate part of various business processes. In service industry, there has been a pronounced shift in the direction of after-sales support outsourcing. Today, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers believe that outsourcing after-sales service helps them slash overhead costs, streamline service management, and sharpen their focus on competencies which are core to them.

After-sales service is built around the idea of dealing with customers after they have used the product/service. This aims at strengthening the customer relationship, and hence the decision of outsourcing after-sales service should be dealt with utmost caution. Are you outsourcing your after-sales to a support company? How do you leverage the benefits of outsourcing after-sales service? What are the challenges you can face while outsourcing after-sales to a service partner? Through this article, find out the challenges and benefits of outsourcing your post-sales support to a service & support outsourcing company, and analyze how you can avoid the pitfalls associated with it and streamline service management.

Increased chances of pilferage- While outsourcing your after-sales may help you reduce the operational issues relating to managing the service centers; it also increases the chances of pilferages on the flip side. The reduced intermediate handling may increase the chances of irrelevant service and part claims, which may inadvertently lead to mis-management of inventory and loss of revenue. In this case, the very purpose of outsourcing, i.e., to reduce costs become void.

Risk of non-compliance of regulatory terms and conditions- Since the service centers work on their own models and regulations, it may be difficult to streamline your business processes with theirs. For example, if you are a mobile handset manufacturer and have outsourced the after-sales to the service partner who does not follow any automation process for streamlining repair calls. The absence of information regarding handset’s repair status may lead to increased TAT (turn-around-time) and customer dissatisfaction.

Discontent with the automation solution used by your service partner- Some service providers use a service management solution that may not offer the results that you seek from your after-sales process; while some service providers may not use any automation technique at all. This may lead to information loss, which could have otherwise been possible from a self-owned automation process.

Outsourcing Only to Subject Matter Experts- There are service providers that carry proficiency in servicing multiple products. It is always a safe bet to outsource to companies that have proven expertise in servicing product/equipment that you deal in. For example, for a cell phone manufacturer, selecting a specialized electronics service center as the outsourcing partner may not be able to give you the desired results. A dedicated mobile handset service center that specializes in troubleshooting the defects, and knows the nitty-gritty of the mobile repair would be more effective.

An effective after-sales service protocol is essential to streamline service management and meet customer’s expectations. Before you finalize your service partner, ensure that they use service management software that simplifies the service process, optimizes service performance and reduces the turn-around-time of service engineers. If not, you can make a strategic business decision and employ a service automation solution that you feel fulfills your business goals, and ask them to use that software for managing their service calls. A strong after-sales service can let you experience customer delight, while also saving on your bottom-line.

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Source by Rakes Kumar