Virtual Assistants

5 Tips to Successfully Outsource Ecommerce Customer Service

Have you ever tried to outsource eCommerce customer service? If you have, then chances are you did not have a great experience. If you fared well, then you are fortunate enough to be in the minority. Customer service is a challenging area to hire for, even when you’re doing it in-house. When you outsource eCommerce customer service, it gets more complicated.

1. Plan and Think Ahead

There’s a lot to think about before bringing in an outside entity to handle a task in your business. This can be especially true for a business operation like customer service. Customer service does require in-depth knowledge about your business and industry. When you outsource eCommerce customer service, the agents you hire must also adhere to your business ideals and values. We cannot stress the importance of careful, thoughtful planning enough when building a customer service team

List Out Tasks

Create a comprehensive and clear list of tasks and responsibilities that you want outsourced. If you want certain tasks done a specific way, you need to communicate that and make sure that hires are flexible to adhere to that. 

Create SOPs

SOP documents to outsource eCommerce customer service.

Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs are essentially a list of standardized procedures and guidelines. These serve multiple purposes.


One of the main goals of SOPs is to introduce structure when performing certain tasks for a project or for business operations as a whole. When you outsource eCommerce customer service, you want SOPs to guide that process.


SOPs are also a form of quality control. They make it so that any product sold or service rendered is delivered consistently every time. This involves all the interactions that happen between employees and departments as well as customer interactions. You can think of SOPs as a kind of instruction manual for business operations.

Internal Communication

SOPs make internal collaboration and communication so much smoother. Teams won’t have to always double-check with their superiors or with other departments on tasks when there is a standardized procedure for it.

External Collaboration

SOPs can be particularly helpful when you outsource eCommerce customer service. For one, an outsourced team might have their own default procedures that they follow. There are cases where some of these procedures may be more streamlined or an improved version of yours. However, if you want to make sure they do everything based on your own set of standardized rules, SOPs make sure you stay on the same page.  

Another thing to consider is that an outsourced team needs to learn how you operate. Standard operating procedures can help make the onboarding process so much easier. You can save time on multiple meetings and back and forth emails confirming whether certain actions should be taken. This means that they can also get started much faster and be more productive.

When you have these kinds of guidelines in place, business tends to go smoother. You can increase the efficiency of processes and lower the risk of miscommunication and other potential errors that could occur. 

2. Build Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Three people looking at graphs and charts on a piece of paper.

Key Performance Indicators are defined as measurable goals that companies use to gauge how effective they are at achieving a key business objective. 

You can sort KPIs into two categories: high level KPIs and low level KPIs. 

High-level KPIs have to do with larger overarching business goals. For instance, if you want to sell 10,000 products in a year, a KPI could be to reach 2,500 conversions in a three-month period. 

Low-level KPIs have to do with smaller sections of a business, like specific departments. You can also track them on an individual worker basis. For a customer service department, a KPI could be to achieve a 90% and over customer satisfaction score. 

KPI Best Practices:

  • Make sure they are in line with your overarching business objective. Think of them as milestones towards a much bigger achievement.
  • Your KPIs need to be clear and measurable. When you set vague KPIs, or KPIs that are already obvious, you raise more questions than answers. For instance, if you want your customer retention rate to remain high, you can’t just put your KPI as “Make them happier”. You need to think about what areas of customer satisfaction needs improvement. So instead, you could define your KPI as “Improve email response times to below 20 hrs.”
  • They need to be realistic. It’s good to be ambitious but you need to make sure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew. Trying to force an unrealistic KPI can leave your team exhausted and unenthusiastic. Especially when you outsource eCommerce customer service, this can generally lower morale in an already isolated group that now can’t reach the goal.
  • Just as KPIs are milestones to bigger objectives, they are also made up of smaller, bite-sized steps and metrics. Keep it measurable and actionable.

3. Hire People with Experience

A man on the phone behind a desk with two moonitors.

The last thing you want is to outsource eCommerce customer service to someone who doesn’t have the necessary know-how. That’s where some of the hesitancy to outsource comes from. There are horror stories of inexperienced teams or individuals causing companies more problems than they solved. This has, unfortunately, tainted the reputation of the practice of outsourcing as a whole. 

However, it is likely that these companies who have had negative outsourcing experiences may have benefitted from knowing the right channels or platforms to hire from.  

Here are some things you should look out for as general guidelines when hiring from an agency or from freelance marketplaces:

  • Check to see if the agency or marketplace vets applicants before allowing them onto their platform to serve clients.
  • Review applicants’ histories to see verifiable evidence and results of their completed projects.
  • Check their education level and work experience. While higher education doesn’t necessarily mean better results, this is usually the safer route.
  • If you hire from a freelance marketplace, most of them have the ability for clients to review the ones they hire after a project is complete. Some less experienced individuals may have collected more high ratings than one who went to school for years. Checking the ratings will keep you from passing up an opportunity to work with a talented individual or team.

For some agencies, they display their client reviews on the front page of their website. They recognize how important these reviews are for the reputation of the agency as a whole. It’s common behavior for clients to be more inclined to purchase a product or service that has been tried and tested true. 

  • Check turnover rates and if they provide guarantees to set you up with a new hire if the first one doesn’t work out. Some marketplaces offer to pay for any applicable fees associated with the turnover process.

4. Get Customer Feedback and Ideas

Five stars in a row that show a high rating.

At the end of the day, you need to outsource eCommerce customer service to a team you trust. The only ones who will be interacting with them more than you are your customers. Make use of these multiple unique touchpoints. Don’t waste the useful data you can get from customers regarding how good or bad your support services are. Give them the option to review customer service as a whole and even ask them to rate specific areas of the service to get more pointed responses. Encourage them to make suggestions regarding how you can serve them better. Scrutinize their answers and carefully select the ones that are constructive and that you can consistently deliver on. 

Ultimately, your goal should be to make sure your customers remain satisfied and feel cared for. A customer that is cared for is a customer that is more likely to purchase from you again and have a higher customer lifetime value. They will not only stay loyal to your brand, but they will also endorse your business to their friends and family members.

5. Be Consistent and Provide a Good Post Purchase Experience

A man looking through websites on his laptop and phone, doing research.

Good customer service means being reliable. The more consistent you are with response times and with the quality of your responses, the more satisfied customers will be. 

Customer service that offers fewer features but more consistency will always be better than a jam-packed service that can’t deliver well on the basics. 

It is also important to remember that customer journeys do not end as soon as they complete a purchase. You still have to maintain good customer service in case they have a complaint about the product or they want to return the item. This shows that you care more about the customer than about what you can gain from them.


There’s a lot of thought that goes into outsourcing customer service. It’s more than just making sure you hire someone who is skilled, experienced, and reliable from a reputable marketplace or agency. You also need to plan ahead and make sure you are prepared to onboard and transition them into the job as smoothly as possible. Once part of your team, the success of your partnership will rely on your ability to communicate effectively and stay aligned on how business tasks are performed. Partner with an individual or team that knows the space, cares about your business and your customers. and will help you achieve your business goals.


Virtual Assistants

10 Advantages of Outsourcing You May Not Be Thinking About

As global demand increases, the advantages of outsourcing have become apparent. Outsourcing has become a means for businesses to stay ahead of the game. This can be helping businesses expand by building out new departments. Sometimes, it’s improving performance through faster and more efficient processes. It can even involve filling missing roles so that a business can gain a competitive advantage by adding to their array of services. 

Whatever the case may be, outsourcing has allowed businesses to scale and handle a greater number of customers. Availability and cost-effectiveness as major advantages of outsourcing have made it a popular practice among small to large enterprises. 

In this article, we will be discussing these and other advantages of outsourcing that you may not be aware of. Let’s get started. 

1. Cost

A woman calculating the cost advantages of outsourcing.

Get expert-level skills while keeping costs down. 

One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing is the expenses you can cut down on. Whether it’s hiring, training, equipment, software, or other operational costs, outsourcing can shave off some of those overheads. 

You can think of outsourcing as renting a service, software, equipment, or entire department on an as needed basis. For instance, keeping on a full-time employee with a regular salary and benefits can be less economical than hiring an outsourced freelancer only when their skills are required. 

In some countries, labor costs are lower due to the lower cost of living. This means that you can get the same standard of work quality for less than you would if you were to hire domestically.

2. Promotes Growth

People having a meeting to talk about how outsourcing works.

Most businesses have a load of functions that are both repetitive and time-consuming. These types of tasks are a major drain on focus that should be spent on core functions. They are still important, but because of how much time they require, they can tend to hurt other vital areas. One of the top advantages of outsourcing is that it helps companies be better equipped to fill these needs without making sacrifices. In the end, it helps the business grow because the focus is restored to other areas. This means that the business can provide proper customer service, pull in more sales, and more.

Note that repetitive and time-consuming operations increase as a business grows. Think about paperwork and materials purchasing and appointment scheduling. It’s just part of how business works. As you grow, therefore, you are going to need more help to keep all these back-office tasks in check. You can, of course do what most other business do, which is pull people away from other tasks by assigning them this extra work. That will not help you grow. You might be looking at short-term savings, but ignoring the longer-term detrimental cost to the business. Don’t tie up expert human resources when you can outsource the extra work and avoid hurting core activities. Remember, these core activities are what make the business successful.

3. Save Time and Resources

A calendar with dates highlighted.


Hiring skilled people saves you a lot, even if it looks like it’s costing you more. Think of it like this. They paid for their own training and went through years of experience and education to get to where they are now. The price at which they market their service is much lower than all the years and money put into making them experts in their field. Now imagine having to put aside funds to go through that process to learn to do those tasks at a high level, or train someone to do the same. 

Furthermore, the person you would have had to train outside of their skillset can immediately be launched elsewhere. Their efforts and skills can be used more effectively. When you look at it like that, you are getting great value out of outsourced services. 

The time it takes to find an expert through outsourcing is much less than the time it takes to “grow” an expert or go through a tiring in-house recruitment and hiring process. With outsourcing, you don’t make the same levels of commitment that you do with employing people. There’s a lot more flexibility for you.


It makes more sense to outsource a service for a specific operation rather than buying the space or equipment yourself. This goes hand in hand with hiring. Who’s going to operate the equipment if they aren’t trained? You not only save on expensive technology, but you also save on the resources it takes to get good at using it. 

When you’re not worried about a large chunk of your budget going to operations outside your core tasks, you can allocate more money resources into key areas of your business that are crucial for profitability.

4. Efficacy

A man writing notes in front of a laptop.

With years of experience and knowledge in respective spaces and specializations comes optimized and streamlined processes. A seasoned outsourcing company or independent freelancer will have tried and tested various solutions in the time they have been in business. They would understand what works best in general, what doesn’t, and the nuances in between, depending on the client business they work with. 

This means that work gets done efficiently. They know how to maintain quality while bringing you results as fast as possible. 

The more knowledge one possesses, the easier the work becomes. One of our favorite advantages of outsourcing is that it takes that pressure of accumulating knowledge off of you. The people you hire can handle the technical side of things and produce fast results. You, then, are free to go and do what you do best.

5. Productivity

When experienced professionals are helming your operations with efficient processes, an increase in productivity is soon to follow. 

Additionally, another way to maximize productivity has to do with hiring based on time zones and working hours. You can hire someone who works the hours you are asleep and ensure that business keeps moving around the clock. You’re essentially doing twice the work while getting the rest you need to keep yourself in best form. 

You can also hire someone who works some of the same hours as you do and maximize productivity through close, clear communication. This way, if they have any questions or need clarification on anything, there is still a window for that.

6. Risk Management

An older man giving a thumbs up to a younger man on a video call. because of the advantages of outsourcing

Outsourcing is not the easy way out that many business owners think it is. Yes, it does make things easier, but it’s not a cop-out. One of the least known advantages of outsourcing is what a strategic tool it can be. Outsourcing the right tasks actually helps you to minimize business risks. This has a lot to do with hiring experts instead of winging it in-house. You can leverage third-party vendors and agencies who add to your expertise with the top solutions they offer. And you get all these advantages without taking on any of the risks yourself. You don’t have to train anyone, for instance, and if you hire a freelancer, you don’t pay benefits, either.

7. Flexibility

As a business scales, you need a team that can scale with it. Outsourcing makes it possible to scale without losing momentum due to personnel constraints and waiting on the traditional hiring process. 

A unique feature of outsourcing is its ability to allow businesses to expand temporarily to meet seasonal productivity demands. Not all companies are ready to manage full-on expansion. With outsourcing, you can take care of all your customers, and when the demand dies down, you can simply shrink back to normal size and hire again as needed.

8. Focus on Your Core Business

Two hands on a computer keyboard with a watch beside it.

Being bogged down with time consuming menial tasks means you cannot focus on the central parts of your business operations. Outsourcing these tasks means you and your team members can focus your efforts and expertise on the main engine of your company. 

For instance, you can hire people to handle the less crucial tasks of a bigger project while you tackle the most important aspects. Save hours by outsourcing repetitive and tedious but important tasks like lead generation, data entry, and bookkeepingYou can then focus on customer relations, brand awareness and reputation management,  product creation, innovation, and other foundational processes that got your business to where it is today.

9. Larger Talent Pool

Aside from potentially higher labor costs, hiring domestic could mean limiting your options and missing out on international talent. Hiring from countries established or specialized in the services you need is smarter. You get to explore a range of options from a diverse and wide talent pool that is not available in your area.

High employee turnover rates are incredibly detrimental to business flow. However, a few outsourcing platforms and agencies have fast or no turnover guarantees. In the event that someone quits, you can get a replacement in no time. Even if you hire on your own, you can find a replacement quite quickly to either hold the position temporarily or take over long-term. You don’t need to worry about compromising quality with outsourced solutions, either. As long as you hire diligently, you actually increase your chances of finding a great fit precisely because, and this is another of the greatest advantages of outsourcing, the talent pool is much larger.

10. Simplify Project Management

Two people pointing to a laptop screen talking about the advantages of outsourcing.

When you outsource, you can actually keep everything more organized. This has a lot to do with the greater accountability mentioned previously. When people work in the same office, there’s a greater sense of ease because you can walk over to someone’s desk at any time to ask them something. With a workforce spread out over several  cities and even countries, you have to be more cautious about staying on top of your game. That makes everyone take project management seriously.


When you outsource, there is an unspoken expectation of excellence. Mainly because outsourced work is not guaranteed on the side of the hire, individuals and outsourced teams work harder to please their clients. It is in their best interest to deliver outstanding results to maintain a good reputation in their space and maybe even earn the chance to continue working with the same client long term. This level of accountability makes outsourcing far less risky than it may appear. 

Part of service excellence in the outsourcing world is something you won’t find in-house. Business functions are often unaffected because they are separate from your business. For instance, if you lost power or internet connectivity, you have the peace of mind knowing that your outsourced functions are still running as normal. You don’t have to move the whole office to a cafe, or worse, cancel the day.