How to Choose the Right Outsource Email Support Services for Your Business


June 15, 2024

Written by

Alyssa Maano

Email support is one of the pillars of effective customer support. It is a convenient and easy-to-use communication channel between online brands and customers.

Despite the growing trend of social media and live chat support for businesses, email remains one of the widely used platforms for customer service. In fact, around 62% of customers prefer email over other communication channels.

Thus, the decision to outsource email support services is imperative. However, choosing an outsourcing partner is not as simple as it sounds because it has a profound impact on company growth and success.

Understanding Email Support Outsourcing

Client exploring the basics of outsource email support services

Before we delve deeper into outsourcing email support, let’s first define what is outsourcing.

Outsourcing refers to the strategic process of hiring a third-party provider to perform specific business functions, enabling companies to focus on core business processes while gaining access to specialized knowledge and technology.

When companies outsource email support, they are letting an external vendor handle all customer queries and complaints on their behalf. However, email support often grapples with several areas, including:

Difficult to Scale

Due to the growing volume of emails, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain consistent and high-quality responses. It could lead to bottlenecks, which could hinder email support agents in providing timely resolutions.

Expensive Solution

Having a dedicated in-house team for email support is costly. Companies must spend an enormous amount on manpower, equipment, and technological infrastructure to provide optimum customer service.

Language Limitations

Most internal employees can be limited to one or two languages when providing email support. This can hold back companies that aim to cater to a global clientele who speak various languages.

Benefits of Outsourcing Email Support

Email support agents doing their job efficiently to maximize the benefits of outsourcing

Conversely, choosing to outsource email support services comes with a myriad of advantages, including:

Cost Savings

Outsourcing email support is a cost-effective solution that can significantly reduce operational costs for businesses. Similar to outsourcing call centers, companies can benefit from lower labor costs by hiring an overseas partner.

Moreover, outsourcing companies offer more affordable pricing models than maintaining an internal email support team. 


Email volumes fluctuate constantly. By outsourcing email support, businesses can adapt to seasonal variations; scaling up and down as needed without compromising quality and efficiency. With this flexibility, clients can optimize their resources based on demand.

Access to Expertise

Outsourcing partners employ highly-trained professionals who are experts in giving exceptional email support. With their skills and knowledge, they can handle all email interactions with accuracy and professionalism. 

Personalized Service

Outsourced email support agents have a nuanced understanding of email communication and customer service, making it possible to provide personalized solutions based on the customer’s profile and preferences.

Additionally, they can help global customers achieve customized assistance through multilingual email support services.

Round-the-clock Support

Through outsourcing, businesses can enable 24/7 email support to address customer inquiries and concerns. The challenge of varying customer time zones can also be mitigated through outsourcing by distributing email support functions across global regions.

Focus on Core Competencies

Daily email management can wear out employees and drive their concentration away from essential business activities. With an outsourced email support team, they can regain their focus on core competencies, including product development and operational management.

Assessing Your Email Support Needs

A confused client assessing their email support needs

The first step to selecting the right outsource email support services is identifying your business’s specific email support needs.

Here’s a step-by-step procedure on how to start looking out for a potential outsourcing partner.

1. Identify Key Requirements

Before beginning your hunt for the perfect email support provider, you must outline the key requirements of your business, such as:

Email Volume

How many customer-submitted emails does your company receive per day or per week? By gauging the volume of emails handled by your company in a given period, you can filter out potential service providers based on their support capacity.

Complexity of Email Content

The complexity of customer queries and issues varies among different industries. For instance, customers of a tech company inquiring about a product or service require the niche expertise of an email support agent with deep technical knowledge of the company’s offerings.  

Optimal Response Time

Knowing the optimal response time needed to attain high customer satisfaction is also essential when choosing a potential outsource email support. This could vary among cases but for general queries, there should be an ideal response period. Ideally, email concerns should not take more than 12 to 24 hours to resolve.

2. Analyze Current Performance

After identifying your key requirements, it’s essential to assess your current email support service status and identify what areas need improvement.

For email customer service, there are several metrics you can measure to evaluate current performance:

Response Time

This refers to the overall time taken by an agent to respond to an email, from initial response to follow-ups. A slow response time indicates the need for a new software system or better staff training.

Resolution Time

This metric reflects the efficiency of email support staff in addressing issues by measuring the total time taken to resolve a case. Faster resolution times don’t always indicate high-quality service, so it’s important to have the right balance between speed and effectiveness.

Email Volume

This pertains to the amount of incoming customer emails received at a given period. Large email volumes can overwhelm current employees, which could indicate the need for better resource planning and staffing adjustments.

Email Backlog

The number of emails left unread and unresolved also mirrors the current (in)capacity of your company to give prompt resolutions. Having a large backlog calls for better manpower and methodologies.

Rate of Abandoned Emails

Another indicator of performance quality is the rate or percentage of abandoned emails. Long waiting times, unpleasant or unhelpful responses, and lack of follow-up translate to low quality of service and poor response times.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score

This measures the level of customer satisfaction after interacting with an email support representative. This reveals customer expectations and highlights other aspects requiring immediate attention.

3. Set Clear Objectives

Hiring an external vendor is not a plug-and-play solution but a means to achieve a certain goal. The only way to get the best email support services is to set clear objectives at the onset of outsourcing.

What does your business need? How do you expect your outsourcing partner to attain these objectives?

For example, if your company has exceeded its capacity due to the overwhelming number of customer emails, you might need to scale your email support function. 

Improving response times while reducing costs are just some of the specific targets you can include in your list of requirements or scope of work.

Evaluating Potential Providers

A corporate client facing three doors which signify potential outsourcing service providers

After establishing your desired outcomes, it’s time to look into potential providers that fit the bill. However, a single Google search won’t instantly find you a qualified partner. You must research thoroughly and consider the following factors:

1. Look for Industry Experience

An ideal outsourcing partner should have relevant industry experience to craft emails that align with your company’s voice, objectives, and values. Their staff must possess industry-specific knowledge to effectively assist customers with their concerns.

Look for various case studies and client testimonials on their website to verify their credibility as email support service providers. By checking their online reputation, you can gain an idea of how they work and if they can deliver timely results.

2. Assess Technical Capabilities

When deciding where to outsource email support services, you must consider the quality and reliability of their technology and infrastructure. They must have stable internet access and power supply to maintain uninterrupted service delivery.

Additionally, a dependable outsourcing partner should be equipped with the latest software, including a robust email management system to efficiently organize and handle all customer emails, along with special security tools for protecting user data.

3. Check for Quality Assurance Processes

Email quality assurance (QA) is integral for ensuring effective email support. It provides visibility to employee performance and enables them to find new ways to streamline processes and elevate the standards of customer service.

Inquire the potential partner about their QA processes, including training programs for email support staff and monitoring practices. Do they have QA specialists, or do they prefer manager or peer reviews?

Whatever QA methods they apply, you must ensure that these adhere to your standards and goals.

4. Evaluate Communication Skills

Overcoming cultural and communication barriers is a huge challenge in outsourcing email support. If your chosen external provider has poor communication skills, you might be putting your business reputation at risk.

To assess the capabilities of a prospective service provider to communicate effectively to a global market, you must request sample interactions. You can craft different scenarios and evaluate their email responses to each.

Key Factors to Consider When Outsourcing Email Support

Hands shaking signifying a successful relationship between client and provider of outsource email support services

When you outsource outbound call center services, there are key factors that determine if the potential vendor is the most reasonable fit for your requirements. These include:

Cost and Pricing Models

Most email support agencies have different pricing models to accommodate varying business sizes. Prospective clients must ensure a transparent and mutually beneficial cost structure that aligns with their best interests.

To identify which works for your budget, here are the common types of email outsourcing price models:

Fixed Pricing Model

In a fixed pricing model, a predetermined fee is charged for the requested email support services regardless of volume or complexity.

Hourly-based Model

In this model, the client is charged an hourly flat rate regardless of how much work is done within the day. The fee is calculated based on the average value of hourly work accomplished by the email support team.

Transaction-based Model

If your company has fluctuating demand, a transaction-based model is the most cost-effective option. Here, the provider is paid after the service has been delivered or after a specific goal has been achieved.

Hybrid Pricing Model

For a more customized and flexible pricing structure, you can also set a hybrid arrangement with an outsourcing provider. For example, they could charge a fixed fee for base-level email support service and apply variable pricing for additional tasks or a surge in email volume.

Scalability and Flexibility

A crucial factor in selecting the right outsource email support services is the provider’s ability to scale and adapt to changing client and industry demands. A flexible external partner allows clients to adjust their staffing needs depending on seasonal demand. They can also handle increased workload without sacrificing operational efficiency and service quality.

Data Security and Compliance

Data security is a paramount consideration when choosing a third-party company to handle customer emails containing confidential data. The provider should implement security protocols compliant with laws and regulations.

Email support providers must also utilize secure data servers and strong encryption techniques to minimize the risk of unauthorized email access.

Customer Support and Account Management

To foster trust and accountability during the collaboration, the external partner must have accessible customer support and a dedicated account manager. This will ease communication and serve as a feedback loop for addressing any issues that may happen during the partnership.

Making the Final Decision

Once you have a short list of potential outsource email support partners that tick all of the boxes, it’s time to make the final decision. But before sealing the deal, it’s necessary to look at the following:

Conduct Interviews

Conducting an interview with the potential outsourcing partner regarding strategies for maintaining email support service quality is essential to assess compatibility.

Some important questions include:

  1. What are your certifications?
  2. How will you work with our company?
  3. How well do you know our company’s industry?
  4. How can you ensure that your staff can represent our brand?
  5. What are your integration capabilities and what security measures do you have in place?
  6. What is your staff’s experience in email support and what training do they have?

Pilot Programs and Trials

A reliable vendor won’t hesitate to run a pilot program or trial period to evaluate their performance before committing to a long-term partnership. During this trial run, you can assess their email support capabilities, adherence to deadlines, and overall alignment with your operations.

Some companies offer free trial periods, while others require a reasonable fee. Regardless, this step is crucial in making an informed decision based on tangible results.

Review Contracts and Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Like in any business partnership, such as those with call center agencies, reviewing contracts and SLAs is the last and most important step before you outsource email support services.

The most critical part is reviewing the scope and specifications of the contract. This section should outline the included services and their limitations and the specific standards they must meet.

Pricing and payment terms should also be specified, including incentives, penalties, and additional fees that might be incurred. Moreover, you should also review the legal obligations of both parties in protecting intellectual property, along with grounds for termination and dispute resolutions.

More importantly, the contract should include SLAs that define key performance metrics that will be used to evaluate email responses and staff performance. You should verify if these metrics are realistic, attainable, and aligned with your objectives. 

Making the Right Move with Email Support Outsourcing

A satisfied client facing an email support service provider

Choosing to outsource email support services is crucial for maintaining high-quality customer interactions, reducing operational costs, and ensuring scalability. However, companies must assess their needs, analyze current performance, and set clear objectives to be able to find the perfect outsourcing partner.

By focusing on industry experience, technical capabilities, and data security, companies can find a reliable partner that enhances customer service and helps achieve business goals. Making an informed decision in outsourcing email support is a strategic step toward sustained growth and customer satisfaction.

If you want round-the-clock email customer support with multilingual features and flexible coverage, NMS might just be the right partner for you! Our services are dedicated to delivering prompt and precise responses to all customer queries. 
Take your email support to the next level. Contact us today!

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