In order to stay competitive and keep customers satisfied, businesses with an online presence must be able to provide live chat services around the clock. That’s easier said than done when it means employing an internal support team. This is where outsourcing comes in. Handing over your live chat needs to a third-party vendor has several benefits. 

Before we look into them, let’s take a moment to understand what live chat outsourcing is for. 

What is Live Chat Outsourcing?

Today’s customers demand faster responses and resolutions than ever before. They also require it over a medium that is easily accessible. Live chat is exactly that. 

The growing communication channel enhances user experience and can lead to higher conversion rates. It also serves as a useful way to gain insights about interactions between support agents and customers. This can help you identify room for improvement and ultimately deliver superior service. 

A problem arises when your company needs to implement live chat, which requires certain resources. This includes sufficient talent and technologies. Many organisations aren’t in the position to make that investment. There may also be customers in different regions, which creates the need for employees who can effectively tend to their requests. 

An outsourcing provider can take on these challenges, which comes with the benefit of allowing in-house staff to focus on core competencies. Another approach is to hire live agents. We’ll run through the associated costs of both methods a little later. For now, we can look into what the outsourcing process involves from start to finish. 

  1. Identifying the Need

Chances are that you’ve already taken this step. You know that outsourcing your live chat department or specific functions will save money, improve efficiency or achieve another objective. At this stage, it’s important to perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine just how the move will benefit your business. 

  1. Deciding to Outsource

A common mistake is to focus on the short-term gains that come with outsourcing instead of looking at how it will affect your company in the long run. Defining strategic long-term goals and reviewing potential partners based on their associated risk will help you make a more informed decision. 

  1. Defining the Scope of Work

You need to be aware of what exactly you’re handing off to a third party. This is key to being able to accurately assess their capabilities and determine whether they can meet your requirements in a timely manner – and without impairing customer satisfaction. If you already have a few partners, you may want to consider them first before looking beyond.

  1. Getting Help

In order to ensure that you’re partnering with the best candidate, ask relevant experts to review the proposal and analyse any information presented by vendors. With core business processes, you would have to consult stakeholders about the decision, but this isn’t necessary for live chat. 

On the other hand, you should take a moment to consult your internal support team and ask them to provide feedback. They may be able to offer insights as to whether the move is a good idea. It’s also crucial that your employees are aware of how outsourcing will affect them and how their responsibilities will change, especially if you employ live chat staff. 

  1. Performing Due Diligence

Any and all outsourcing ventures carry a certain degree of risk. With live chat, this comes in the form of sensitive customer information and other private data that needs to be kept safe and secure. Identifying those concerns and planning on how they can be mitigated and addressed as soon as possible is key. 

Prepare a document that outlines all of the risks, including their sources and potential impact on your business. Scenario testing will help you stay clear of any surprises in the unlikely event that something does happen later down the line. 

Remember to be cognizant of regulatory requirements pertaining to privacy and security. Similarly, you should know how your vendor will dispose of information when it’s no longer needed. 

  1. Negotiating Contracts

There are many things to consider here. For instance, you need to ensure that the contract presented by your outsourcing partner accounts for your right to audit third parties and their workers. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) should also be present, which outlines the quality standards of the output the vendor must deliver.

This will give you clear expectations that you can hold your provider to in the event that they fail to meet your requirements. The consequences of that should also be detailed in the contract. Having this kind of precise selection criteria will make it easier to select a reliable partner. 

  1. Monitoring Performance

This is key to a successful relationship. You might be handing over your live chat processes, but that’s not to say you’re getting rid of the associated responsibility. At the end of the day, the work being done will affect your company the most. This is why it’s imperative that you outline and agree upon procedures to monitor the vendor’s performance. 

Remember that handling sensitive data and interacting with a large portion of your customer base are two of the primary criteria for a high-risk outsourcing venture. Knowing what technologies your potential partner uses to analyse their output and provide regular feedback will help you determine if they’re a suitable candidate. 

  1. Terminating or Renewing Contracts

As long as you choose the right vendor, this stage is unlikely to come about any time soon. Regardless, you need to be aware of it. There may come a time where it makes more sense to bring a function like live chat back for your better-equipped internal team to handle. 

Another possibility is that it will be more advantageous to create a new relationship. Familiarise yourself with the vendor’s contingency plan in case any of these scenarios happen in the future. You should have peace of mind knowing that your customer and business data will remain safe come the end of your partnership. 

Advantages of Outsourcing Live Chat

Here are the main benefits of live chat outsourcing. Being aware of them will give you a better idea of whether it’s something your business should consider. Keep in mind that the effect of these advantages on your particular business can vary depending on your needs and the partner you choose. 

Cost Savings

There are a number of expenses that you’ll no longer have to bear the burden of. This includes onboarding, training and facilitating staff, not to mention dealing with turnover. You also won’t need to pay for certain equipment, utilities and office space, giving you more funds to invest elsewhere. 

The money you save can be reallocated in numerous different ways. For example, you can put it towards reducing the cost of your product or service, thus making you more competitive. One alternative is to funnel more capital into other functions and departments that are more conducive to growth. Either way, there’s great potential here. 

It’s worth noting that the cost savings go well beyond what’s apparent on the surface. If you currently have internal employees handling your live chat needs, you’re probably paying a fixed salary. Every coffee break and day off translates to wasted money. With outsourcing, you only pay for the work being done. 

Certain pricing models can improve on this. Some providers charge per-lead, for instance. This means your business incurs a cost when a lead is generated and not when interactions don’t go further. Even if you pay per hour, it will likely be a rate far below that which you pay internal staff – especially if you’re working with an overseas provider. 

Improved Focus

As we touched on above, outsourcing live chat enables you and your team to put more time and effort into essential activities that drive progress. Employees will subsequently be more motivated and productive. At the same time, you can continue delivering quality service without having to worry as much about how it’s being done. 

Better Coverage

Suffice it to say that there aren’t a lot of customers browsing online stores or contacting support while at work. Most people do their online shopping after-hours, which is when you need to be available. And if you sell to markets in other time zones, then you need to be able to tend to their requests as well, which means being available 24/7. 

In doing so, you can essentially multiply the size of your trusting and loyal customer base which, in turn, increases sales. It also makes you more competitive as other businesses in your industry may not be able to offer the same. Outsourced live chat companies are capable of providing this level of availability. 

What’s more is that they can relate better to customers in other regions. This includes overcoming cultural and language barriers that internal staff may otherwise be putting in the way of your progress. 

Positive Image

A large portion of the one-star reviews and social media shaming that online businesses face come from negative customer service experiences. Having the expertise of an outsourced live chat provider ensures more easily accessible and positive support. This naturally improves your public image and lowers the risk of getting a bad reputation. 

Faster Expansion

With every period of growth, you can rely on your outsourcing partner to quickly adjust to increasing demands. What’s more is that you’ll be able to efficiently expand your own infrastructure without incurring massive costs. Flexible outsourcing companies can almost immediately bring more staff on board when you request it. 

More Conversions

Like any support channel, live chat is prime real estate for getting customers to spend more money. The right external team will have the necessary knowledge and expertise to convert your support-requesting customers and do more than just help them. Businesses that only use bots will benefit even more from the presence of human agents. 

Reduced Risk

Done right, outsourcing allows you to share liability with a third party, which can give you some degree of assurance. You can also entrust your partner to utilise their training and expertise for better results. This translates to happier customers and more resolutions. It also reduces your anxiety and ensures regulatory compliance. 

Disadvantages of Outsourcing Live Chat

There’s much to gain from a successful outsourcing partnership. However, it doesn’t come without a few concerns. You need to know what they are, as this will help you reduce the chances of them affecting your partnership. The following are the primary drawbacks of outsourcing live chat, as well as their solutions. 

Lack of Control

Being in a different location – never mind another country – can make it difficult to maintain control over your live chat processes. Unless the provider has a proper feedback system in place, you might not always know what’s going on. That’s why it’s important to choose a transparent partner and evaluate their performance on a regular basis. 

You should also check that the vendor follows quality assurance procedures that meet your standards. If they don’t, then you’ll constantly have to hand-hold and spend more time analysing their output and tracking their work than the benefits can justify. Remember that Service Level Agreement document – here’s where it matters.  

Privacy and Security

If you deal with sensitive information, you may risk violating customer confidentiality when outsourcing. There needs to be well-established policies and measures in place to ensure that data security is a priority. Make clear agreements and ensure that your vendor is certified. They should also use strong encryption tools. 

It’s highly recommended that you audit your own security measures to ensure that data is safe on your side. This is crucial not only for your safety, but also regulatory compliance. There are several laws that come into play when operating a live chat service. 

They might be different in the home country of your offshore partner, so it pays to check that they follow the same ones as you do. Privacy regulations seldom account for who is doing the work. It’s your business that is ultimately responsible for compliance, so keep this in mind when signing any outsourcing contracts. 

Less Focus

While an internal team will be focused solely on your business, an outsourcing provider typically works with numerous companies simultaneously. This means that they might not be able to always meet your quality standards. The solution is to pay attention to the vendor’s approach to customer satisfaction. They should have KPIs, for example. 

It isn’t reasonable to expect any outsourcing company to uphold the highest possible quality standards from the start. At the end of the day, nobody can know your customers as well as your internal team. This is why you need to find a provider who is willing to go the extra mile. Contact their previous clients to see whether that’s the case. 

At the end of the day, weeks or even months will pass before your partner can fully integrate with your live chat department. They need to learn the ropes, which is easier when you offer proper training and guidelines that aid them in learning your customers more quickly. 

Moral Concerns

If you currently employ an internal support team that handles your live chat services, outsourcing can potentially be a more difficult decision. It comes down to whether you have to lay the associated staff members off or provide other areas for them to focus on. Of course, the latter is far better. 

You likely spent a great deal of time and money training your employees, so letting go of them would certainly be a waste. If you haven’t already, make sure that there are opportunities for your in-house team to stay on board and channel their talents elsewhere in your business – especially in areas that are more conducive to growth and profits. 

Brand Identity

The final concern pertains to your brand identity. Since external agents don’t work directly for you and are likely dealing with a number of businesses at once, their output can fail to reflect your values and image. Remember that your customer relations are being put into their hands, and branding is incredibly important. 

It’s what determines how customers experience your company as well as your perceived trust and credibility. Consistent branding indicates that your company is reliable. You need to ensure that the external team can adopt your voice and embody everything that characterises your internal employees. Customers shouldn’t be able to discern the difference. 

The Cost of Agents vs Outsourcing

Is it better to employ external agents? Should you pay for each lead or use volume-based pricing? Not every pricing model will fit your needs, so it’s important to find the right one. In any case, the best providers are flexible with how they charge for their services. Let’s take a look at the costs associated with each live chat outsourcing method. 

Free Live Chat

Some companies offer a free live chat service. Of course, they come with major limitations, such as only being able to cover 20 chats per month. It’s better than nothing – but hardly ideal.


According to Glassdoor, live chat agents in the UK earn an average base pay of £8 per hour. Depending on your needs, you may have to facilitate a 24/7 service as opposed to just being available during business hours. 

If your website gets 500 daily visitors and 10 percent of them interact with the chat box, one agent handling six requests per hour will be ample to cover a shift. Even so, having a single worker clocked in at any moment for a year (8,760 hours) will incur an annual cost of £70,080 – before you pay anyone to manage them.  

Granted, opting for overseas agents in cheaper countries can bring that number down a great deal, albeit at the risk of communication and cultural barriers. It depends on who you work with. Some vendors have pricing tiers where you pay in the region of £120 per month based on your chosen package. 

Volume-Based Pricing

This method works around your website traffic numbers. It’s akin to paying for each agent, as more visitors require more workers. You can expect a flat rate as low as £30 all the way up to £600 per month. Keep in mind that your conversion figures can cause you to overpay if you’re getting high traffic and low leads. 

A similar model is cost-per-transaction. This involves paying for each contact handled with pricing based on the number of channels you’re outsourcing, which in this case is only one. The cost of idle labour lies with your partner, who is incentivised to improve their productivity. 

While that can have you delivering more timely support services, there’s also the possibility that the vendor puts too much focus on resolving tickets quickly. This can be harmful to companies that value customer experience over speed and metrics like average handling time (AHT). 


Speaking of leads, you’ll be charged for each one generated with this unique pricing method. In other words, if an agent covers 20 chats and 10 of them are attributed to a sale, you only pay for the latter. This reduces the risk of spending money on a service that doesn’t generate results. Expect to pay between £13 and £27 per lead. 

Given those costs, it should go without saying that pay-per-lead pricing is not for everyone. You need to know your figures and metrics to effectively determine whether this model is going to help or hinder growth. If that doesn’t turn out to be the case, then one of the below-listed pricing methods is more likely to fit the bill.  


For businesses that prefer the simplicity and predictability of an all-inclusive price, the fixed hourly rate model is a suitable option. Billing is based on the number of workers multiplied by an approved number of full-time equivalent (FTE) hours, regardless of how many interactions were carried out. 

Leading outsourcing companies make a constant effort to optimise their FTE resources through scheduling and proper management of their staff. Simple and easy to budget for, this pricing model lends to a better forecasting process and less admin work. One potential downside is that idle agent time is also billed for, but it depends on your provider. 


If you’re dealing with high volumes of requests, then it may be better to go for a per-minute pricing model than hourly fees. This is because increasing volumes inherently translate to decreasing costs. You typically pay for the time that external agents spend engaged with customers and nothing more. 

In other words, you’re only charged for the specific amount of time and resources that you use. While great for larger businesses or periods of high demand, per-minute pricing can be expensive for low volume requirements. Paying attention to your average handling time can help you determine if this is the way to go. 

Why Outsourcing is Cheaper

While pricing can vary greatly between providers, handing your live chat processes over to a third party still proves to be more affordable than employing an in-house support team. This is due to several factors:

  1. Hardware and Software 

At this point, you’re likely aware that outsourcing saves you from bearing the burden of numerous infrastructural costs. This includes real estate or office space, computers, peripherals, software, maintenance and technical support among other expenses. The right vendor will not only have this equipment available but also take on the cost of upgrading it. 

  1. Paying for Results

Having internal staff perform your live chat services, even if it’s just one person, requires paying a reasonable salary in addition to benefits. That can easily add up to a lot of wasted money, especially when you consider that the average employee spends a mere 12.5 hours being productive each week. 

This is another expense that your outsourcing partner will absorb while you only pay for the time external agents spend interacting with your customers. Of course, it depends on your chosen pricing model. 

  1. Training Costs and Time

Anyone who works for your in-house customer support team requires proper training and coaching. This is time and money that does little more than disappear when one of your staff leaves the company. You may have to provide some initial guidance, but outsourced vendors are usually equipped with the necessary skills and expertise from day one. 

  1. Liability Protection

An often-overlooked factor, your outsourcing partner can shelter your business (and bottom line) from liability in a myriad of potential crises. This includes restructuring from natural disasters, recovering information after data loss, fighting cyber-attacks and more. Just make sure that you’re aware of the relevant terms and policies here. 

What to Consider When Hiring Agents

Successfully getting an external agent on board isn’t all too different from hiring a normal employee. Start by explaining your needs. This includes your mission, vision, values and goals. Don’t forget about your brand image and style. The specifics of your product or service are no less important. 

Lay out your expectations and define the scope of the questions they’ll answer. Send them a few sample support tickets to see how they might respond, and remember to request or implement a system for regular feedback. 

You can also ask them questions such as:

  • What is your customer service experience?
  • Which software do you use?
  • Do you have a contingency plan in the event of an outage?

Additionally, you should enquire about their available hours and whether they can adjust to your times if necessary. For businesses that want to provide multilingual support, it will naturally be a must to check if they can speak additional languages and relate to the customers in the relevant regions. 

 Finding Agents

There is a wide range of online platforms that can help you find the most qualified and reputable agents. Here are some popular websites:


  • CoSupport: Mainly helps startups develop external support teams
  • SupportZebra: Provides professional overseas talent
  • Upwork: Offers access to a large workforce with ratings and reviews


Don’t forget that social media sites such as LinkedIn are home to many great freelancers. After obtaining a few applicants, you can move on to the interview stage. Here’s what that entails. 

Conducting Interviews

If you haven’t searched for any live chat agents yourself, then you’ll probably opt to receive a shortlist of candidates from an outsourcing agency. Taking the alternative approach and finding external help independently will likely bring you more applicants than expected. Many people are looking for the type of position you’re offering. 

It’s a good idea to write up a list of questions and requirements in advance. This will ensure that you’re choosing from the best possible candidates. Be sure to mention the following: 

  • Describe your live chat experience 
  • Give an example of how you handled a difficult interaction
  • What software are you proficient with?
  • How will you handle unforeseen challenges? 

Once you find a suitable candidate, the onboarding stage comes next. 


Getting an external agent on board is more or less the same as with an internal one. This is especially true for the level of effort you should put into the process. The more comfortable and enjoyable their experience, the better. Take these steps along the way:

  • Provide a broad overview of your company
  • State your expectations when it comes to deadlines 
  • Give them guidelines to easily understand your procedures
  • Show them who they can lean on during the learning phase
  • Allow them to work on smaller tasks before taking on the entire live chat function

Remember to ask for feedback reports and keep an eye on your outsourced workers even after they become competent. It’s not impossible for them to miss something or make a mistake that you could have identified and addressed. 


If you’re unfamiliar with the remote culture, then managing external agents can be challenging in the beginning. A good start is to stay in touch throughout the day. Keep it simple with a service such as Slack, Skype, HipChat or Google Hangouts. Upwork has their own collaboration tools built into the platform. 

It’s important to make your new staff feel welcome and as if they’re part of the team. The ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach is no way forward – you’re only setting each other up for failure this way. Instead, conduct frequent one-on-one meetings to catch up and synchronise external agents with the rest of the team. 

Live Chat Etiquette Tips

Whether you work with individual agents or an outsourcing provider, ensure that they’re aware of the etiquette rules listed below:


First, every customer should be greeted with a friendly and appropriate introduction. A little familiarity goes a long way in creating the kind of emotional connection that consumers value. By introducing themselves, your agents will make the recipients feel more comfortable while assuring them that they’re dealing with someone who can help. 


Each agent should look and sound human. This means having a real name and photo. Their messages should be warm, warm and unscripted so that the recipient knows they aren’t speaking to a robot. Show agents how to avoid controversy and stay respectful when dealing with unhappy and difficult customers as well. 

In a similar vein, each agent should be indistinguishable from your internal staff in terms of how they interact with customers. We already looked at why this is important. Consistency is key and customers will notice a difference in word choice and language if the outsourced team’s expertise is insufficient. 

Grammar and Spelling

Your external support team must have an excellent command of the languages they use. They should also be aware of potential miscommunications, such as when a customer doesn’t know specific jargon. It’s always better to focus on being helpful than trying to be fancy. 


Nobody likes a business that doesn’t play fair. Promises should be kept, whether it’s sending a discount or replying within a certain timeframe. Support staff also need to know your offer in-and-out to avoid misrepresenting it. The provider’s Service Level Agreements should ensure that no customer is kept waiting longer than they were told. 

Unsolved Problems

It’s normal for the occasional ticket to take more time to answer. However, a customer must never be left in the dark. Ensure that there are policies in place on your side as well that specify what agents should say and do when they need to follow up on a request. 

Positive Language

The way you present a message can mean the difference between the recipient reading good news and bad news. That’s why live chat agents need to have the skills required to frame their conversations in a positive manner. When that isn’t an option, remember to present the bad news first before delivering the relieving or smile-inducing information. 

Care and Empathy

No matter what you do, your support staff will inevitably encounter angry or frustrated customers on a regular basis. Arguing with them or storming out is obviously not the solution. Great agents know how to diffuse the situation and apologise when necessary. This comes with having empathy and understanding a bit of basic psychology.  

Maintaining Efficiency

Important as being friendly and positive may be, your agents should never lose sight of the main goal, which is to solve the problem as efficiently as possible. They must resist the urge to go off track as this can hinder productivity and lengthen the waiting queue. Maintain a balance between quality service and timely resolutions.

Taking Breaks

Everyone needs to get up and have a refreshment or pop into the bathroom throughout the day. Live chat agents are particularly prone to taking breaks as they often handle stressful situations. What matters here is that they don’t end their conversation with a customer or leave them hanging. 

This goes the other way as well. Before ending a chat that hasn’t received a reply, agents should wait to see if the customer is simply on a phone call or otherwise taking the time to respond. Waiting a few minutes will ensure that no chats with slow-typing customers are closed prematurely. 

Canned Responses

One reliable way to improve efficiency without compromising on quality is to make use of pre-written responses at appropriate moments. This can include messages such as ‘We have received your request’ and ‘Be right back!’ Using them correctly can help agents handle multiple sessions and respond on time. 

Ending With a Smile

We know that efficiency is crucial, but also that it needs to be balanced with quality service. Avoid ending interactions as soon as it appears that the problem has been solved. A better approach is to follow a ‘chat-ending protocol’ to ensure that customers are satisfied and no warm leads are thrown down the drain. Procedures can include:

  • Sending a ‘thank you’ message
  • Asking if there’s anything else you can assist with
  • Wishing them a good day and mentioning their name

There will always be an occasional opportunity to turn a support request into a purchase. Of course, you don’t want to be sly or salesy. Rather have agents understand how to handle situations when a customer seems interested in opening their wallet and just requires a small nudge in the right direction. 

Do’s and Don’ts of Outsourcing Live Chat Support

When you start looking for an agent or partner, consider the following do’s and don’ts for live chat outsourcing:


  • Do make sure the team is highly trained and well-equipped
  • Do hire agents with sales experience who know how to nudge customers in the right direction
  • Do keep the needs of international clients in mind when deciding hours
  • Do offer useful live chat features such as adjustable font size and typing indicators


Be more prepared by avoiding the following mistakes:


  • Don’t allow agents to be robotic and monotonous
  • Don’t forget to consider spikes in volume and demand 
  • Don’t let agents wait for a message when they could reach out and greet customers 


Aside from this, there are some general live chat do’s and don’ts that you should be aware of. Listed below are the main guidelines that your external team needs to follow to provide exemplary service. 

Do Listen Carefully

Did you know that well over half of all problems experienced during support interactions are the result of poor communication? If your reps lack the necessary listening, or rather reading skills, then they won’t be able to correctly address the customer’s concerns. They should refrain from criticism and avoid interrupting. 

Don’t Be Rude

Not being rude may seem obvious, but being patient, polite and professional isn’t always easy. When heightened emotions enter the picture, keeping a cool head can be challenging. But as any experienced agent will tell you, it’s never impossible. A simple solution is to make use of phrases such as:

  • I’m sorry to hear about…
  • Thank you for your time…
  • I can understand how annoying this must be…

Do Focus on Personal Interactions

Some of your customers use live chat support to file a complaint. Others are seeking assistance. There are also many who make the effort to contact you to report a bug or learn more about your product before buying it. Agents should appreciate these customers’ gestures by devoting their whole attention through a one-on-one interaction.

Don’t Forget to Request Feedback

There’s a lot to gain from knowing how your customers feel about your product or service and overall experience. In the age of analytics, getting regular insights is crucial to staying competitive. Be sure to ask for feedback during your live chat interactions when possible. You can use one of the following metrics to measure satisfaction:

  • Customer Effort Score
  • Customer Satisfaction Score
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Standard surveys

Do Answer Every Question

Your live chat agents are only human, and it’s normal for them to occasionally feel unsure about how to respond to a specific question or request. They should know not to panic and either ask for more time or redirect the customer to another team member. It’s better to have someone wait a little longer than to leave them without a solution. 

Don’t Patronise 

There’s a fine line between appearing helpful and coming off as condescending. Nobody wants to feel as if they’re being looked down upon. But your support agents may unintentionally have this effect in certain situations, especially over live chat where their tone can’t be heard. Get them to use more affirmative words while avoiding the negative ones. 

The former includes words like super, fantastic, sure, great, kindly, exactly and terrific. Words to steer clear of include no, never, terrible, unfortunate, can’t and won’t. Perhaps you can draw up a dictionary as part of your guidelines so that external staff are aware of your rules when it comes to word choice. 

Do Prepare in Advance

The sooner you make the necessary arrangements, the more successful your live chat outsourcing move will be. Aim to equip your external workers with training manuals and guidebooks on day one. The material you provide should comprehensively and concisely detail what they need to know in order to deliver quality service. 

How to Choose the Right Vendor

With the main points covered, we can finish with a few tips on choosing the right outsourced live chat provider. Here’s a brief overview of the qualities that you should look for:

  • Situated in an economically and socially stable region
  • Skilled and experienced with businesses in your industry
  • Using the latest live chat software and hardware 
  • Transparent about pricing and practices
  • Following all the necessary data privacy and security rules
  • Capable of providing regular performance reports 
  • Backed by client references and testimonials 
  • Profitable and financially stable
  • Flexible with pricing and availability

Ideally, you should also be able to test their service over an obligation-free trial period to see whether it’s up to scratch. We can split the above-listed points into a step-by-step process that you can follow when selecting a partner. 

  1. Determine Industry Familiarity

If any provider is to deliver a winning customer service experience, they must have a deep knowledge of your industry, business and product or service – not to mention the customers themselves. This can only be the case if they have extensive experience with clients in your sector. Look out for relevant qualifications as well. 

  1. Assess Technical Expertise

Similarly, great live chat outsourcing companies are able to explain the procedures they follow to manage tasks, provide feedback and resolve common issues. Aside from expertise, your vendor should also be accredited in critical areas of business such as project management and quality assurance. 

  1. Request References and Samples

Knowing the background and reputation of your potential outsourcing partner will give you a better idea of what it might be like to work with them. Ask them to send samples or feedback from past clients. Pay attention to the scope of the work and quality of output, as well as any challenges that were faced along the way. 

  1. Inspect Internal Systems

Effectively collaborating with a third party requires certain communication software and tools. Offshore providers in particular need to have measures in place to compensate for time zone differences and minimise gaps. It’s a good idea to agree on a specific point of contact for feedback, concerns and day-to-day queries. 

Project management platforms are an ideal solution here. In addition to communication tools, your prospective partner should also have the latest hardware and technologies. This can include fast internet, encryption, firewalls, backup and recovery services, analytics software and high quality headsets if voice is a factor. 

  1. Calculate Expenses

Depending on your individual circumstances and requirements, there will be a certain pricing model that you must look out for when selecting an outsourcing partner. Regardless of what it is, you need to ensure that there aren’t any hidden fees or unnecessary expenses stipulated in the contract. Your provider should be transparent with their charges. 

  1. Evaluate Team Members

Much of your success with live chat outsourcing depends on who ends up being responsible for providing the service. It’s therefore wise to review a prospective vendor’s hiring policies and training procedures. This can give you an idea of the knowledge, discipline and technical skills that their team possesses. 

Another smart move is to go through a trial or testing phase before signing any contracts. Simulate a couple of live chat interactions and see how the provider’s staff respond. It’s also healthy to partner with a company that understands and adopts your values, beliefs, vision and voice. 

  1. Check Financial Stability

Finally, be sure to assess your potential outsourcing partner’s long-term solvency and stability. You want them to be around for as long as you require their services. This reduces the risk of your sensitive data being compromised and provides peace of mind knowing that your customers can rely on you to keep assisting them at all times. 


Live chat is imperative to successful customer support. Outsourcing can help you make the most out of the communication channel. You just need to find the right partner.