Groupon is toying with the idea of outsourcing some of its e-mail customer service. In a recent wired.com article, Groupon notes that it’s looking to open its own customer service center in India. While it notes that it’s not using an outsourced vendor, the reason for the move is clear – to save money. According to the article, “Groupon shares closed at $4.27 Monday, down almost 84% since the company’s initial offering in November.”
But what might be most interesting about the article is the information shared about the job posting in India. Groupon is looking for “staff with ‘high degrees of empathy, patience, resourcefulness, and web savvy [who can] respond to emails.'” So let’s percolate on this for a minute.
Much of the dialogue in business these days is conducted via e-mail. So to be effective in communicating with customers via e-mail, just as you would via face-to-face or telephone communications, you need to understand what employee qualities would work.
While empathy is vital to great customer service (in outsourcing or otherwise), it’s particularly difficult to convey when communicating via e-mail. To provide good customer service via e-mail, one of the primary qualities is the ability to write, to understand the words you’re using and how the other person would most likely receive them. An employee needs to know how to write in a concise manner, to answer questions specifically, to set expectations. They have to know how to write well.
Whether Groupon adopts this outsourcing philosophy is up to them, but if they (or any other company) wants to provide good customer service via e-mail, they need to look for people who can write in an organized manner, who can personalize in writing, who write with more of a “you” focus than “I” focus, yes – who can convey empathy in writing, and who can convey tone with the written word.
Look for something special in your customer service reps.
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