If you ask many business executives, they would say their customer service contact center is a necessary expense and it does not contribute to the bottom line.
As such, they don’t emphasize on technology upgrades or process improvements for their in-house centers and, when outsourcing, they would settle for the least expensive options. Even worse, some companies are cutting their contact centers altogether, considering them less relevant in this age of digital self-service.
But what if you could turn your customer service contact center from cost to profit center? In fact, what if it could become one of the largest revenue generators in your entire company?
We already highlighted the reasons for investing in Customer service in our previous blog post. Check out in case you missed it
Reasons to Invest More in Customer Experience
Now that I have your attention, let’s discuss why investing in your customer service contact center to turn a profit makes sense and the steps you can take to get there.
Below are the following steps to turn your contact center into a profit center.
One strategy to boost revenue is to aggressively mine your customer service data to pinpoint and capitalize upon specific sales opportunities. With the right tools at your disposal, you can uncover a wide range of such opportunities—including accessories, add-ons, up-sells, cross-sells, service contracts, and training.
This strategy may be attractive as a first step because it is the least intrusive one. You don’t have to retrain your customer service staff or modify your existing customer service processes. With this strategy, the sales cycle itself gets initiated and fulfilled by other parts of the company. Customer service here would simply provide the data necessary to generate revenue opportunities.
Here is a simple example of how this strategy works. A consumer calls a software company with a technical question. While gathering the information needed to solve the problem, the customer service agent also notes that the customer is using an older, somewhat obsolete version of the software. The service rep will complete the call as usual. Over the course of the month, customer service agents receive many such calls. So at the end of the month, the company can send a special upgrade offer to every customer who called in and was found to be using an older version of the software.
There is a Triple benefit with this kind of strategy: * the company realized additional revenue from the upgrade sale. * Customers are more satisfied because they have a better product now. * Customer service costs are reduced because newer products will have fewer problems and at the end are less expensive to support.
“When a customer comes to you with an issue, you actually have a great opportunity—after you first solve the problem, of course—to initiate a highly engaged relationship with that customer,” declares Geric Johnson, who led the implementation of this strategy at Skechers. “So you can realize incremental revenue at the same time as you convert unhappy customers into highly loyal ones.”
Today’s customer values speed, so in addition to traditional phone and email, adding support channels like chatbots, live chat, social media, and mobile apps is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Make it easy for the customer to get in touch with you using whatever means is best suited to their preference and convenience.
Another way to turn your contact center from cost to profit is by training your customer service agents to make relevant offers to customers when appropriate. Even though selling is not their primary role, that does not mean that the customer service agents can’t learn the art of the soft sell.
Train your agents to get to the heart of the customer’s challenge, steer the conversation around cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and invite the customers to take advantage of the product or service opportunity being presented.
While the aim is not necessarily to create a sales culture within the customer support team, clear goals and objectives do need to be set so that the team knows what they are aiming for.
How much should your Customer Care Specialists be selling each month? Based on their volume, how does that convert into conversion levels? What’s the average revenue per call across the customer support team? With clearly defined metrics and targets in place, this level of tracking becomes easy, and by monitoring how individual Customer Care Specialists are performing, then they can be strategically motivated through positive feedback, incentives, and end-of-year performance appraisals.
Revenue-generation can only be increased by enhancing the customer service agent’s ability to convert cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. This can increase revenues, build excellent customer relationships, and increase customer awareness. However, according to Loudhouse Research, 86% of strategic decision-makers in contact centers do not think that their agents currently have the skills required to meet their obligations in terms of upselling and cross-selling. Organizations should invest in identifying skills that lead to revenue-generation, and train and coach the customer service agents to use the most important skills. Despite these opportunities, only 45% of contact centers are offering such programs, but when utilized, over 52% of contact centers reported observing increased revenue per contact. The most challenging part of implementing revenue-generating programs in your contact center is procuring sales enabling technology that can work as an extension to the existing customer support platform, a technology that can easily integrate with service and sales functionalities.
With evolving customer expectations and service complexities, contact centers are poised to deliver strategic value and profitability to organizations in the years to come. Perceiving contact centers as a cost center is old fashioned and needs to be disposed of if organizations wish to see the real potential of a contact center.
In an era when customer experience is the make or break criteria for business success, not investing in your customer service contact center is the biggest mistake. If maintaining a center in-house is no longer feasible due to the low unemployment, higher wages, and the inability to scale, choosing to outsource can be a viable/ better option.
Never select an outsourcer based on cost alone, however. Price is a critical metric, but the ultimate goal should be to provide high-quality service that reflects the value of the investment.
If outsourcing is an option, consider Team MAS. We provide customized solutions, experienced leadership, and an open model that lets you see exactly how your contact center is working at all times. Contact us to learn more.
Customer service reports not only provides you an overview of all customer service requests received from your customers but also allows you to identify the key areas for improvement, plan your workload and schedules of your customer support team. You can keep track of your CX trends, and most importantly, you get to know whether your customers’ expectations are met or not.
Lets have a look at the reports:
1) Number of requests received per day:-
The “number of requests received” report shows you how many customer requests you have received within the last day(s). Knowing the number of requests you receive helps you identify customer service trends and gives you insight for how you can plan and schedule your support team.
For example, if you start to notice an increase in requests on Saturdays and Sundays, it might mean that you need to schedule your team to work on the weekend.
2) Number of requests closed per user:-
The “number of requests closed per user” report provides an overview of how many requests each support agent is closing. With this report, you can measure the performance of individual customer service agents, allowing you to identify how productive each agent is and how many requests they are able to handle.
If you find that an agent is answering twice as many requests as the rest of your team, it might mean that the agent is “cherry picking” the easy requests over the more difficult ones. One way to solve this is to automatically assign requests to the next available agent so that all requests are distributed equally.
Another example might be that one agent is answering too few requests compared to the rest of the team. If an agent is struggling, then you should consider conducting a training session. Find out what’s slowing them down and suggest ways they can improve their workflow.
3) Average response time:-
According to a study, 82% of customers say the number one factor to great customer service is having their issues resolved quickly. This is why it’s important to measure how long it takes you to respond to a customer!
Average response time is calculated from the time a request has been sent by a customer, to the time an agent has responded. For example, if a customer sends a request at 3pm and a customer service agent responds by 4pm, then the response time is one hour.
The faster you can respond to a customer, the better service you deliver.
If you find it is taking too long to respond to customer service requests, if could be due to the fact that the right department or agent isn’t receiving the request and that the delay occurs when trying to find the right contact person.
Another reason for taking too long to respond might be due to the responses themselves. Are your agents creating each response from scratch? Are lengthy emails slowing down your response time?
4) Number of messages per owner:-
Customers don’t enjoy endless back and forth messages with customer service departments and prefer to have their issues handled by an agent who has all the right information, asks all the right questions and gives accurate answers, within the first reply.
What is first contact resolution?
It’s when you can resolve a customer issue in your first response.
Only 11% of companies are able to manage customer requests in the first reply.
This report tells you how much effort your customers have to put in to get their issues solved.
A high number of messages could indicate that the request responses from your team are not detailed enough.
However, an agent could easily include all of these details within the first response, which would lead to a high first contact resolution rate.
5) Number of requests created per month:-
The “number of requests created per month” report is an important report for identifying customer request trends.
Like any business, you will have your high season and your low season. If you sell your product or service to businesses, you can expect a high volume of requests during the work week and you can expect the number of requests to drop during the weekends.
When there’s so much data available, it’s easy to spend time reading the wrong reports.
And there’s no use in getting bogged down in data without knowing what to actually do with it. The reason you are reviewing this data is so you can make better decisions, improve your processes and understand how your team is performing.
By using these customer service reports, you can keep track of trends, employee productivity and customer satisfaction, all of which have a significant impact on your bottom line.