According to research, over 70% of all customers who leave a company for its competition have no problem with the product. Their main issue is with the customer care offered. This means that customer churn can hypothetically be reduced by 70% with world-class customer care.
The trouble is, world-class customer care can come with a hefty price tag. Data from the Worldwide Industry Benchmark Report for 2015 shows that the average cost per inbound customer service call is $1.30. This is for average customer care. But the minute you want to up the ante, the costs go up exponentially.
That does not mean you give up on the quest for exceptional care for your customers. Here are a few ideas that will help reduce your customer care costs without a negative impact on quality.
No matter how fancy your software, if you don’t have the right people manning your customer care lines, you’re in for big trouble. By “right”, I mean the few essential traits that your staff needs to have, including:
All these qualities make a stellar customer care representative—one that you’ll be proud to have to represent your business. Once you have good employees, invest time and resources in training them well. Teach them how to get things right in the first attempt, how to mollify heated situations, and how to work together as a team.
As you rightly guessed, such people don’t come cheap. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish by hiring the least experienced or skilled people who apply to your customer care positions. By investing in talented staff, you will improve customer satisfaction, reduce repeat calls, and increase overall revenue in the long run.
Customers call up your support hotline for a myriad of reasons. It could be anything from solving product issues to maintenance requests. However, with the help of customer support software, it is possible to track the reasons why users call and identify those that top the list. Once you’ve identified the top problem areas, work out a way to fix them. Let’s say the majority of your calls are about monthly purchases. By setting up a simple section on your site that allows users to buy monthly subscriptions, you automate the payment process and eliminate the cost of taking user calls for purchases.
Mike Cholak from Convergys suggests building a “Customer Experience Map.” Map out the path your customers take through your support system and identify processes or products that make for a poor user experience. Fixing these issues on priority helps improve your customer’s overall satisfaction rate with your company. It will also mean fewer repeat calls, shorter call times, and quicker problem resolution, all contributing to a lowering of customer care costs.
Customers cite calling call centers and waiting to be served as one of the most irritating things they do in a day. Avoid troubling your customers by offering them information about your product or service upfront, via detailed FAQs.
Some important things to remember about your FAQs section:
However awesome your FAQ section maybe, some users simply can’t go without having a real person answer their questions. They can’t be bothered to “go on the internet” and dig into instructions or forum discussions. To help such customers, create a self-service option on your customer care phone lines, or provide live chat options on your site.
The technology available today can eliminate the need for having all your customer care personnel under one roof. You can build a support team that works from home and is located anywhere in the world at a significantly lower cost than transporting people to your location, paying rent, utilities, and other assorted overhead at a permanent commercial property.
Remote workers have been known to put in longer hours, are less stressed out, and are cheaper to maintain than employees in physical offices. Microsoft’s “Work Without Walls” whitepaper tells you all the different benefits that come with remote workers such as:
However, ensure that your customer service agents are equipped with tools and useful software that enable them to work efficiently. Zendesk Chat, for example, allows agents to chat with the customer and each other through a simple web-based dashboard.
The ability to track your agent and customer support team’s performance through analytics will also be useful in helping your teamwork better from their respective locations
Once you’ve mapped out your touchpoints, it’s often helpful to group them into channels. That’s the focus of this blog post.
Websites: refers to customers visiting websites to gather information about a company. Can include both mobile and regular versions of the website.
Native Mobile App: refers to customers who download a company’s iOS or Andriod app, and feedback is gathered about their experience with it.
Contact Center: an important touchpoint where customers call for more information or assistance. Online chat is another part of modern contact centers.
In Location: refers to actual in-person customer experiences, such as a retail store, restaurant, or hotel.
Field Services: customers interact with a company in their home.
When you look at all the touchpoints on your map, each of them will likely fall into one of these five channels.
No matter how your customer interacts with you, the ultimate goal is to have a consistent “omnichannel” experience.
When your in-location experience is different from your web experience, or when your web experience is different from the experience a customer has with your native mobile app, this inconsistent CX will create problems.
Customers might feel like the company cares about them after a positive field service experience, but if the contact center fails to provide the same level of experience, the customer will be disappointed.
Keep in mind that if you’re working with a premium brand, all channels will need to deliver an outstanding customer experience. If you’re working with a mid-tier, value-oriented brand, the goal may be to achieve a certain standard throughout each channel, such as professionalism or efficiency.
If you want a consistent omnichannel experience, make sure you are listening to your customers on each channel! You can gather feedback from these five channels in various ways.
For example, you might ask about their most recent experience with a field services representative through an email survey. How satisfied were you with our technician’s most recent visit to your home? Why? Were there any problems? If so, please describe them.
Or you can gather feedback via methods that are channel-specific.
For website feedback, pop-up surveys can ask the customer for feedback while they are on the website or after they leave.
When a customer uses a mobile app, a survey can be embedded into the app asking them to provide feedback.
An interactive voice response (IVR) survey or a computer-generated survey can be used after a customer interacts with a contact center—the system directs the customer to the survey when the call is complete.
We are also seeing more and more text surveys, or Short Message Surveys (SMS), these days as a substitute for email surveys.
SUGGESTED READING: 5 Ways to Increase Conversion With Customer Service Experience
We have collected some information, I think very useful information regarding changing scenarios of sales in the times of SM impact, you can get surprised by what you are going to learn because one can think that number does not reflect the whole story but they certainly illuminate many aspects of it, deep inside of the analysis put on by the numbers there is a path clarity over the sales strategies
This statistic proves the importance of having an outstanding web presence, not just for sales, but also for marketing and customer service teams alike. In today’s digital era, consumers often first interact with you and your brand via the Web.This also proves that having a viable online reputation and solid reviews is just as important! How you are represented on the Web as a company says a lot about your business success.
Social media helps to close gaps in communication between the consumer and brand, or, in this case – the salesperson. The more you can connect with consumers on their preferred channel, the better off your entire business is.
This means that CRM and marketing automation tools can be especially useful to salespeople today, to help automate tasks like this to keep the sales cycle moving forward without sacrificing a personal touch. Today’s technology is equipped to handle and help salespeople handle this modern consumer demand. Decision-makers are morning people (apparently)! Make sure your email sends are too.
This implies that consumers and buyers appreciate a well-thought-out email that gets their own wheels churning. Come up with a few effective questions to send their way to show you are concerned for and addressing their needs from the beginning of your relationship.
Only one in three messages that are longer than 2500 words receive a reply. However, you shouldn’t be too brief: A 25-word email is roughly as effective as a 2000-word one. What’s the sweet spot? Between 50 and 125 words — or around the length of this paragraph.
They spend 21% of their day writing emails, 17% entering data, another 17% prospecting and researching leads, 12% going to internal meetings, and 12% scheduling calls.
The stats are drawn from studies, surveys, and articles from trusted sources like HubSpot, Baydin, Blue corona
If figuring out how to grow and effectively manage an In-House team seems like a huge obstacle and will largely distract you from growing your business, it’s a good investment to join hands with a reliable outsourcing partner because as per the old saying, the recruitment is like fishing, you need to go there, where are fishes and not too many fishermen.
In addition to it, you want to hit the market after making your mind ready to start up a business, you don’t want to waste months looking for a viable developer and recruitment process because the ideas should not wait for such hurdles when there are trusted outsourcing is available.
Apart from recruitment and developing, cost advantages of outsourcing cannot be underestimated, if you can get access to an outsourcing partner who has experience of nurturing talent pool over the years and serving for the business across verticals, and eventually which is more affordable too, a start-up should take advantage of that
When starting up a business or idea, the aspiring entrepreneurs always have a lot on their plates but a little time to do all. They envision hundreds of ways to make the start-up successful but can’t solely focus on it. That’s why the most well-known brands consider outsourcing to vendors, who specialize on those tasks, and that too with cost-effectiveness ensuring better ROI
As the owner of a start-up business, one should know that their time is gold, wasting a minute out of this could cost huge to your business, the best move to avoid such a scenario would be to delegate the task to people who specialize on each field. Outsourcing is the first and foremost solution to the dilemma, hence the start-up should wisely consider a reputable outsourcing partner to give you quality output for a reasonable price
Also, read Key steps to minimize the risk of outsourcing
Success Stories of Outsourcing
Story #1: Procter & Gamble
Product companies, such as P&G, have a big challenge performing in a very rapidly changing market. It is critical to bring out a new product ahead of many competitors. So one day, after decades of product race, P&G made a decision to outsource some R&D activities. The result exceeded all the expectations. Outsourcing boosted its innovation productivity by 60% and generated more than $10 billion in revenue from over 400 new products. Today, about half of P&G’s innovation comes from external collaboration
Story #2: Unilever
While growing, transnational companies face dramatic operational problems. Well-known consumer products giant Unilever Europe, over the years, had expanded by country and division. As a result, different business groups and geographies operating across 24 countries were all using multiple ERP systems. In 2005 its leadership team made a strategic decision to integrate the company’s multiple business units into a single and create one ERP system across Europe. Not being a specialist in IT solutions, the company outsourced the development of ERP systems to external parties. As a result, these improvements have directly contributed to the € 700 million annual savings on operational activities.
Story #3 Mark McRae and his 30 companies
Here’s the story you probably haven’t heard of. Mark McRae is one of the Sunshine Coast entrepreneurs in Australia. He has successfully managed and own multiple businesses that is more than 30 companies! Having a wife and three children, he was still able to hire 1,300 people and generated $280 million in online and offline sales for his businesses. He says, that his secret is outsourcing. Mr. McRae wasn’t afraid to outsource to various countries, such as Malaysia, the Philippines, South Africa, the USA, and India. As a result, he enjoyed the benefits of working with global talents.
“Outsourcing can give you access to a dizzying array of highly skilled professionals from all over the world. For example, to produce a professional documentary, I hired a scriptwriter in the USA, film crew from Canada, post-production team in Croatia, and editor in Serbia.”
– Mark McRae.
Story #4 Acer
Acer, the Taiwan-based personal computer maker, has used capability sourcing to make itself into the world’s second-largest PC manufacturer. Since the spin-off of its contract manufacturing operations in 2000, the company has made a big step ahead its competitors. The Acer executives knew it was good at branding and marketing and chose to outsource everything company had a harder time with, like manufacturing. The move led Acer to faster-growing sales and gains in market share. The company now maintains a strikingly lean and flexible operation. Its 6,800 employees represent a workforce less than a tenth the size of its largest competitor.
Story #5 JM Family Enterprises
JM Family Enterprises is a diversified automotive corporation whose principal businesses focus on vehicle distribution and processing; financial services and technology products. The company outsourced all mainframe hardware, software and operations because once mainframe usage leveled off at $8.2 billion. The outsourcing vendor immediately optimized operations so that critical month-end financial reports landed on the desks of JM Family executives on time. What hadn’t happened before?
“It was the same hardware. The same data. But they were able to gain efficiencies because they knew how to run a mainframe better than we were ever able to.”
– Ken Yerves, Senior VP
These amazing stories show, how one good decision can bring great success and development for business. But, as we can see, it was not emotional and rush decisions. Outsourcing must be strategic and deliberate. We will keep sharing such insightful stories for you, keep following!!
Many companies, including yours, might find outsourcing to be a good idea as there is so much to be gained from it: operationally, financially and logistically. But there are also risks involved in this business model.
Several issues may crop up. For instance, the cost saving might not be what your company expected. The third party service provider might not be able to handle the scope of the project. It could even turn out that they may not have the personnel and the skills to execute the assignments; this, in turn, may impact the deliverables. If everything else seems fine, the quality of service provided by the outsourcing company might not be up to the standards expected by your company’s customers.
To manage such risks, take the following steps in a timely manner.
This first step should be taken at the initial stage itself. Start by discussing all relevant issues with the outsourcing firm. Structure the modalities of the agreement in such a way, that the success of the project is the joint responsibility of both your company and the third party service provider.
The burden of managing the risks and the responsibility for accurate execution of the process has to be shared by the concerned parties. This will ensure that neither side is in a position to shed accountability.
The outsourcing agreement should be such that it yields a specific business result to you as a client. Ensure that it does not merely become a channel for you to acquire inexpensive labor. The service provider should also be informed about the goals of the business model that your firm is trying to achieve, so that they can also take steps to contribute towards achieving those targets.
Document what quality means to your company. Document what quantity means. Define the parameters that represent success and the ones that represent failure. There should be timelines, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks for achieving targets. If these indicators are breached, then penalties should be imposed and an enquiry should be conducted into the probable cause of the failure to reach the agreed targets.
There should be a trial period where the outsourcing company could be put to test to check if they can handle the work. This could be of the duration of one month or three months or any other time period, that you both agree upon. In case the process fails during that time, then you always have the option of entrusting the project to another firm. If you are satisfied with the services, then you could finalize the agreement and the service provider can start the process in full earnest.
Business situations keep changing constantly. These changes impact both your firm as well as the service provider. That is why it is essential that the outsourcing model and the process methods are kept flexible. These models and methods should not fail with the slightest of changes. The process methods and the outsourcing terms should be amenable to changes as and when the needs of your firm progress.
Today, confidentiality is everything. Therefore, you should sign a non-disclosure agreement with the service provider. This will ensure that your company’s information is kept confidential. There will be certain processes where you might have to give access to the service provider to intranet sites and other important company information. It would be in your best interest to sign agreements with the service provider that protect the secrecy of this data. You could also conduct site visits at the office of the outsourcer to ensure that the data is being kept safe.
There are many businesses that insist on overseeing project recruitments by the service provider, so that only personnel that suit the company’s needs and have the right skills, are on-boarded. You could do this while outsourcing, especially if the work requires a specialized set of skills or access to extensive knowledge.