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5 Ways to Save Money on Customer Service

customer service

There are plenty of methods out there that can help businesses save money on customer service. However, not all of these methods are good for businesses.

There are some that can decrease service quality, which can actually end up costing a company more.

In fact, NewVoiceMedia, a company that works with customer service departments in 128 countries, reported in 2016 that businesses are losing $62 billion each year due to poor customer service.

Most customers who encounter poor customer service are likely to switch to another business that—hopefully—provides better customer service.

The implications of this are obvious: if you provide poor customer service, someone else is going to get your business.

The trick to saving money on customer service is to cut costs without sacrificing quality. Take a look at the five methods below to get started.

customer service

Automate where you can

New technologies can help you deliver higher levels of customer service at a fraction of the cost.

Take chatbots, for example. According to Chatbots Magazine, businesses can reduce customer service costs by up to 30% when they implement conversational solutions such as chatbots or virtual assistants.

Utilizing a chatbot in your organization allows users who have quick questions or simple problems to get an answer almost immediately.

This also allows your agents to spend time on more complex issues, which reduces the number of agents on the floor. Each of these can lead to pretty significant cost savings.

Take some time to figure out how to get a chatbot into your customer service department. You’ll be glad you did.

Still on the fence about using automation? We encourage you to ask yourself these three questions to help you decide if it is the right solution.

Hire the right people—& keep them happy.

To decrease recurring calls, you need to hire people who can get customers the right message the first time.

Good customer service reps aren’t just accommodating, they’re smart people who can convey information in a way that’s easy to understand.

These individuals are well-trained & help clients avoid future issues, which reduces the number of incoming calls.

During the hiring process, look for people who are patient, attentive, & have strong communication skills. People with good customer service skills can increase your department’s productivity & lower operational costs.

Using internships as a way to hire eager people is a great way to save money. Keep in mind that you will be training someone who may not stay.

63% of paid internships lead to job offers, whereas only 37% of unpaid intern jobs result in a job offer by the company that brought them on. So be careful where you invest your training time.

Once you’ve hired the right people, it’s important to keep your agents happy. Employees who feel valued & appreciated are those who give their best every day.

Give them the authority to please your customers. This will save you time, increase customer satisfaction, & make your employee feel valued.

Helping your employees feel valued & appreciated reduces employee turnover rates which keeps your operational costs low.

Employ self-service.

Most customer service needs can be answered online—without the help of a human agent.

Chances are, people calling in to customer service have already searched for an answer online. This is because most people prefer to solve their problems on their own.

Allowing your customers to find answers to their questions, online, can save your company a ton of money.

There are a number of ways you can use to employ self-service:

  • Virtual assistants & chatbots are a fast & easy way for your customers to get quick answers to simple questions.
  • Use social media as a means of communicating with your customers. It’s cheap, accessible, & customers are turning to it more & more as a means of communication with the companies they do business with. Hiring a social media agency is a great way to outsource this if you feel you need help.
  • Create a highly-visible, detailed FAQ page that contains detailed answers to callers’ common questions. “A good FAQ page goes a long way for your customers. Troubleshooting information accurately so that they don’t have to even contact you to find what they’re looking for is a winning game plan,” says Micah Pratt of Business.org.
  • Online help desks can point customers in the right direction to find answers, without ever picking up the phone.
  • An online customer portal should contain articles, how-to videos, & live chats that help customers find solutions to their problems in real time. Make sure that your network has enough bandwidth, the site is optimized, & the site has enough bandwidth to load quickly or this will frustrate your customers.

Streamline your support process workflow.

Before you start introducing cost-saving efforts into your organization, take a look at your current processes.

Often, there are areas in your current processes where you can cut costs.

Consider creating flowcharts & maps of your existing processes & take a closer look at them. You may find areas where you can use fewer resources or do things faster with technology that automates your processes.

Then create a new flowchart to illustrate your new processes. Not only will this help you cut costs, but will also address weaknesses in support.

Outsource where appropriate.

Research has shown that by outsourcing your customer service, you can save up to 60% in operational costs.

By outsourcing your customer service, you skip on costs such as vacation pay, insurance, & facility costs. Plus, you can save on training costs, since another company will spend the time, money, & resources on training employees.

By allowing outsourced employees to take care of mundane tasks like data entry, payroll, or answering simple customer questions, your employees are free to work on more important tasks.

If you’re looking to save money on customer service, one of the biggest things you can do is ensure you’re providing high-quality customer service.

Bringing your customer service online via chatbots, outsourcing when you can, or streamlining your support process workflow allows your business to cut costs without compromising quality.

How are you saving money on customer service? Tell us in the comments below!

 


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Hilary Thompson

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Sprout Social Agency Partner & Founding Member
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