Dive into Exceptional Customer Service Without Drowning
1. What Is Good Customer Service: The Proof & Why Customers Want 24/7 Services.
2. Why should you care?: How 24/7 Customer Service Can Help Your Business.
3. How you can offer 24/7 Customer Service: Gap Analysis & Boosting Your ROI.
4. Customer Service Options: Outsourcing, Social Media & Live Chat.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to provide 24/7 customer service. The challenge comes from making good ROI in the process.
After all, you can employ someone overnight – but unless you can make enough money during out of hours to cover the costs, it isn’t a wise investment. Balancing the different ways to provide out of hours customer service is key to providing a great service, while still making a profit.
So, where do you start?
1. Start with a gap analysis
Look at your business and figure out where the skills and infrastructure gaps are that need filling in.
First step: Look at what you do during office hours:
- Do you usually answer enquiries by phone or email?
- Do you use social media for customer service?
- Do you have dedicated customer service staff?
Second step: Identify which of these can be done out of hours:
- Do you have on-call staff who can take calls once the office closes?
- Do you have a webmail client so your staff can log in from home to manage emails?
- Would any of your staff be willing to do this if they were given the right incentives?
Once you understand the processes in your business, it’s time to compare and contrast what you’re currently doing in the day, what you can potentially do at night, and what your competitors and other companies are already doing. If other companies in your sector are offering 24/7 customer service and you’re not- then what are you waiting for? If they’re not, then start before they do!
2. Identify common queries and choose the right channels
Work out what customer service channels will work best for your customers. You can do this by looking at the type of people your customers are, and what enquiries they make.
- 74% of people prefer the telephone for complex financial questions
- 56% of people aged 18 to 34 prefer live chat to phone
What that means is, if your customers are making big decisions, you need to answer the phone at all times. But, if you’re an online retailer targeting younger people, they might be better served with live chat and social media.
Understand your audience and their needs, so you don’t waste money putting systems in place that they will never use.
But what channels are available?
Pick up the phone
When it comes to providing customer service, the telephone is often still the most popular choice.
In fact, despite all the technological advances,
the telephone still counts for 68% of all customer service interactions.
The reason for this is most likely to do with first contact resolution.
While emails may be more convenient than a phone call, trying to resolve customer service queries via email normally results in a back and forth. Alternatively, an on-call customer service agent is right there, logged into the CRM system, with all the information they need to solve the caller’s enquiry first time.
Is it worth the investment?
Improving first contact resolution alone typically improve customer retention by 15-30 %.
Retaining customers is more profitable than acquiring new ones, which makes using the telephone a worthwhile investment for your business.
The problem with 24/7 call answering in-house
If your standard operating hours are 9 to 5 that means you need to employ staff to cover the 16 hours in between, plus the weekends. Even if you pay out of hours staff minimum wage at £7.50 per hour, that’s £960 a week just to ensure there’s always someone in the office to answer calls.
You’re most likely going to get significantly fewer out of hours enquiries during our of hours, so employing 24/7 staff makes it unlikely that you’ll ever see a good ROI.
“I can’t afford out of hours staff, so I won’t provide 24/7 customer service.”
If this sounds familiar, then the solution is really quite simple. To get the best ROI out of 24/7 customer service, you need to minimise paid ‘down-time’ as much as possible.
Fewer enquiries come in outside of traditional office hours, so as soon as you start paying someone on an hourly basis you’re at risk of seeing negative ROI. That’s why outsourcing your calls for out of hours is so effective for managing enquiries – you only pay for the time spent managing enquiries.