4 Ways to Reduce Customer Service Phone Volume
Hold the phone: it’s time to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Historically, phone is the most expensive customer service channel to staff and maintain. Still, in a world where companies are constantly dealing with customer inquiries and complaints, the phone has persevered given how efficient it is for resolving problems.
Or is it? According to the eDigital Customer Service Benchmark Survey, just 44% of consumers are actually satisfied with traditional phone experience.
But here’s the problem: diverting customers to self-service channels when they are looking for real human support could cost your business (just look what happened to Frontier Airlines). So what can you do to reduce call volume, while still maintaining a high quality of service and ensuring every inquiry is resolved as efficiently as possible?
In order for businesses to stand out in their respective competitive markets, they must adapt and utilize more effective channels (and technology) in order to meet their customers in the moment with speed, trust, and authenticity. Consider these ideas:
- Be where your customers are
If we look at the NOW Customer— the consumer who is interactive and “always on”– it’s not just the younger generations demanding instant gratification. All consumers live in an increasingly on-demand world. As a business, this means you need to open up more support channels in order to meet your customers where they are.
There are plenty of ways to offer support to your customers without getting on the phone. Consider email, chat, SMS messaging and social media to allow your customers to find help the way that works best for them.
- Provide self-service options
Speaking of being where your customers are… you should have plenty of resources that are readily available in the case that your customers have a very simple question that doesn’t warrant getting on the phone with a customer service representative. Be proactive, and consider analyzing your previous support inquiries to determine trends among frequently asked questions and customer behavior. From there, start putting together the resources that make the most sense for you and your customers.
- Step-by-step tutorials
- Interactive videos
- On-demand webinars
- Customer knowledge bases
- FAQ website page
As a retail or ecommerce brand selling an appliance, consider tutorials for setting up the appliance, as well as recipe guides that demonstrate how to best leverage the appliance.
In the quick service or fast casual restaurant space, try surfacing frequently ordered items, or recommendations for similar menu items. One-click-or-download-to-join rewards programs are also a great way to show your appreciation and grow a more loyal customer base. (By the way, here are some QSR brands that are doing it really well.)
As a financial services or fintech brand, allow your customers to quickly and easily set up price alerts for tracking the market in real-time.
For subscription-based businesses, make cancellations as easy as possible for the customer. Simplr data shows that customers are more satisfied and more likely to re-subscribe if their cancellation request is handled without explanation.
- Live chat 24/7/365
Today’s leading brands have 24/7 live chat online and in-app, and it’s becoming table stakes for anyone trying to please the NOW Customer. With an always-on, dedicated support channel like live chat, you’ll be able to provide speedy and high quality support. Benefits of 24/7 live chat support include (but are certainly not limited to):
- It’s extremely convenient for website visitors and mobile app users: chat looks, feels, and behaves like a text conversation. Everyone knows how to text, especially Generation Z, so the customer doesn’t have to learn a new way of communicating. They are already comfortable with the format and the way it does things.
- It is a quality conversation: quality customer service answers the customer almost immediately and resolves the issue satisfactorily in the shortest time possible—it’s that simple! Aim to answer your live chats in under 48 seconds if you want to satisfy your customer satisfaction.
- It’s cost effective: On average most live chat agents can handle three or more chats simultaneously. This saves companies on personnel costs, as it allows a few live chat agents to serve the same amount of people as a larger team of phone support employees. It’s a win-win for your business and your customers.
Live chat allows businesses to provide their customers with far better service that is immediate, useful and doesn’t waste their precious time.
Chatbots and live chat are great…but they are not perfect. In a recent study across the retail and ecommerce markets, Simplr found that 71.1% of chatbots were unable to even understand the customers’ questions, which impacted consumers’ likelihood to repurchase from those particular brands. So what do you do when live chat doesn’t cut it?
80% of consumers are actually more willing to use a chatbot if they know they can easily (and quickly) transfer to a live person. Businesses should consider CX solutions that incorporate both automation (chat) and humans, to account for scenarios that require a human. Adding a human element to chat, especially in the presale stage, can increase satisfaction, reduce effort, and boost repurchase intent.
Simplr’s EngageNow Suite, for example, uses value-based routing to our Human Cloud Network, a community of high-quality agents who can handle complex questions, to ensure every customer inquiry can be resolved in a timely manner. “Value-based routing not only decreases phone volume to save companies money and achieves the efficiency they’re after, but it closes the sale and gives the customer a great experience so they’ll keep coming back,” Simplr CEO Eng Tang explains. “For businesses considering alternatives to the costly BPO-style CX, especially in light of current economic uncertainties, a hybrid, value-based model is the way of the future that won’t alienate your customers.”
Digital CX Transformation
It is stressful being on a customer support team (or in a call center) receiving high volumes of calls. Consider investing in CX solutions that harness the power of both technology and humans to reduce costs while continuing to delight your most loyal customers.