These days, every business owner, an entrepreneur is aware of the importance of customer service for their organization. However; a question that arises in everyone’s mind is how much should they invest in providing customer services in their organization and especially if they should invest anything at all or not?
In a few cases, this question can pop-up out of nowhere in an individual’s mind who is aware of the importance of customer service and mostly this question is like a nightmare for individuals without customer service information.
But don’t worry, whether you belong from this wing or that one! We are going to answer all your unasked questions here in the article, provided you are willing to read it all the way! (Time is money but sparing your precious time for this one can help you in making a lot of money as well).
Grab some popcorns and something to drink! Let’s go on a journey!
Different organizations in the market are not completely aware of the importance of the customer support team for their organization. For these organizations, as they fail to understand the importance, the customer support team is just a burden on their resources. However; it should be realized that quality and standard customer support team is helping your customers, the customers who are the actual bread and butter for your organization.
Further; an important point to mention is that these customers note the behavior of the customer support team very vigilantly. As per American Express 2017 customer service report, 50% of customers have changed their service provider or have quit purchasing from a specific mart or shop only due to poor customer service.
The report also states that 17% more customers are willing to spend more if they are provided with quality customer support. An important fact that was derived from the report is that 33% of the customers have shown their intentions of switching their services for single bad customer support provided by the company.
How does the CS Team help?
As we have understood why customer service is important for customers but every organization has a question in mind that how a customer support department will be helpful for us. The answer to the question is that they help in improving the customer experience that eventually helps in the revenue of the organization.
A customer support team helps the production of the company by sharing feedback about flaws in policies and errors in the product based on customer interaction. This feedback provided by the customer support team helps the organization in correcting their mistakes.
A situation can arise for an organization where some of the customers simply don’t share feedback or raise their problems and simply switch their company. For these customers, the customer support team always stays in contact with customers frequently and helps them interact with the support team.
Global Companies and their Customer Support
Now, let me share with you what the giant corporate groups think about the importance of customer support and their customers. IT giant Oracle has 420,000 customers around the world and their Vice President of Global Customer Support Mr.Balaji states that they always look forward to mixing customer support with automation and soft-spoken customer support team.
Mr. Balaji mentions that customer service is connected and based upon people and their communication with customers. Oracle, as per Mr. Balaji, spends quality time and resources for their employees so they can put the best efforts possible when they are interacting with customers.
Fortune magazine publishes the list of top 500 companies around the world and an organization named Telerx manages 35 million customers for those companies. Senior Vice President of Telex Frank Pettinato mentions that customers these days are expecting that they are connected with customer support at any moment from any place in the world and that’s exactly what Telex is doing for their clients.
Sage Group, an organization that provides software solutions, accounting solutions and other services have over 6 million customers across the globe. The executive vice president of the sage group mentions that although it is an age of technology and automation has taken over every industry possible but the importance of human customer support can never be denied as customer’s problems should be and can only be understood by a human support provider.
Levels of Customer Support
Now, as we have understood the importance of customer support, it is required to be noted that an organization can provide 4 different levels of customer. If we name those terms in simple words they are 1- ‘Meet Customer Expectation’ 2- ‘Exceed Customer Expectation’ 3-‘Delight Your Customer’ and 4- ‘Amaze your customer’. Now, these 4 different levels of customer support can be provided to your customer.
However; for providing these different levels of customer support, the investment will also be of different types. The first layer (Meeting the customer expectation) is the basic level support on which minimum investment is required for the organizations.
However; daily, there are scenarios, which require support to be provided by an expert or a senior person. In that scenario, a level 2 or level 3 support is arranged in organizations. The staff member of these level 2 or level 3 support is mostly the senior employees of the organization who are aware of every working procedure of the company.
The investment on these support levels is different and more than basic support. The exact figure of the investment varies from organization to organization and the accounting experts are there to determine these figures, however; higher the support level higher will be the investment.
Customer Support and Sales Support
There is a point which is always mixed up and confused and that is the difference between customer service and sales & marketing. Few organizations assume that a customer support official can perform both of these tasks. However; customer service and sales & marketing are two completely different procedures and phenomena.
The thinking approach makes the strategies and working procedure completely different from each other. In sales, the agent always has to bring in new customers and is provided with a target every time. Further; in sales, the agent on the duty will have to interact with the customer before the customer has acquired the services of the company.
On the other hand, a customer support agent will not have to bring new customers from the market or is provided with a sales target. Customer service agent mostly will be interacting with who already have the services of the company.
In both scenarios, the dealing process of the customer changes as the sales and marketing field requires the official to provide all the basic details about the products of the company. However; a customer support agent will only be providing the specific information for which the customer has contacted.
Managing the Investment on Customer Support
Now if a question is itching your brain that the investment on products and customer service should be the same in every condition, then it means you have been following us from the start of the article. Let’s dig some facts and find out the answer to the aforementioned query. The investment done on products, services, and customer care mainly depends upon the target market of the company.
In case, your organization has competition in the industry you are working in, then the investment in the products and services will get higher. However; if the products and services are similar, the investment focus should be shifted towards customer services and marketing tactics. Take an example of KFC and McDonald’s. Both of them are popular food chains found in different parts of the globe. But the marketing strategies, customer service standards are different from each other.
Along with this above-mentioned procedure, organizations will have to understand when it is not required to invest. In many organizations, the sales of products depend upon a specific season. So, during the offseason, organizations aren’t required to invest in products or launching new services. In the offseason organizations just need to focus on after-sale services and customer care.
Methods of Customer Support
Speaking of customer care, we know that there are many ways through which support can be provided to the customers these days. These methods are live chat, phone support, email, text messages, automated IVR, bots, social media support, etc. But organizations can’t invest equally on every communication channel, they are always looking for a single method on which the investment should be higher than others.
To determine a proper communication method, we’ll have to take surveys. Although this is a fast-paced environment and we assume that customers don’t have time for a telephonic conversation, but as per New Voice Media, 68% of the customers still rely and depend on telephonic conversations. So your organization should be focused on having a dedicated IVR based phone support line.
However; these days social media is growing rapidly and its importance can never be ignored and should not be ignored especially by companies. Surveys state that the organizations that focus on social media interactions have 15% more revenue than other companies.
These days, the majority of the customers are mostly online and they prefer that their issue gets resolved without them having to step out of their comfort zone. For these customers, companies have live chat services.44% of the online customers are willing to select an organization which is providing live chat support.
Important Points for Customer Support
With all of these being said, the last decision for investment in customer care communication method is in the organization’s hands. Before making a decision, the organization should asses and check which tool or platform is mostly being used by customers.
As the decision of selecting the main communication method is made, organizations face an important dilemma. The dilemma of selecting support hours changes from organization to organization. Before selecting a support hour, companies should assess the target market and their appropriate timings.
The number of customers is also a decisive factor in choosing support hours. In case the target market reflects that customers usually contact between business hours (9 AM to 5 PM), the organization should be selecting 9 am to 5 am as their support duration. However; it is not a guarantee that customers won’t contact at an alternate time.
If an organization has the resources, tools, and budget, 24 hours support is considered as ideal for customer services. One irate customer who is not provided customer support at his/her required timing can spoil 10 existing or potential customers. Word of mouth is the strongest advertisement and marketing tool to date, so companies need to be careful and provide 24 hours support, if possible.
However; if the situation asks, proper support should be provided during business hours and an automated IVR/bot system should be installed for after hours.
Another step that an organization can take to overcome the support timings problem is the creation of a knowledge base website where FAQs are provided for the customer along with troubleshooting steps of most common problems. This process of knowledge base helps the customer in understanding the product in a better way.