Every business owner or manager wants to provide the best customer care possible. But in order to stay profitable and competitive, two strategies often come to the fore. Reduce customer service costs and raise customer experience (CX).
But how do you do them both? Many people expect CX improvements to be costly, but there are several options that can both reduce customer service cots and raise CX at the same time. Even better, you can decide where to start with advanced analytics.
Ways to Reduce Customer Service Costs
The reasons to reduce customer service costs are obvious. But whatever sparked your decision to embark on that path, there are many potential options to choose to start cutting costs today. Here are a few ideas to reduce customer service costs while also improving CX:
- Promote self-service options
- Communicate proactively to solve potential problems
- Adopt new, low-cost communication channels in your contact center
- Analyze customer interactions to identify the best use of funds
Self-service is the ability for customers to resolve their own problems without the assistance of an agent or customer service representative. Potential self-service technologies include IVR, chatbots, web portals and automated messaging.
The path to reduce customer service costs through self-service are obvious. Increased self-service equals reduced time your agents spend on the phone, directly reducing contact center costs.
But as fewer calls are routed to an agent, won’t that hurt CX? Actually, increased self-service can raise CX. In a recent study by Execs in the Know, 72% of business professionals said customers want to talk to an agent to handle routine issues, and 90% said customers want an agent’s help for complex issues.
In reality, only about half of customers would prefer to speak to an agent for routine problems, and only 72% said the same regarding complex issues. While it’s important to have an escalation plan in place, starting off with a self-service solution — especially for routine issues — actually matches what consumers prefer for their CX.
Proactively Solve Problems
You can probably come up with plenty of reasons customers would call your contact center. But in many cases, they can be summed up in five different reasons:
- Make a payment, either for a recurring service or a one-time expense
- Ask a question, most likely to learn more about your product or service
- Respond to the unexpected, like a flight delay or price increase
- Express concern or get information, during something like an outage
- Get a reminder, after forgetting details like the time of a doctor’s appointment
By predicting when these kinds of concerns will arise, you can start the conversation. Using a low-cost communication channel, like SMS or email, to speak with many customers at once will save time and money compared to answering individual customer calls over and over. That’s key when trying to reduce customer service costs.
But even better, your customers realize you know what they want. Through proactive communication, you show that you are aware of their present challenges, and they’ll have faith in you to give them the information they need in the future. That is one of the best ways for a company to raise CX.
Use Low-Cost Contact Center Channels
You must interact with customers in the channel they choose. So if someone decides to call your contact center, you rely on an agent-assisted phone call throughout the interaction.
Unfortunately, agent-assisted interactions are possibly the most expensive type of customer service offering in your business. If agents answer every single customer question, customer service costs fly through the roof.
You may not be able to switch channels after receiving a call, but you can inspire customers to try out low-cost channels on their own. Start by sending an outbound message of your own. Try promoting a new service or answering a common question in one of these low-cost communication channels:
Also known as text messaging. Texting is an ubiquitous part of the culture in the U.S. and around the world. Your customers always have a device in their pocket and check it hundreds of times a day. SMS is one of the cheapest communication options out there, with messages costing less than one penny to send, and customers are very likely to see your message.
Standing for “electronic mail,” email is the primary form of communication for many, especially for business purposes, far outpacing all social media messaging platforms. But just because email has been around a while doesn’t mean it’s stopped changing. New filters in popular email providers take messages out of the inbox, so your message may not be seen by everyone.
As the newest and most hyped entry on this list, chatbots are still touted by many to be the “next big thing” in customer service. Bot development cost varies depending on complexity, but even a bot that’s expensive to develop may pay off down the line. Usually living on a business website or platform like Facebook Messenger, chatbots are always on and available to answer questions, without earning a paycheck.
As customers see these other channels in use and adapt, they’ll learn that each provides a quicker path to resolution using a channel they’re already familiar with, raising CX in a way they won’t expect.
Analyze Your Customer Interactions
All these tips are useful to reduce customer service costs and raise CX, but you can only garner the most value through analytics-based planning. By analyzing where customers spend the most time and where your service solutions succeed and fail, you can find the best places to spend and to save.
These four tactics are the keys to reduce customer service costs and raise CX at the same time. But there’s also one analytics solution that will give you more insight into your customer interactions than ever before.
Connected Analysis with Avoke Analytics
Most organizations are loaded with data about contact center locations, skill groups, IVRs, computer telephony integration and customer relationship systems. What the data lacks is insight into why people are calling, how the most important callers were handled and the overall customer experience.
That’s why we recommend Avoke CX Analytics. It’s a one-of-a-kind solution that outlines every step of a customer interaction in an easy-to-read visual format. The Avoke CX Browser™ system fills the analytics gap with customer journey monitoring, visualization and metrics to provide actionable insights.
By analyzing the effectiveness of your communication channels, you can decide where to invest your time and money to avoid wasting funds, cut existing costs and create a better experience for all.
Balancing Costs with CX
Every business must watch their spending, and fear of a poor customer service experience shouldn’t get in the way of profitability. Saving money and making customers happy are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to both reduce customer service costs and raise CX, as long as you have the right strategy.
Check out the links below for even more information about the value of analytics to your communication channels. With the right data, all aspects of your business can be made even better.
This article is part of a series on the benefits and best practices of improving customer experience with analytics. Check out the other articles in this series: