Cut the Cost of Customer Service in 7 Simple Steps

Customer service is very critical to the survival of any business given that it’s the best way to ensure customer satisfaction. Basically, it is a corporate crime to ignore your customer contact center as it might drive away your potential customers and hence hurting your bottom line in the long run. Unfortunately, the current global economic crisis has put more pressure on businesses to cut down on customer service costs while putting customer experience into account. However, it’s surprising to know that some businesses find it very challenging to cut costs without causing a negative impact on customer experience. The following are 7 simple steps you can adopt.

1. Launch a self-service portal

This is one of the best steps a business can take to cut down on the cost of its customer service. A self-service portal enables your employees and customers to resolve their issues at any time of the day without the intervention of a customer service agent. This can be achieved by creating an easy-to-use web based portal on your business website in place of email and telephone channels. However, you should ensure that channel escalation is available just in case the portal doesn’t resolve the customer’s issues.

2. Use your social media channels more

Social media is not only the best way to market your products and services but it is also the best platform for addressing most recent pressing issues. This can be done through popular social media sites like Facebook and twitter. It helps eliminate many phone calls to your business contact center.

3. Reduce agent turnover

Research has revealed that customer service agents account for the largest single expense in any business. For instance, the average agent turnover rates of about 40% can be associated with the costs incurred in hiring and training new agents. It is very interesting to note that low agent turnover rate is usually regarded as a reflection of happy and motivated agents and hence better interaction with customers.

4. Reduce customer service agent training time

Usually, higher turnover rates translates to higher training cost for the agents but this can be cut down by reducing customer service agent training time. This can be achieved through implementation of a knowledge base and easy to use software for agents without jeopardizing customer experience.

5. Implement a CTI with screen pops

Computer telephony integration (CTI) with pops is the best way to automatically deliver relevant customer information to the agent’s screen. In the long run this saves the business of its customer service costs by lowering the average call handle time (AHT). This is because both agents and customers don’t have to ask or be asked the same repetitive questions for each call and hence reducing agent turnover.

6. Streamline your support process workflow

This is one of the most underutilized steps a business can take to cut the cost of its customer service. It involves creation of flow charts and maps that can be used to resolve customer support processes faster while identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Also, you can formulate strategies for addressing and optimizing weaknesses in the support process. This results in a decrease in the number of agents required to provide support.

7. Offer and extensive and relevant FAQ sections

It is important for any business to have a FAQ section on its website. However, this is not enough given that you must update it at least once in a week in order to address current issues being asked by customers across all channels. Ensure that you offer the right answers to the most relevant questions to reduce the number of unnecessary contacts to your customer service center.

Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe