Reduce the costs of customer service in 6 steps

Alexander Wijninga

Alexander Wijninga

| 4 min

Businesses aren’t typically cutting budgets for customer service just because they want to. Research has shown that building a good relationship with customers is good for the bottom line: loyal customers spend on average 67% more as compared to a new customer (Sprout, 2016).  Today’s consumer also expects a lot more from customer service than they may have in the past. A fast, efficient response, ideally with a dash of humor and empathy - and the answer they were hoping for, of course. The price tag for meeting these expectations can induce a little sticker shock. Luckily there are solutions to this problem! This article describes how you can reduce the costs of customer contact, without having a negative impact on customer satisfaction.

Step 1: Figure out what the costs of customer service are today

Maybe it sound obvious, but there are many organisations who inquire about working with us who don’t have a clear estimate as to what it costs for customer service today. If you want to take action to save money, it’s helpful to understand what your costs are today. Think about the variable costs of personnel, but also fixed costs such as hardware, computers, office space, training services, et cetera. When you know how much you’re spending on customer service today, it’ll be more clear as to what you can spend on solutions for cost savings in the long term.

Step 2: Bundle all of your contact channels

Creating an overview is the first step to creating an efficient, fast and thus less expensive customer service department. We can imagine that keeping track of all the (social media) channels you’re servicing might not have this type of overview. There are a number of ways to bundle digital customer contact so that you can receive and respond to all incoming messages on a single platform. You can work chronologically, no message goes unseen, and you won’t need to switch between different social media platform interfaces. There are a variety of customer service tools that provide these features; also consider alternative features such as a chatbot or a website widget.

Step 3: Link your CRM system

There’s a good chance that your CRM system has all the data that a customer service agent would need in order to respond accurately to a customer. Switching between a CRM system and a conversation with the customer can waste unnecessary time: there are a number of customer service tools that offer the option to link to or integrate your CRM system. Data such as name, email or address can be collected with permission during a conversation, and then saved to your CRM system. Switching won’t be necessary, and you’re building a 360 degree customer profile. You can recognise the customer who first reached out to you on Facebook the next time they contact you, and the customer won’t need to spend time repeating themselves. This saves a lot of time - and money.

Step 4: Training for the team

Consistently providing training to the team might not be on your top list of day-to-day priorities. You know there’s a number of reasons, also during busy periods, to keep training for your customer service team on the schedule. Providing training means providing knowledge, meaning they can work more efficiently and the whole team stands to benefit from a more seamless collaboration. Consider discussing roles and responsibilities during a training session - who gets what questions about what topics? Which questions are transferred to others, and how do you decide it needs to be transferred?

Step 5: A chatbot creates calm and cost-savings

Maybe not the most surprising step in this list, but we’re convinced that the most impactful step to cost savings for your customer service team is integrating a chatbot. A chatbot can handle approximately 80% of all incoming customer questions. Many customer don’t have the patience to read through paragraphs on your website or tapping open drop down menus on an FAQ page. Many companies who come to us for a chatbot share that their customer service teams spend time answering the same questions. A chatbot can do the same, meaning the team of agents has more time to work on more complex cases. The collaboration between chatbot and human agent can be a powerful one if it’s created and optimised in a thoughtful way. This also makes your team’s work more fun: the days of copy/paste for FAQ are over! Chatbots are an easy solution to reducing the costs of customer service.

Step 6: Optimise the chatbot

When you’ve built a chatbot and it’s live, you can do even more to generate cost savings. Optimising the chatbot means that the bot’s knowledge grows over time, thus being able to answer more questions and take the pressure off of the customer service team. Artificial intelligence means that variations on the same question can be recognised, such that the chatbot can answer the question the next time that question is asked.

Boost revenue

Centralising customer contact and integrating a chatbot saves time, money and can have a positive impact on your revenue. The chatbot is an extension of your brand, with a matching personality, appearance and tone of voice. You can implement a chatbot to reach a number of goals, for example to sell products on the sales team, or enrich the database for the marketing team. The chatbot can proactively ask for information such as an order number, such that human agents aren’t spending time asking. This approach can make it easy to reduce your customer service costs.

Building a chatbot?

Building a chatbot doesn’t need to be difficult. It may sound technologically complicated, but with the right software it’s a piece of cake. We’ve developed a platform where you can build a chatbot without needing to write any programming code. Want to learn how to buy and build your own chatbot? Request a free demo!

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