Reducing the cost of exceptional customer service

Topic: Call Centres

It’s possible to reduce the cost of customer service without compromising on the customer experience – and even improving on it.

While reading “How Contact Centres Are Delivering Exceptional Customer Service” (Call Centre Helper), I learned that the average cost per call equates to £3.64. My first thought was that this seemed high, compounded when I read that for 3% of businesses, this figure rises to over £10!

Average call cost contact centre
While there’ll always be calls that will be lengthy due to the topic being discussed, in an era where so much technology is available to enable customers to help themselves, it’s actually jaw-dropping to see costs this high.

It’s time to embrace the age of self-service

I’ve written before that “the days of waiting on hold for 20 minutes to be connected are coming to an end” because customer now prefer to determine themselves how they interact with a company. Back in 2013, we learned that:

40% of global consumers said they prefer self-service to human contact; 70% expect a company website to include a self-service application (source).

A more recent study conducted by discovered that “Millennials ardently avoid calling customer service… 32% would rather go shopping on Christmas Eve.” (Source).
Whether it’s via website FAQs, or proactive outbound communications via SMS, email and social media, there are many ways companies can reduce the need for a customer call.
On top of this, companies can, and should, be providing multiple communication channels across all devices. Some examples we’ve seen recently are:

  • Allowing customers to text MYBILL to get their latest utility bill
  • Use Interactive Voice Response to book an appointment
  • Interaction via a chatbot to register for an event
  • Using an app or similar (i.e. Mobile Journeys) to validate credentials and so access information that previously they were having to dial the business and speak with an agent to get.

45% of companies offering web or mobile self-service reported an increase in site traffic and reduced phone enquiries (source: CRM Magazine).

Putting the customer at the heart of your contact centre strategy

Many of Esendex’s customers with contact centres have posed similar challenges to us: how can I reduce the cost of calls, while maintaining excellent customer service and keeping my customers happy?
The first step is always to understand why people are calling in, and of these calls, which ones need to stay with the agents. For the remainder, can we provide a solution that can move this expensive call away from the agents’ phones without compromising on their experience?
The solution itself can be anything and everything, from building payment channels via an IVR, to a Mobile Journey that enables customers to enter meter readings, to an SMS Automation that enables customers to text into a shortcode and upon validation be sent back account specific details for which they’d have previously needed to call.
These are just a few of the examples that have helped companies provide excellent customer service while reducing the amount inbound calls they take, thus significantly reducing the cost to serve these queries down from the £3.64 figure I mentioned above.
Plus this does not even take into account the opportunities created by enabling staff to work on other tasks!
A final thought:

“By 2017, 89% of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience.” (Gartner)

Take a look at our free customer service ebook for some more fantastic stats and ideas.

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