7 Ways to Lower Customer Support Costs for Your Ecommerce Business
As an ecommerce store owner, customers are your world. Actually, they're the sun around which much of your success revolves. Am I right? So, it would make sense that you would want to do everything within your power to make sure that your customers are pleased with not only their purchased products, but also their support. This can seem like a daunting task at times. Some of us may want to pour all of our resources into ensuring that our customers are assisted and satisfied, but that may not always be helpful to your business. Allow me to share with you some ways to lower customer support costs without compromising the integrity of your business.
1. Fully Identify the Problem
This one may seem like it isn't a big deal, but it can be. Believe me. Think of it in terms of your car. You take your car in for a routine oil change. The mechanics, in their true nature, give you a laundry list of all the things that should be done. You ignore them. A few weeks later you hear your car make a sound that it never made before. You take it to get diagnosed and it's stated that it could potentially be any one of 1000 problems. You go with the most likely issue, according to the mechanic. But that doesn't solve it. This process is repeated a few times only to find out that it was your transmission and it needs to be completely replaced. Wouldn't you have liked to know that in the beginning instead of shelling out thousands of dollars?
This can go the same way for your company. If you fail to fully identify an issue in the beginning, more man power and hours are going to go into trying to not only solve the issue but also fix the errors that were made along the way. Identifying an issue correctly will save everyone a lot of trouble in the long run. This is another instance in which I will reiterate why you need the right staff and you need a happy staff. Having people who are properly trained for a given scenario will make fixing the problem easier to do. If they're not worn out and unhappy, it'll make it that much more easier.
2. Efficient Hiring and Training
The success of your customer support department is going to start with your customer support team members. Don't cut corners with hiring and training your workers. If a customer deals with a representative who isn't equipped to deal with their issues, the customer is likely to lose faith in your company and subsequently take their business elsewhere. Obviously, we don't want that. Make sure that when you're recruiting, you're targeting the right kind of people you want for your team. Make sure that when they're interviewed they seem like a good fit. And, most importantly, set them up with all of the necessary tools to do their job the best way they can. Customers are more likely to return if they know they're being taken care of.
3. Self Serve Options
While it is incredibly important to ensure that you have the right team for the job, you also want to make sure that the customer can help themselves if need be. The reason for this is twofold.
- It makes a customer feel involved and in control, which in turn enhances their experience.
- It prevents many of the potential issues that could arise when a customer is in need. Issue prevention which will eliminate recurring issues down the road is one way to lower customer support costs in itself.
4. Guard the Well-Being of Agents
While it important to acquire the right personnel, the buck doesn't stop there. It's important that you take the well-being of your employees seriously. You're only as strong as your weakest link. If your weakest link is miserable in his or her position, that won't bode well for your company or your customers. A miserable agent is less inclined to help customers in the best way possible. They're also less inclined to remain with the company, which hurts your turnover rate. While one can agree that you can't please everyone, at least taking the right strides can go a very long way. Check in with your agents. Make sure they're happy and, if they're not, see if there's anything you can do to fix it.
5. Create a Knowledge Base
This one ties a lot into making sure that your agents are well equipped to handled to problems thrown at them. Occasionally, there may be a problem that arises that few would be able to contend with. It's happens. Sometimes customers are able to throw curve balls at you. You may strike out the first time, but if a knowledge base is created, they won't be able to make you strike out again.
6. Automate Low-Level Tasks
It should go without saying that not everything your company is going to do will require the use of live agents. There are guaranteed to be some lower level tasks that can be automated within your company. While many consumers generally dislike automation, in 2019 I would say they're used to it. Employing the use of automation for lower level tasks will conserve manpower for those greater tasks that you're bound be to stumped on. Whether it's an automated phone service or an automatic initial email, in the long run, it will help make the job of customer support that much easier for everyone, particularly your wallet.
7. Boost Agent Productivity
I know I keep returning to your agents, but think of your agents as an infantry. They're on the front lines. They represent the face of your company. If they aren't equipped to help then why would any consumer have faith in your company? It is your job as general to ensure that your troops are well equipped for battle. While it is necessary to ensure you pick the right soldiers, and additionally guarantee their resolve and morale, you have to make sure that they have the tools needed to be the best soldier they can be. You wouldn't equip a soldier with a Nerf Gun on the front lines would you?
The key here is to not only make sure that your agents have the right tools, but also make sure they have the right tools to do their job efficiently. Not all programs are the same, not all information is the same. It is up to you to equip your troops in the most efficient way possible. This will in turn increase productivity and create less problems for you later down the line. It may be a bit of an investment initially, but in the long run you're saving money.
Reducing customer support costs will likely be an ongoing task. This won't happen over night and it may take some time to get over a few hurdles to figure how best you want to attack this task, but it can be done. In the long run, it will most certainly be more beneficial to everyone involved. Lowering customer support costs in an efficient way will likely enhance the customer's experience and have them coming back for more.