A business is only as good as its customers. Customers can be your biggest asset, or they can be a liability and cost your company money. The way customer service is presented and handled in your business can make all the difference between turning a potential customer into an actual one and losing that customer altogether. So what does it cost to run effective customer support for your business? Here are some hidden costs you might not be aware of:
Hidden costs are those that are not visible on the surface. They may be hard to see, or they might even seem like they don't exist at all. But if you have hidden costs in your business, they can greatly affect its profitability and sustainability.
Today, let's take a look at some common hidden costs that businesses often experience—and how you can reduce them.
Cost of your reputation
Your customer service hiring and training is a reflection of your brand, but so is the customer experience that results from it. In fact, many times the first impression a customer has of you is through their interaction with your service team.
A poor experience can have lasting costs:
- The cost of a negative review on social media or an online review site like Yelp or Google Reviews.
- The cost of word-of-mouth recommendations leads to potential customers considering other companies instead of yours because they heard about one bad experience too many from someone who used to be a loyal customer (or even just a friend).
The cost of manual processes
Manual processes can be time-consuming and prone to errors. They're not scalable, so as you grow, you have to keep adding more people or process steps to keep up with demand, leading to a growing cost center. And on top of that, when you hire a bunch of people to do data entry and other low-level tasks by hand, it uses up all your resources (time and money) but doesn't bring in any revenue.
Support can be costly, but with the right tools, you can cut costs and increase efficiency in customer support.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to reducing support costs is that technology can help. There are several ways you can streamline your support operations and save money in the process.
- Use customer support software: By implementing customer support software, you'll be able to manage all requests through a single system, which will reduce the amount of time your agents spend on paperwork. In addition, many of these programs include features like automated workflow and reporting capabilities, plus they're designed to integrate with all other aspects of your business's tech stack (CRM data and analytics tools).
- Use a knowledge base: A knowledge base is essentially an online encyclopedia where customers can look up answers to common questions about your products or service offerings. These sites are often populated with answers from previous conversations between customers and agents, along with written content created by employees who have expertise in specific areas such as troubleshooting or product specifications. If you don't already have one set up at work but plan on expanding into new markets soon then now might be an ideal time!
- Use Intelligent Routing: Intelligent Routing makes it possible to assist the agent or customer toward the right solution. This way you can quickly generate value and satisfy customers.
Customer service shouldn't be an afterthought.
Customer service should be a core function of your business. It's not just a nice-to-have or an afterthought. Customer service is critical to the success of your company and the customer experience you provide.
A strong customer support team will help you build trust with customers and increase sales by creating loyal relationships. When they feel that they're being heard, valued, respected, and assisted—they'll share their positive experiences with others which can lead to new sales opportunities for your business (we'll talk more about this later).
As you can see, customer service has many costs to consider. The most important thing is to take the time to carefully plan out how your team will handle incoming questions and concerns so that you don't spend more time than necessary on calls or email support.