Customer experience isn’t just a nice-to-have. Today, it’s the go-to strategy for gaining customer loyalty, generating additional revenue and growing market share. As technology advances, customers are expecting a more personalised customer service across multiple digital channels like live chat and email. This means investment — and smart investment, so you can improve your customer service ROI.
Yet many businesses still think about customer service in terms of ROI purely in terms of the upfront cost. They overlook that customer service is a major driver of revenue and profits.
But 86% of customers are willing to pay more if it means getting an excellent customer experience.1 And businesses that focus their efforts on improving their customer service levels are seeing revenue gains of up to 80%.2 That’s one of the reasons why companies are (and should be!) investing in their customer service — in the right way.
But while you want your customer service to be first class, you also don’t want it to cost the earth, whether you’re a bigger business working with a fixed budget or a small business with a limited one. Here, we’ll help you understand how to get the most out of your customer service function through a) cost savings and b) enhancing customer experience. By following these 5 steps, you can improve your customer service ROI.
What is ROI in customer service?
Before you can improve your customer service ROI, you should first understand exactly what it is. Simply put, to calculate ROI of your customer service, you need to measure the difference between how much your customer service function earns and what it costs your business.
However, ROI is not just about lowering costs at any price. It is also about adding value by providing the best customer service possible. Exceptional customer service elevates customer satisfaction while driving sales and growing your business. This is because satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your business to their network. Moreover, positive customer feedback can help to attract new customers.
Step 1: Use experienced, high-quality agents
First things first. You need good agents. This means experienced, high-quality people who have knowledge of your industry — and are matched to your brand. This means they can connect new and existing customers with quality solutions and the information they need.
How can you get these agents? Through a distributed customer service model. This customer service model represents a shift away from traditional call centres toward a work-from-home model. This model means your business can draw on a wider pool of agents who might not typically work as call centre agents. This can mean older, more experienced, and more industry-specific agents.
The traditional call centre model, on the other hand, is often limited by physical infrastructure and location. It’s centralised, standardised and static. On top of this, agents in a traditional call centre often follow strict scripts and procedures. This can hamper their ability to provide a truly personalised service. As a result, customers may end up feeling like they’re just another number, which can damage customer satisfaction.
Quality customer support can:
- Help customers remain loyal to your brand
- Encourage happy customers to share their experiences with friends and family
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Increase revenue: businesses that prioritise customer experience can grow revenue by 4% to 8% above their competitors.3
Investing in high-quality customer support should be seen as an opportunity for growth, not just as an expense. And anyway, it doesn’t have to be expensive…
Step 2: Use a scalable model
Your business isn’t the same all year round, so your capacity shouldn’t be either. One way to make sure your costs skyrocket is by keeping — and paying for — excess capacity during quieter times.
A scalable and distributed customer service model allows organisations to scale customer service requirements up or down depending on demand, without the unnecessary cost of maintaining unused capacity.
You shouldn’t aim for an arbitrary low fixed cost. It might look good in the short term but, in reality, this is a vanity metric. Overemphasising low costs rather than investing scalably in the customer service function your business needs won’t help your ROI in the long run.
To succeed with this approach, it is important to track the right customer service metrics and KPIs. Benchmarking customer service success can be done through customer satisfaction scores and net promoter scores.
Suggested reading: Learn how to exceed customer expectations during seasonal demand peaks. Download our eBook — A New Approach to Customer Service.
Step 3: Outsource your customer service
The decision to outsource your customer service might seem like a major one. But if done right, it can yield big payoffs. Customers are increasingly demanding a higher level of care and show their appreciation for excellent customer service with their wallets.
In fact, 58% of customers are willing to spend more where they receive outstanding customer service.4 Moreover, 93% of consumers will make repeat purchases if they receive exceptional customer service.5
By outsourcing, you don’t overprovision and you get the high-quality agents that you need. In short, you fulfil the two steps above. Outsourcing helps whether you’re a big business that needs additional support during peak seasons like Christmas, Black Friday or New Year, or whether you’re a business whose growth is pushing at the limits of your capacity.
Outsourced customer service is ideal for:
- SMEs in the eCommerce arena
- Bigger businesses requiring additional support around busy times Christmas, New York or Black Friday
- SMEs that need a fully outsourced customer service function
- Businesses with ageing technology, struggling to provide the agile service customers want.
And with additional, bolt-on support to your current customer service function, you retain in-house control, without sacrificing efficiency or capacity.
Customer service outsourcing also frees businesses from the bounds and costs of providing additional physical office space and support infrastructure. It gives you the freedom to scale to deliver quality outcomes at any size, tap into local talent and expertise to expand your customer service team with high-quality agents.
Suggested reading: For an in-depth guide to exceeding customer expectations through customer service, check out our post on eCommerce customer service outsourcing.
Step 4: Invest in training
You don’t want agents just to be good at their jobs. You want them to be great. To get this, agents need support and training. Investing in continuous training to improve customer service affects your bottom line and can lead to long-term profitability. Training helps your customer service team members feel supported and motivated in their roles. This training should include:
- updated knowledge of products and services, regularly and when products are updated
- understanding of the relevant platforms, processes and tools
- updated knowledge of troubleshooting techniques and business policies.
Rather than spending lots on training, outsourced partners take on this responsibility — and it’s all included in the cost. Outsourced partners train the agents in everything they need to know about your product or service, as well as best practice customer service techniques. By outsourcing your customer service, with this training included, businesses can:
- reduced their training costs
- utilise constantly-improving agents
- improve service outcomes and customer experience.
In short, investing in training enhances customer experience: one of the two main planks of generating a good ROI. And as customer service functions change with technology, it’s important to provide training on how to use this technology, for example through omnichannel support…
Step 5: Omnichannel customer service
Customers want to speak to people directly. This often means over the phone, one-to-one. But they also want to get support in various — and personalised — ways, for example through the omnichannel support of email, live chat and social media.
To ensure that customer service teams meet modern consumer expectations, it’s essential to implement a comprehensive and quality service. Things to bear in mind when seeking a good ROI with omnichannel support include:
- Meet customers where they are: Consumers aren’t always at home. They’re on the move and they’re busy. So providing support in various ways (live chat, email, phone support, social media, and support tickets) meets them where they are and helps them feel supported, however they choose to get in touch with your business.
- Choose the right customer service provider: Not every provider offers high-quality phone support alongside omnichannel support. Sometimes it’s one or the other. By investing in a provider that provides high-quality customer service across the board, and across all channels, you enhance your customer experience while keeping costs low. The two pillars to improve your customer service ROI.
- Providing support at the right time: Your product doesn’t sleep, and neither do your customers. Providing 24/7 support is crucial in modern-day customer service.
By providing customers with the experience they want, when they want it, you give customers the best experience, through any channel they want. Meeting customers where they are increases their satisfaction, experience and brand loyalty. This makes omnichannel support an important investment. And investing in the right way helps improve your ROI.
Invest in your customer service function, the right way
Customer service is no longer an afterthought — it is a vital part of any business. And ultimately, the level of your customer service experience is what sets you apart from your competitors. To ensure a good ROI on customer experience, you need two things: well-trained, high-quality call centre agents and a scalable, outsourced customer service model. Sounds expensive? It doesn’t have to be.
Odondo is an outsourced customer service provider that offers on-demand flexibility to respond to changing customer demographics and service needs. We enable you to scale the solution to your business’s needs, while watching the purse strings.
How do we do this? Our service packages are built on a combination of agent and contract flexibility. Our distributed customer service model, omnichannel support and scalable service gives you everything you need to improve your ROI, without sacrificing customer experience. In fact, we help bolster it.
The result: a bespoke customer service tailored to your specific business needs, allowing you to focus on growing your business. Get in touch for a quote today.
Aamir is one of the Co-Founders at Odondo, where he obsesses over the details to deliver a strong and compelling proposition for each of his clients.
Prior to Odondo, he was CTO at one of the UK's largest price comparison websites, with contact centres in the UK and India. In his spare time, he loves reading, politics, tennis, and playing the piano (badly).