*Note. Many of these tools can be deployed by any company. We strongly recommend that the team is either a dedicated in-house team or a professionally managed alternative. The one tool not possible by a dedicated in-house team is scalable customer service.

 

You’ve done it. You had an idea, you took the initiative, and have made it a reality. With every step forward new challenges present themselves. A lot of business owners start their companies on the foundation of passion and entrepreneurial drive. As the company grows, business owners need to lean on additional expertise as new departments and teams sprout up. One of those requirements is customer service.

In this post, we’re going to look at the current situation of many small business owners and evaluate an alternative situation that leverages the techniques of larger companies.

Current Situation of Small Businesses

Customer Service Model: Reactive Customer Service

Early on, companies will get employees from various departments to respond to customers. Employees hired for operations, marketing, development, etc. will be asked to put their customer service hats on from time to time to help. We call this “reactive customer service”. You’re keeping up with the requests as they come in, but most of the requests are usually general questions about your product/service, sales, and of course any problems or complaints.

You could be missing interactions (and sales) by making  the customer work harder for their answers. You’re also potentially taking employees away from their main job at the company. What does a proactive customer service model look like? Click here to see what life is like with a managed customer service model

Few Customer Service Channels

You currently have a website that includes the times your business is open, support lines for any problems, email forms that can be filled out, and a few people looking after these requests.

The problem is every customer has their own preference and they expect answers as fast as possible. Some prefer finding their own answers, others like talking to someone quickly and easily, some like calling in, and even fewer will send an email if they see the dreaded “sorry we’re not here now, we’ll reply back as soon as possible”.

In the end, you will have missed interactions since people aren’t finding what they’re looking for quick enough. What does life look like if you had more customer service channels? Click here to see what life is like with a managed customer service model

Fragmented Customer Service Channels

At this point, you have a few people looking after customer service. Either a small dedicated team or every team member is pitching in. However, there’s a good chance your customer service channels aren’t connected.

If your company receives an email from Sally about a complaint, and then Sally calls in to your company, there is no way for your team to know that Sally previously sent in an email. The customer has to re-explain the problem and you might get the frustrated sentence “I already sent an email.” Repeating their problem gives the customer a bad experience and costs your company more money because more resources were used. What does life look like if all your channels were connected? Click here to see what life is like with a managed customer service model

Data Tracking and Reporting

Your team manages requests one by one but it is unlikely they are recording what it was about, how long it took, if the customer was satisfied, or if it’s a common question.

If they are, there’s a good chance it’s through a combination of excel or word documents that are passed around. If this is the case, your company isn’t leveraging a very important chunk of feedback from your customers – feedback that could improve your product or the customer’s experience. What if you could leverage all your data? Click here to see what life is like with a managed customer service model

Customer Service Team Size

Your customer service team either consists of a few dedicated employees or is shared between a few employees with different roles at the company. If your team enters into a busy time of year (Christmas for some), has a successful product launch, or experiences an unforeseen jump in customer engagement (social media, questions, complaints, etc) then they are left with a backlog of requests. Backlogs cause longer wait times and you miss opportunities to impress your customers. What if your customer service team was an elastic band that stretched and shrunk as needed? Click here to see what life is like with a managed customer service model

Cost

Labor is one of the most expensive things a business needs to operate. Under your current set-up you either have your team sharing the customer service load, or you have a small dedicated team doing the work.

If your team shares the customer service load,  your employees who are paid to do sales, marketing, operations, or even development (often with high salaries) are taken away from their responsibilities . If you have a dedicated customer service team, you might be spending close to $100,000 after salary, benefits, cost to train, workstation, turnover, etc. In both situations, you’re spending a lot more per customer resolution than you realize (click here to follow through to our ROI calculator). That means it’s possible you’re paying more than what they’re doing. What if you only paid for what you used? Click here to see what life is like with a managed customer service model

At the End of the Day

If you empathize with the above make sure to check out part 2 of this article. It goes into detail what an alternative customer service model that many companies are switching to looks like.

Also, if you want to save some time get in touch and we can summarize the article, and talk a bit about your business, then click here.

 

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