Aug 30, 2023

Customer Support Cost - Metrics and Guidelines

Best customer service becomes crucial once your product gets users. It's all about great experience, high engagement and retention which are basics of any company growth, proper brand positioning, and a good reputation that can outweigh even marketing efforts.

How Much Does Customer Support Cost

According to PwC, around 70% of buyers note that friendly service, its accuracy, and timeliness are three basics that their loyalty to a brand or provider is built on.

Staffing, scheduling, and employee training are important aspects to set and maintain optimal and efficient workflow for your support team. ​​The metrics that comprise operational expenses to keep service up and running are spendings per ticket, per order, and per revenue. 

Let's talk how each of them should be calculated and what numbers you should aim for.

Cost for Customer Support per Ticket

This number is dependent on the size of your team and in particular how much salary and benefits each agent receives or can receive during the chosen period. To define the metric it's divided by the number of tickets processed during the same time.

Such expenses can be substantive for startups even with small teams. That's why in some cases it's important to integrate tools like chatbot automation from early stages. This step can cover gaps in training employees that should deal with a constantly changing knowledge base and run CSAT surveys. Not to mention reducing response time or providing 24/7 chatbot customer service.

Cost per order

Quality service should lead to upsells and more purchases up to those from new clients coming from recommendations from the current audience. When it can take time to achieve such a level it's important to maintain proper spending to stay within set limits and possibilities to reach the goal.

The formula is clear. Take total worth of the department operation and divide it by number of orders received during the necessary period. It can be adjusted with managing the size of the team or adding necessary tools to the workflow.

Cost per raised revenue

When it comes to growth steps it's important to understand their cost-efficiency. Customer service rate per revenue is the metric that helps to define the value of your team's work. It can be calculated by dividing net sales by the number of tickets in a month, a year, etc.

For maintaining this aspect on the proper level it's important to understand what are the sources of your current revenue and total impact of each one. This way you'll be able to find the steps to alter the situation including making changes to your team operation.

Customer Support ROI

If talking about global metrics such as return on investment (ROI) we can come to an estimation based on the aspects like client retention, acquisition, indirect returns, and cross/upsells. And it can't be done without long-term proper data tracking and analytics, Let's take a look at each one.

Retention and upselling

It's clear that some sales should come from a service team since it's a closing lid that keeps your users in your sales funnel. If a user continues a subscription or makes another purchase after having an issue resolved with the help of your team it can be considered as its achievement in user retention. 

Upsells got from this channel, of course, also impact ROI and can be calculated by the following formula. Summarize all the money gained this way, divide it by a total number of tickets, and multiply by a hundred you'll get ROI in this perspective in percentages.

To get the full picture you should also consider CX metrics like CSAT, etc. because it's directly impacting the volume of tickets that goes or can potentially appear on your agents' help desks. 

Customer acquisition

As we already emphasized, CX up to service is as important in attracting new users and clients as thorough thought marketing campaigns. Such direct communication allows getting valuable insights about users and offering more personalized experience as well as building more effective CX strategies.

Although there are specific surveys you should run to improve and scale your product, service is actually your source of quantitive and qualitative info. You can identify and count bugs, features. leads. etc. that were driven through this channel.

Customer Service Automation Price

Desktop, online, mobile tools like a Chat GPT chatbot as well as custom support software are often considered as add-ons to workflow rather than staff substitution. But for small-budget teams, it's an important assumption. Why?

  1. Price. The market offers a variety of prices but most of them per month can be lower than a daily salary of an employee.
  2. Timing. Help desks and tools like Ioni help reduce response time for an agent, improve the accuracy of replies and provide 24/7 operation.
  3. Training. Such software is created to simplify and automate tasks for employees. That's why it usually comes with easy onboarding and free how-to materials.
  4. Efficiency. This work covers a lot of repetitive tasks that can lead to lower motivation and attentiveness but these factors are reduced by tool features.

CS Cost - What and Why

For any startup, it's all around a budget that's why it's vital not to overestimate the value of some business aspects and sacrifice others. But it's driven by feedback that's why the basis of user support should be built from the first releases.

For the established company it's important not to underestimate CS in comparison to marketing, dynamic pricing, etc. The optimal customer service costs definition for your business can be estimated by calculating related metrics and considering the following factors:

Industry. Market researchers can give you what numbers to follow.

Audience. Depending on the scope it may demand more or less attention.

Staffing. Quality isn't always vs quantity - consider the possibilities.

Product. Complicated onboarding or service isn't always required to keep CSAT score.

Scaling. Think about the future and growth speed to meet the expectations.

Tech. Find the tools for your budget and needs. It's not always about a competitor's choice.

Channels. Following omnichannel strategy includes covering expenses per channel.

Outsourcing. In some cases, in-house teams can be less affordable.

Planning the budget make sure you're investing in customer support timely, in optimal size, and in necessary directions to ensure cost-efficiency.