Not every company can afford an experienced team of service agents whether in-house or remote. However, this department is extremely important for customer retention that's why for growing business it's vital to have a plan B for how to organize this scope.
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Modern approaches and the best AI chatbot technologies allow decreasing expenses on the operation without affecting the service quality.
How Much Does Customer Support Cost
Before selecting a cost-reduction strategy it's required to identify what aspect takes the most resources. The total department operation price includes the following factors that can be used for expense allocation:
- Employee salaries/benefits
- Software including licenses and upgrades, communication tools
- Facilities expenses (office space, utilities, equipment).
- Employee onboarding/training.
- Outsourcing (if applicable).
- Marketing (if applicable)
- Travel and expenses for on-site service.
- Feedback and survey expenses.
Now you have a customer support cost definition you can calculate the price per a certain period or year by summarizing these categories. It should be done regularly to monitor the situation and analyze areas for workflow and expense optimization. To analyze the received number you can define such metrics as Cost Per Ticket / Customer.
This average value is defined by dividing the total annual costs by the total number of service interactions (calls, emails, chat sessions, etc.) or buyers provided during the same period.
Cost per ticket also can be identified per channel to identify which ones are cost-effective. The number should align with industry benchmarks and company goals. You should also consider measuring the ratio of CS costs to revenue generated from interactions and the return on investment (ROI) of support initiatives.
How to Reduce Customer Support Cost
The following steps may require additional investments but in total, they allow decreasing expenses if applied properly to your particular company. To decide which ones to choose start with the evaluation of the current workflow and budget. Now you can consider to:
Decrease the number of tickets
According to Zendesk, 67 percent prefer resolving issues themselves than reaching out to agents. Having self-service options allows helping those users the way they prefer and lowering the amount of issues from already annoyed users.
It involves maintaining extensive knowledge bases, relevant FAQs, user communities and other how-to materials. You should also guidelines to encourage buyers to explore these resources in the proper voice.
Another option is to use AI chatbot website tools and other virtual assistants to handle simple inquiries, provide instant responses, and route to human agents only when needed. Setting and meeting clear SLAs for response and resolution times avoid tickets from piling up.
Having a tailor-made ticketing system for organization and prioritization of requests is a must-have disregarding the budget. Automate ticket assignment and routing based on skill levels, issue categories, and urgency.
Focus on the most effective support channels. Allocate resources based on where your buyers prefer to seek assisstance to save on less effective contact tools.
Automate customer service repetitive tasks such as data entry and even response creation with the Open AI ChatGPT app and other CS automation software to free up agent time for more complex issues.
Invest in comprehensive training for support agents to enhance their skills, efficiency, and problem-solving abilities to ensure that issues are solved quickly and accurately. Brand reputation always costs more.
Encourage a culture of knowledge sharing through documenting solutions and showing best practices to team members to examine cases and make overall changes if necessary. Also, analyze feedback to address pain points and enhance the customer experience.
Predict snd retain
Apply user data and analytics to identify common issues and trends and prevent recurring problems. Try to anticipate needs based on communication history and proactively address issues before they arise.
Retaining existing customers is often less expensive than acquiring new ones. Use customer retention best practices to reduce churn and service costs.
Collaborate with other departments
Provide product and policy updates, and share helpful articles, white papers, etc. to reduce inbound requests. Since some of these tasks are also on the list of marketing, success, and sales departments they can take a part of the burden from the CS.
Ensure insights sharing among teams to build and run a seamless efficient strategy to avoid additional spending on failed campaigns.
Consider offshoring since customer support outsourcing cost can be lower than working with an in-house team. Ensure that quality, brand voice, and CX are maintained.
What Software Helps to Reduce Customer Service Cost
To ease the path you need to focus on implementing long-term solutions rather than quick fixes. That goes for both - solving issues and a cost-reducing strategy. That's why choosing the right software is one of the key steps of the process.
This solution requires investments but you should understand that you're paying not just for the best chatbot, for example, but for a time that your agents will be able to dedicate to clients. Besides some tools may already be in your set and offer free plans that can satisfy your current business needs.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
It allows connecting sales, marketing, success, and support efforts to give new and existing customers loyal status. It's done by managing buyer information, interactions, requests, and history centrzlized enabling personalized communication across multiple channels.
Service, customer service help desk software, and other ticketing solutions automate the management and prioritization of inquiries to streamline and speed up agent-user communication. This way workload spreads up optimally and allows resolving issues efficiently.
The prior tool for SaaS. It enables creating and maintaining a self-service repository of articles, FAQs, guides, and documentation. Customers and agents can find answers to common questions independently.
These tools analyze inquiries and suggest relevant self-service articles or resources, reducing the number of tickets that require agent intervention.
Chat bot technology
Such virtual assistants can handle routine inquiries, answer frequently asked questions, and provide 24/7 support. They can reduce the workload on human agents and improve response times.
Automation tools can be used to minimize the number of repetitive routine tasks and improve the accuracy of their execution. Conversational AI bot tools like Ioni free up agents from complex searches and help them to stay within a brand voice.
Data analytics and reporting
Predictive analytics tools analyze customer data to predict trends, identify potential issues, and provide insights for proactive support. They help in anticipating user needs and reducing service requests.
Data analytics solutions provide insights into buyers' behavior, preferences, and support interactions for better decision-making and reporting. Some of them can also track SLAs for response and resolution times, ensuring that the standards are met consistently.
Review and survey tools allow you to collect valuable insights from customers, helping you identify areas for improvement and address and respond to issues timely and promptly. Social media monitoring software also helps to maintain a positive online reputation and address user concerns.
These tools are used for technical service and allow agents to access and troubleshoot on user devices remotely, reducing the need for in-person or on-site visits.
Tools like team messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration platforms facilitate internal communication among agents, leading to faster issue resolution and knowledge sharing. Training soft can be used to provide ongoing education and skill development for agents.
Integration capabilities and APIs allow you to connect various apps to streamline data sharing and improve the overall efficiency of your CS ecosystem. For instance, OpenAi chatbot chatGPT app Ioni can be integrated with popular help desks and knowledge bases.
Sure, you don't need all of these tools. The most essential are help desk and CRM. The specific software solutions you choose will depend on your business's needs, industry, and support strategies.
Evaluate different options, consider scalability, and assess the potential ROI of implementing each software tool to determine the best fit for your organization's support and cost-reduction.