Although companies can try their best, transactions may not always run so smoothly for customers. Customer Service, aptly named, can be touchy for both the company and the customer. When a customer feels the need to contact a company’s Customer Service department, they are likely to be upset and by the time they reach the customer rep they are already agitated. Some customers might have more patience than others, and some might be nightmares.
In 1876 an amazing invention – the telephone – changed business, and the world, forever. Individuals wealthy enough to own a telephone were able to connect to store owners directly to order goods, issue requests, or make complaints. This created a trend of businesses providing service at the customer’s convenience. Fast forward nearly a hundred years to 1967, when AT&T introduced the toll free 1-800 number, allowing customers to call a company at no charge. This consumer benefit generated an overwhelming number of calls, creating the need for more customer service staff to deal with customer issues. This led to outsourcing customer service calls to other countries such as India, the Philippines, and the like starting in 1989. But the high cost of managing their teams overseas compelled companies to search for better options. Once E-mail became more commonplace and adapted to business, companies found they did not need so many employees to take calls and realized that smaller teams were sufficient to respond to E-mails on a first come first served basis.
As technology progressed, consumer interaction with companies kept evolving. Live chats with a real representative were the next form of communication, and then came the apps. Following the business model of the first iPhone in 2007 and the App Store in 2010, companies utilized the idea of providing support and guidance to their customers using apps and guides on their websites, which answered most common issues and concerns. This helped to cut down the requests coming in from their customers.
Today, AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been leading the way in supporting customers’ requests in a much more efficient and cost-effective way. You can see this in the works currently by visiting a website and clicking on a chat window option. Once you type in your question a Bot (an automated response system) will read your question and analyze the best help articles that can give you the answer you are looking for.
Timeline of customer support
In today’s commerce, customer reviews are essential to a business’s success. The correct formula needs to be in place to deal with customers and keep them happy, without overwhelming your resources.
Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a common metric that companies use to determine the quality of the support they are providing to customers. Key factors that can affect your SLA score are:
- How long does it take to respond to a customer?
- How many requests were transacted until the ticket was resolved?
- Did the issue have to go up the chain to a supervisor?
- Was the customer satisfied?
All these points, when categorized and weighed correctly, can give you an SLA score that lets you know how your support team is doing. It can also help you identify specific issues that might need to be resolved within a product itself. These metrics can also let you know who your target market is and what they want.
Some companies have even introduced the ability to support their customers through iMessage, Whatsapp, or text messaging. Instead of waiting on hold for a support agent or an E-mail that takes time to get a response, the customer will get placed in a queue, and a customer support agent will message with him to assist with his issue.
ServiceBell is a company that provides access to a great tool that we have all been using lately – video chat. Add ServiceBell’s chat window to your website, and the customer can click to video chat with an agent. They can share their screen and be guided, face to face, through resolution processes.
Companies can also utilize this to help convert their site visitors to actual sales. When a potential customer visits the pricing page of your website, your customer support agents get a notification to chat with that visitor and help close the sale.
Finding the best consumer care solutions for your customers is critical to company/brand growth and reputation. Weigh all the options out there to find that sweet spot for you.
YJS Solutions empowers organizations to embrace new strategies in marketing,
distribution, and E-commerce. They can be reached at 646-437-8879.