Whether you are just getting started in the e-commerce world or have been around for years, it’s always a good idea to keep customer service costs at a minimum while providing the best possible support.
How much is too much to spend on customer support? That depends on your industry and your revenue. If you are only making $100 a month right now, you probably don’t want to be spending $200 on customer service costs. And the truth is, you probably won’t need to either.
But even start-ups need someone available to assist potential and current customers with problems and requests for information. Unfortunately, unless you’re using an inexpensive, full-service option like Rhino Support, the cost of maintaining a customer support staff can be quite high. Here are a few tips to help you minimize your customer service costs:
Use Social Media
Today, many consumers go directly to social media pages when they have a question or concern. Resist the temptation to direct them back to official channels. Keep the conversation going where they and all their friends, family and followers can see how quick and efficient you are at problem-solving.
This may not be an appropriate solution for every support issue, but social media should certainly be considered one of your customer service platforms. In fact, customers who have interacted with brands on social media over support issues are willing to spend up to 21% more to do business with those companies because of the personal attention that was given.
Better-educated consumers are less likely to need your customer support resources. Cut support costs by providing thorough product documentation, clear instructions, and product tutorials/walkthroughs. Record easy-to-follow how-to videos.
In the design phase, emphasize the importance of making products as intuitive as possible. If customers can use your products easily, you will receive fewer support calls. Nearly 70% of all people search for information on their own before they go to customer service. Having a YouTube video (both on YouTube and on your website) that answers the most often-asked questions is much less expensive in the long run than having a customer service agent repeat himself 10 times a day.
Provide a Self-Service Path
If they want to, let customers help themselves. For online customer service, provide them with roadmaps to help them walk through and solve their own problems. For phone customer service, do the same thing. Rhino Support, for example, can provide a “knowledge base” for your online visitors. It’s like an in-depth FAQ and can save business owners tons of time and effort.
Identify issues that come up frequently and then help guide customers through the process of fixing their own problems. Many customers find self-service tools to be more efficient and less intrusive than dealing with a representative.
Add Live Chat
If you’ve already embraced social media, you might consider adding a live chat feature to your website. This will provide you with another option to provide customers with quick and convenient, real-time support. Yes, there will be an upfront cost. However, the value added and money saved will balance that out.
Cost management is an important consideration for any business professional. Apply these tips, and it is very likely that you can reduce customer service costs. Whether you are an early stage startup or a well-established corporation, finding ways to minimize expenses is always a good thing.
Special thanks to Dianna Labrien for her article on the topic.