Customers often ask what options there are for reducing customer service costs. As a rule, it only really makes sense to reduce costs if this is not at the expense of the quality of the processing of inquiries.
Good customer service costs money – but in the long run, it saves money. Increasing reputation, for example, may cost a little money at first – but pays off twice or three times over when customers are happy to recommend the company’s products to others.
Basically, the following can be said when it comes to saving money in customer service:
- Try to make sure that fewer inquiries have to be processed (avoidance), for example through self-service approaches or proactive notification of the customer
- The inquiries that do come in can be handled better (efficiency), because the customer service team is better informed about the customers, orders, shipments, products, etc.
Inquiries are processed in parts by a automated logic/bot etc. (automation)
The total time spent required for ticket processing is reduced, thus leading to cost savings without having to accept lower quality.
Tip 1 - Use a Customer Service Platform
If you tend to operate in isolated solutions in customer service today (e.g. Outlook mailbox, separate telephony solution or similar), then some of the potential adjusting screws are difficult to access. Of course, efficiency can also be increased through targeted training for example – but we see a customer service platform as essential and as the basis for a large number of optimizations.
Tip 2 - Reduce Peaks/Spikes with Bots
Especially during peak times (e.g. Christmas business), there are often more requests than usual. An increased backlog also automatically leads to many requests being made on multiple channels. Bots can remedy this by resolving some requests independently. In addition, bots can also take care of processing requests outside of business hours.
Backlog is thus not built up in the first place and leads to less volume in customer service. The customer is also happier, since he can solve requests at 3:00 a.m., for example.
Tip 3 - Knowledge Bases - Less Manual Work for Common Requests
Frequently asked questions can also be answered directly by a knowledge base for customers. The number of queries that can be solved in self-service is often 20-30%. This means 20-30% fewer queries in total. The customer still receives an answer to the question.
Tip 4 - The Benefits of Having a Happy Customer Service Team
Everyone knows it – when work is fun – you work much more efficiently. Thus, it is important that the entire customer service team is happy. Often it’s the little things that make people enjoy their work more. Starting with training, appreciation but also tools that are fun to work with. If the current tool (whether Outlook or ticket system) leads to dissatisfaction, then it is important to find out exactly why this is the case.
Tip 5 - Offer the Right Channel
Depending on the question, it may well be that an alternative channel works better and thus ensures a faster response to questions. Here, the channel itself can also be “more expensive” and still save costs.
Especially technical questions can often be solved better/faster on the phone than for example by e-mail. It is not only the telephone that needs to be considered here – other synchronous communication channels such as chat and WhatsApp are also better suited here than an asynchronous channel such as e-mail. Not many companies offer the best channel directly in their help center, for example for technical questions.
How to Increase Efficiency Instead of Reducing Customer Service Costs
When considering how to reduce customer service costs, we look first and foremost at ways to increase efficiency. Here, of course, a look at customer centricity also plays a decisive role.
- Those who become more efficient automatically also save costs or have valuable working time available to make customers happier.
- Positive customer experiences lead to more reputation, brand loyalty and recommendations – marketing, in other words, without additional costs. Reducing costs without customer centricity can have the opposite effect. You save costs, but you also lose customers to the competition.
- Too high a degree of automation can also lead to a negative customer experience and the exact opposite.