Over the phone support remains the top preference of most customers even as use of other channels increases- and with good reason. A 2013 Forrester Research report notes that customers of all generations use the phone more than any other support channel, and they experience the highest rates of satisfaction on the phone. Interactions over the phone have a higher rate of first contact resolution than other channels, which contributes to the high satisfaction levels– and of course, from a customer service standpoint, there is no substitute for a warm, friendly representative interacting with your customers in real time.
How can you leverage these benefits of voice support while controlling costs? The key is to implement phone support strategically, as part of a multichannel solution- and the key to that implementation is in your customers.
Make use of the high customer service impact of phone support at times when customer loyalty is crucial.
This may be at the beginning of a product life cycle, when building a reputation, or at the beginning of a new customer relationship. High quality phone support is a differentiator that helps your customers form positive associations with your products. At later points in the product cycle, when your software is mature and a user base established, some support can be transitioned to channels such as community forums or knowledgebases.
Drive customers to the phone when their questions are too complicated for low cost channels.
Phone is the most efficient channel when a problem does not have a quick and easy answer. If your customers are trying to configure or install software, or integrate it with third party products, asking them to juggle this task with a chat conversation may add to their frustration. More tech-savvy customers can solve simple problems independently, but this means that when they do reach out to your support representatives, it is because they have already exhausted simple troubleshooting options. For these customers, you may integrate phone with self help by offering the phone number as a final option in a list of steps.
Be cost-savvy, but customer-savvy.
Think about the specific needs of your customers and the model of phone support that makes the most business sense to meet those needs. For example, some customer groups are more likely to call support during certain hours or days of the week. You may be able to make a strong positive impact by strategically extending phone support during only those times, without taking on all the costs of 24/7 support.
The right outsourcing partner will be focused on your company’s success and provide solutions to meet the needs you have defined. An outsourcer can handle overflow calls, or extended support hours, if this is important for your model. They may prove invaluable if you need to ramp up support resources quickly, to accommodate an unexpected event or a peak time of year. Some companies choose to keep a critical set of support calls in house while partnering with an outsourcer to handle all other calls. (Of course, not all outsourced technical support is created equally! Click here for some of our thoughts about choosing an outsourcing partner).
If you are investigating an outsourced solution, we invite you to contact us today. We work with each potential client to understand their needs before providing a custom quote.