If there’s one thing that makes managers’ and owners’ skin crawl, it’s inefficiency. Business leaders are constantly on the prowl to find ways to reduce expenses, improve profits and get their entire team to work smarter. Unfortunately, many companies find themselves with the same customer support inefficiencies time and time again. Are you falling prey to the same? Here are the top five, and how you can use chatbots to solve them.
In an effort to please customers and have ample personnel at the ready to field questions and concerns, some companies end up with too many people on their support staff. Live agents become the go-to for every customer inquiry, from those about business hours to tracking information to complex refund scenarios – and everything in between. But there’s absolutely no reason to have human beings answering 80% of these questions, if not more. If this is how you’ve been operating, there are highly efficient alternatives.
Instead, use chatbots to give quick, accurate answers to common customer questions. Today’s bots can be programmed to handle the vast majority of reasons that customers contact business’ support teams. By allowing chatbots to be the first line of defense, you need fewer agents and give your business the ability to scale much more effectively. And, you save the live agents you do have considerable time and stress, since they only need to step in for the more complex situations.
Excess Time in Onboarding & Training
Think about all the time you spend recruiting, onboarding and training your customer service team. It’s a lot, right? All of that time is money, but it doesn’t end there. You also have to factor in the hours of your managers’ and other employees’ time spent helping new team members learn the ropes as well. So, where does all of that investment go when you lose those new hires?
Unfortunately, customer support teams tend to have very high attrition rates. The average annual turnover rate for customer service agents at call centers in the U.S. ranges between 30-45%, which is more than double the average of all other occupations. This tells you there’s a urgent need to provide agents with increased support.
With this in mind, revisit number one above. More customer support tasks being handled by chatbots means that agents will have more time to focus on complex customer cases. Not only is this better on a day to day basis for all involved (including your bottom line), but it’s also going to save you a lot of money and time in onboarding and training. Once you’ve taken the time to train a chatbot and build out any important flows, you’re sure to get great returns on your investment.
This one might not initially seem to be an inefficiency, but hear me out. Many companies try to save money by limiting their customer support team’s hours. They figure if their employees are only available between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., for example, that they won’t have to hire as many people and will still cover all their bases. What about the customers who need you after hours?
For example, let’s say you sell marketing software and one of your customers is an author. This person is planning a big book launch. They have a press and public relations strategy in place, all set to coordinate on Monday morning at 7:00 a.m. But on Sunday night, they run into a kink with your software. The campaign keeps freezing and, as luck would have it, you only have agents available Monday through Friday during “normal” business hours. There’s no one to help them, and this major linchpin of their latest launch now has the potential to flop.
The moral of this stressful story is that customers want – and expect – to get support 24/7, 365 days a year. If you can’t afford to have live agents on staff around the clock year-round , a different solution can alleviate this stress significantly. This is, of course, where chatbots can help you out. They can get pretty sophisticated in the assistance they provide, and will be able to be available all the time for customer needs. This can undoubtedly save you from unnecessary customer frustration – and churn.
Ah, technology. For all the blessings it’s given us, it’s also turned many of our businesses into a bunch of overwhelmed, misaligned tech stacks. If customers are trying to reach you through different channels, like Facebook, WhatsApp, email, etc., but your systems don’t talk to each other, you have a major problem on your hands.
The right chatbot technology can connect and consolidate all of this. It gives you only one platform to manage and pay for, and keeps consistency across all of your customer touchpoints. This positions you to be ready for all customer communications, and to provide timely responses that are informed by all the information within all of your systems. This is not only the height of efficiency, but it’s also just plain smart.
Slow or Incomplete Resolution
The whole point (or at least a main one) of customer support teams is to help customers resolve their problems. But many companies are plagued with slow customer service, including long wait times, department-to-department transfers and delayed, unsatisfactory resolutions. This just shouldn’t be possible in 2021.
Implementing modern chatbot technology means that customers can enjoy nearly instant responses to the majority of their questions, without ever having to wait to speak with a live agent. If they do need to get further help, the bot can route them to the right department the first time and deliver context about the situation to the agent so the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves. If delighting customers and helping them get the fast resolution they deserve isn’t enough, studies have shown that a complaining customer handled proactively in less than five minutes will go on to spend more on purchases in the future. It just makes good business sense.
If you and your customers have been frustrated by your customer support inefficiencies, there’s so much you can do to flip the script. Consider implementing a modern chatbot, and enjoy the ways in which it improves your efficiency – and makes your customers happier.