Did you know that 54% of customers used email to contact customer support, making it the most commonly used support channel? Did you also know that email has the slowest rate of first response time compared to other channels? That being said, it makes sense why so many companies rely on customer support email as their go-to channel. What would you prefer? Sitting on hold for 30 minutes for a non-urgent issue or sending a quick email and getting a response by the next day?
By 2020, 81% of all customer interactions will be handled by artificial intelligence. The same reasons that companies and customers migrated from phone to email will soon push the preferred channel from email to intelligent self-service. Those reasons are to improve operational efficiency, to provide a better customer experience, and to guide customers to the best channel.
Last week, Solvvy hosted a live webinar where Amy Teten, Head of Customer Experience at TeamSnap and Khalid Alali, Senior Business Operations Manager at Turo, discussed innovative ways in which they have been able to leverage automation and artificial intelligence to improve customer experience and make operations more efficient. Let’s dive deeper into a few of the key learnings from the session.
To improve operational efficiency
Support teams can now leverage the power of artificial intelligence to handle customer questions that were typically handled via email in the past. Forward-thinking companies like Turo and TeamSnap have been able to move toward self-service tools such as Solvvy and live chat. Solvvy provides solutions in under 60 seconds and live chatbots provide solutions to customers in under 10 minutes. The average resolution time for email as a channel is over 24 hours. Moving away from customer support email to a self-service model could improve your first response time by up to 8,400%.
Despite deprecating email, TeamSnap was able to grow its user base 60% annually to over 20 million users while maintaining a flat agent headcount without rising support costs. Previously, 50% of their channel mix was email and 30% of their agents’ time was spent going back and forth over email. During the webinar, Amy noted that once they made the move to kill email they experienced two key results. A spike in first contact resolution and an uptick in agent productivity.
The customer support team was able to focus their time on higher complex issues rather than the manual labor of emailing customers about low impact problems. This ultimately led to their NPS improving from 60 points to 70+ points, making TeamSnap a world-class support team.
To provide a better customer experience
Ask yourself this question: as a user on a company’s help site, do you prefer an option to choose a channel or do you prefer to have your issue resolved as quickly as possible, regardless of the channel? Even though most companies want to provide their customers with choice and provide email as part of their channel mix, 84% of customers actually prefer a quick resolution over a choice of channels.
Why? Self-service is a much better experience for your customers, saving them time and answering their questions. 64% of customers who shop online want their needs met in real time. Companies no longer have to worry about losing customers during the time it takes for support to respond to emails when they are able to answer their customers’ questions immediately and automate customer support.
To guide customers to the best channel
Additionally, by removing the required triage and manual labor pool of sorting through email, companies can optimize their support channels to provide an amazing customer experience. Turo was able to introduce an omnichannel flow, which guides customers to the best support channel based on their profile and questions. For example, when a customer requires roadside assistance, they are immediately routed to phone support since it’s a complex issue that requires live assistance.
By deprecating email, companies can scale efficiently and improve customer experience. The future is clear – never respond to another customer support email again.
How can you execute this plan?
Change is tough, and customers might expect to have the option to email customer support. However, if you execute upon a careful rollout by communicating to your customers and spelling out “what’s in it for them,” it’s possible to have a smooth rollout. A small percentage of customers will still try to email your support channel after you kill email by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. This issue has an easy solution. Have an automated reply directing them to your help center so they can find the answers themselves! See Turo’s automated response below:
81% of customers prefer self-service rather than contacting support. So make it easy for your customers and kill email!
Good luck on your mission and feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
You can watch the recording of this webinar here.