While customer acquisition may be at the top of your list, customer retention should be as well. Your company may produce the best or only product of its type on the market, but without good customer support, your business will have a hard time holding on to customers. Your customers want quick and efficient support when they need it if they are not getting that they will go elsewhere. If you feel like you may need to think about hiring dedicated customer support here are three indicators that you may be right.
Inability to Keep Pace with Incoming Inquires
Customers expect excellent service when making purchases. Not only do they expect to be served, but they expect to be served within what they consider to be a reasonable amount of time. Now that the world has been digitized customers expect a response within a day and many of them within hours.
If you find yourself and the rest of your team struggling on a daily basis to return emails, phone calls, social media interactions, or chats on your website with customers in a timely manner, then you may want to consider dedicated customer support.
Customer support response time expectations have been increasing among consumers, between 2014 and 2017 studies have shown that the number of customers that expect an immediate response by email, within 15 minutes, has increased more than 10%. A study done by Arise on customer support email response time showed that 16% of customers expect an immediate response, 21% in under an hour, and 44% in 24 hours. When you fail to respond to customer requests by email within 24 hours, you are letting down over 80% of your customer base.
There is even more demand for speedy responses if your company uses social media profiles to interact with customers. A study done in 2015 showed that 85% of customers submitting inquiries through a Facebook account expected a reply within 6 hours. The study also showed that 64% of customers interacting through Twitter expected a response within 1 hour.
If your team is unable to keep up with this level of demand you are likely alienating consumers and pushing them to use products where customer service response times are faster. Believe it or not, decreasing your customer response time will give your business an edge on competitors. A 2017 customer service benchmark survey done by Super Office revealed that 62% of the 1000 firms they queried did not even respond to their customer service requests. The findings for email customer requests were even worse, 90.5% of businesses did not bother to respond at all. In addition, 97.6% of companies did not bother to follow up with customers after a customer support request had been closed out.
Harvard Business Review found that 65% of customers that have a poor customer service experience will share this experience with others online, while 48% go on to spread the bad news to friends by mouth. Everyone gets busy, but that is no reason to put off having a dedicated customer support team and leave your customers in the dust.
Loss of Repeat Customers and Large Email Volumes
Every business should be running customer acquisition and retention statistics throughout the year. This data helps to identify buying patterns correlation with regions, season, or customer demographics. If your business is receiving much higher email volumes than expected, it is likely time to add a live chat function to your website and create social media accounts if you have not done so already.
In the case of large volumes of emailed customer support tickets, you will see the same questions over and over. It is easy to lose track of answering these types of requests since they all tend to be similar in content. Adding a chat function to your website as well as access to a FAQs page should take care of the majority of customer support issues you are currently facing.
Having a social media presence for these matters can be helpful as well. A social media presence gives customers an easy and quick way to access the answers that they need about your products. For a small to medium-sized company hiring one person to cover the chat function and social media accounts should suffice. If you are an international business, you may want to consider hiring people in different time zones for the requests that come in while you are sleeping.
Having a chat function on your website will also serve as a form of front-facing customer service and sales as well as support. This way, people that have questions about placing orders or about the product itself can be served immediately rather than having to wait. The longer you force customers to wait, the less likely they are to complete a purchase or repurchase from you in the future. Remember, your product may be the only or the best on the market, but you will not keep customers if you are unable to answer their requests.
When Assigned Work is Put to the Wayside in the Name of Customer Support
All-inclusive customer support duties are a good experience for everyone in the company, but if product developers, CEOs, and others are spending too much of their time on customer service that can hurt your company in the long run. Customers will undoubtedly feel special if they know that they are talking to the CEO of a company about why their product won’t turn on, what additional sizes it comes in, or arrived broken in the mail, but A CEO should not be spending all of their time on customer support issues. The same goes for others within the company.
A sure sign that your business needs a customer support team is when you see product development, updates, and bug fixing coming to a standstill to meet the demands of your customer base. Most people on your team will not complain about performing customer support services, and often you will not be alerted when the load becomes too much for them to handle. As a business owner or manager, you need to be on top of how these functions are affecting the overall growth and functioning of your business.
Customers are your lifeblood, but so is your team, if you are continuously burdening them with tasks external to their job, they can become burnt out and eventually leave. The same goes for customer service and support departments once you have hired them. You want to avoid employee burn out at all costs because without your team you do not have a business.
Do you think that your business needs a dedicated customer support team? If you are experiencing any of the above issues, you may want to think about hiring at least a part-time customer support employee to take some of the workload off your employees and guarantee customer satisfaction. Giving your customers a better service experience not only give you an edge but it will help you to grow your business faster. Give the following some thought; total volume of support tickets per week or month, what the average turnaround time for tickets are, who is spending time responding to tickets, and is time spent on tickets taking away from other productivity.
About the Author
Andy Steuer is the Co-Founder of Helpware where we help companies build their own enterprise-grade customer experience teams so they can earn more margin as they scale their businesses.