4 ways to reduce customer support costs while improving service (and how AI can help)
There are lots of ways to reduce customer support costs, but if you can improve service at the same time as slicing chunks off your monthly budget, you improve your situation two-fold. You’ll increase profits for your organisation while spending less on doing it.
Here are some smart ways to approach the challenge and we’ll show you how AI can help you get the results you want faster and easier:
1. Break down costs to incentivise savings
If you haven’t thought about it before, isolating a single cost in your calculated efforts to reduce spending can be more motivating than focusing on your total expenditure.
Barking & Dagenham London Borough Council (B&D) were spending around £192,000 every month on customer support calls and emails, but when they broke that spending down to better see where their budget was going, they found every individual enquiry was costing them £4.80. Looking at the cost in this way helped their team consider the cost of every enquiry as it came in and think about how it might be reduced or even eradicated.
Cost per enquiry is such an easy metric to digest, lessening the number can quickly become a huge incentive for your whole team. To reveal your own cost per enquiry, simply take your total monthly support costs and divide them by the number of enquiries you get.
Using AI to help: You’ll pay pennies, not pounds, for an advanced AI assistant to handle each enquiry and using one makes budgeting easier too. Rather than pull in pockets of information from different places, you’ll be able to see all your customer enquiry data from all of your channels in one place to optimise informed decision-making and strategic planning.
2. Hire the right team (and keep them)
The true cost of hiring a customer support agent is more than you might think when you take into account holiday and sickness pay, pension contributions, training costs, equipment, and tax. If they leave, you then have to start all over again with fresh recruitment and training costs. You might have to account for a loss in productivity if the team left behind suffers and there’s a drop in service quality as a result. To avoid these costs, push to keep your agents happy.
One way to do this is to nurture empathy throughout your organisation. Recognising the daily challenges your agents face is key to developing resilient customer support teams. If they feel supported, they can also better support your customers and you’re then well on your way to developing robust, long-lasting customer relationships that contribute to business growth.
Using AI to help: Automate routine tasks so your teams can focus on more rewarding work and finding new ways to achieve empathy in customer service.
3. Make getting support convenient for your customers
Customers naturally want to get help at the exact time they need it, and these days they can, even if it’s 2am and your support teams are all tucked up in bed. People now also expect to receive that support across all channels, including your website, social media channels and apps, and although many companies may struggle to provide that, it’s possible to radically improve the omninchannel experience with the help of AI. Customers can then turn to you whenever and wherever they need you and know they’ll get a fast, reliable response. This naturally prompts an increase in customer satisfaction and, in turn, customer retention.
Using AI to help: Almost a decade of experience creating the most advanced AI assistants shows us 35% of customer enquiries come in out of hours when contact teams are offline. An AI assistant working round the clock can answer those enquiries, offering customers support at any time most convenient for them.
4. Let customers help themselves with self-service
Nobody wants to wait in a queue to have a question answered or their needs met and this one’s pretty simple to solve now self-service is everywhere. Having the option to find information for themselves empowers customers and releases your support teams from finding and repeating the same resources over and over again. Include everything your customers ask for or want to do most often in a self-service format to save everyone time and energy:
- Personalised recommendations
- Downloadable guides
- How-to videos
- Interactive tools
- Webinars and online training
This can reduce the number of enquiries your teams need to deal with directly and gives your customers independence in finding things out easily for themselves.
Using AI to help: Launch an AI assistant to work 24/7 across every channel. 83% of Legal & General customers now turn to their AI assistant first rather than use traditional methods of contact like phone or email because they prefer instant responses through the day and night.