Understanding Customer Support And How Your Business Can Leverage It
Customer support can make or break a business because it is that powerful. Every customer is valuable and providing the best service is the key. If you take the time to provide fantastic support to your customers then your loyal customer base will increase and it becomes easier to coax new customers to become your long-term customers.
This comprehensive guide will help you understand the term in detail. Additionally, you will find out why you should outsource customer support, where you should outsource from, and what qualities you should look for in a support executive.
Customer Support Vs. Customer Service
Customer support and customer service call center might seem like the same because they provide services to customers in various similar ways. However, there are key differences between the two that are worth knowing about.
The term customer service is a broad term that is linked to an organization’s goals. Customer service representatives have the job of ensuring they are polite throughout any given communication process. In addition, they need to keep the business’s goals in mind to ensure the customer gets what they require. Hence, customer service is all about the interaction of the customer with your business and providing value to customers. It can be said that the communication is transactional in customer service since the customer is just asking questions but there is no feedback involved.
On the other hand, customer support is a part of customer service or it can be said that it is a type of customer service. It provides technical support and enables customers to best use the product and service efficiently. Hence, the focus of support representatives is to ensure that the customer experience is a positive one when they are using a specific product or service.
It is all about improvement. These professionals can use product feedback and conduct studies that help them effectively understand the usability of the product or service. They also require skills for writing documentations and for solving technical problems that are experienced by customers.
Customer support executives are more involved in decision making when compared to customer service representatives. That is because they can make decisions that affect the experience of the customers. Customer service executives have the task of measuring metrics such as average handle time, CSAT, and first contact resolution. Support staff, on the other hand, needs to look into metrics such as customer effort score and net promoter score in addition to metrics of customer service.
All industries that provide services to customers have customer service. However, usually, e-commerce companies and SaaS companies have customer support.
In the case of customer service, the representatives have solutions and answers to what the customers ask in advance. The main role is to give customers, the answers they seek. In customer support, the representative is involved in solving and troubleshooting problems faced by the customer. This can mean finding other solutions than the ones that already exist because the problem can be a new one. Hence, the representatives need more skills than those of a customer service professional since they have to deal with newer problems and need to solve problems that customers have.
Why Should You Outsource Customer Support?
Outsourcing customer service and customer support is nothing new. But why should you opt for it when you have the option of providing customer support in-house? Here are the top 5 reasons why you should consider customer support outsourcing.
You get to save quite a lot of money when you outsource customer service or support. When you are setting up an in-house team, there are higher costs involved. You are employing full-time employees ;so even when there are not many calls you will still need to pay your employees.
However, when it comes to outsourcing, you are cutting costs since you aren’t paying for training, infrastructure, time etc. Instead, you are paying for only the number of calls that the agents are taking. This leads to flexible costs that can help you work with a small budget since you don’t need to spend on things you otherwise would when you have an in-house support team.
Read About What Is The Cost Of Poor Customer Service?
Offer 24×7 Support
Your customers are your highest priority and you don’t want them to wait. When you provide in-house customer support, it is difficult to provide 24/7 support because it is not possible on a 9 to 5 schedule. Moreover, even if it is possible then it would mean higher costs. However, in the case of outsourcing, you can provide customer support all day long. Your customers will receive the support they need whenever they need it.
Outsourced providers can handle a varying number of calls. That is, they can effectively manage and provide support when there is a surge of calls and even when the calls are lesser than usual. This leads to better management and less stress.
Get Meaningful Insights and Analytics
When you have an in-house support staff, then it usually becomes difficult to get hold of metrics that are involved. This leads to difficulty in improving since you don’t have what you need to measure customer satisfaction. When you work with outsourcing centers, they can help you generate more revenue. That is because they can get the required metrics/insights/analytics that this can help you make improvements accordingly.
For example, they can give you details of customer satisfaction, resolutions, and the time it takes to handle calls on an average. These metrics can prove useful to meet the targets of your business/brand.
Access to Diverse Pool Expertise
When you outsource customer support, the agencies offer effective training to their agents. These agents are not getting training to work in only one type of industry. Hence, this gives the customer care agents more knowledge and expertise to deal with a range of customers. This enables you to give your customers the best support as the agents are better equipped and more knowledgeable. This can make you stand out from the crowd and have a competitive edge over other brands in your domain. You always get access to the best professionals which lead to better support quality.
Peace of Mind
Outsourcing your support has another advantage; you can focus on other areas of your business. Since support is becoming a part that no one wants to mess up, you will be constantly stressed if you have to think about it constantly as is the case with in-house support.
However, when you outsource, you don’t need to worry about support anymore. In this way, you can focus on other areas of your business that require your attention. For example, you can work towards achieving other goals that will move you closer to your vision. This can help you do better business and brings you higher success.
Incredible India: The Hospitality Destination
There are many customer service outsourcing companies and most of them prefer India as their primary destination for outsourcing. A survey found that more than 80% of companies based in the US prefer India as their outsourcing location. India is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world and it provides low-cost service resources which is a major bonus for companies that want to outsource.
Whether you are looking for customer support outsourcing or customer service outsourcing, India is one of the best locations. Indians are always looking for new opportunities and ideas which means better investment opportunities.
More than half of India’s population is young and since the focus is always on education, most of India’s youth are educated. With a high level of English fluency, many companies consider India as the best outsourcing destination for customer support among others. You can find that most Indians are serious and dedicated to their work. They are always willing to improve their skills to ensure they are best at their job and this has proven to be advantageous.
You can find a large number of experienced specialists in India. This means you will get only the best when you are outsourcing to India. The government of India has made things simpler since it has put its focus on the IT sector.
Qualities Of A Good Customer Support Executive
When you are hiring then you want to ensure that you pick the best customer service call executives for your outsourced customer support team. Here are qualities that you should look for to ensure your customers get the best support they deserve at all times.
- Excellent communication skills are a must because effectively understanding the problem of the customer is the first step of solving the problem. Then clearly explaining the solution is vital for customer support executives. This will ensure maximum customer satisfaction which will lead to a happy and loyal customer.
- The customer support executive should know about the product or service in detail. Only then can he/she provide the best type of support and ensure that the customer has a positive experience. Willingness to learn everything and solve problems are vital qualities that the executive should provide.
- The customer support executive should be empathetic and caring towards the customer. This will enable customers to fully discuss the problem more openly. If the executive is rude or shows that he/she only cares about the end result then there are chances that the customer won’t be satisfied. This can help the representative understand the problem better and provide a better solution.
- Your customer support representative should be able to work well in a team. While serving customers is great, working in a team is going to ensure that things go smoothly. The executive should be a team player and should work well with other members of the team. This will enable them to learn from others.
- The customer support executive should be able to maintain their cool at all times. Not all customers are going to be polite, so the representative should be able to speak without a doubt in tone. While it can get tough, it is important that the executive remains polite at all times. All types of customers can contact the executive, and he should be ready to handle them all.
- It is vital that the customer support executive makes an effort to make the customer happy at all times. This can be tricky in some cases, but the executive should be able to do whatever it takes to make the customer feel like they are most the important part. This will become easier with practice but is an important skill that the executive must possess.
- The customer support executive is working under someone and so it is vital that they understand they are going to be always managed. They should be able to take criticism and be able to do something when asked to improve on one aspect or more. This should be made clear in the start so they know what to expect.
Types of Customer Support Services
You can provide more than one type of customer support to your customers so that they have an array of options to choose from.
FAQ Support on Website
FAQ support does not require much of an investment but it requires a rich source of information that people can look at. This type of customer support should be provided on your website and your social media pages as well. This will ensure people can get access wherever your presence is and they can get answers to the basic questions. A content writer can write the FAQs along with answers and he should be briefed about the company, products, and services before he starts writing. These answers should be short yet provide maximum information. This will ensure people don’t resort to other types of support for the basic questions.
Live chat support
Live chat support is one of the best types of support. Support representatives can quickly reply to the query in real-time and this enables the customer to get fast reply to their questions. According to research, over 70% of people prefer talking to support via live chat option because it is quick and they can speak even when they are making a purchase.
This chat enables representatives to speak to more than one customer at a time thereby effectively resolving more queries in a short period. It is possible for customers and agents to archive the conversation during a live chat. Moreover, automated responses can be sent to specific queries.
Self-service is where you make the information accessible and then the customers can troubleshoot the problem themselves before opting for other types of support. The self-service option has a knowledge base that enables customers to look for the answers they need themselves without needing anyone’s help.
However, for this to be a success, you need to ensure that everything is explained clearly. The procedures should be explained in step-by-step format and you should include a variety of tools such as images and videos along with texts to explain everything. It is important to keep this up-to-date so that it reflects the latest information.
Email support is one type of customer support that you can provide your customers. It is reliable and fast as it enables the customers to get in touch with you after business hours. It is an option for customers who prefer to write down their queries. Emails can enable you to attach links to other files or website where they can get further information. Email support is convenient for both customer and business as you can reply whenever you have time. However, customers expect replies within 24 hours so it is best to stay on top of things by sending a proper reply as soon as possible.
Social Media Support
Social media support is great for today’s generation that is hooked on to social media for the larger part of the day. Popular social media support platforms are Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.
The benefit of social media customer support is that there are many ways to provide support. You can have a live chat, a brand page where customers can pose questions, or you can have discussions so that everyone can view. The flexibility of this type of support is beneficial to companies. However, a quick response is a must if you want to stay ahead of the competition. You can post answers publicly or privately depending on the nature of the query so many customers can benefit at the same time.
IVR customer support is one of the popular types of support. While you may need time to set this up, it is worth it because it can serve many people at the same time. Moreover, it can direct people to the information that they seek in lesser time. This can save time. The IVR must be set up so that information is easily accessed when the customer chooses a particular option. The best part about an IVR system is that you can set it up to work 24/7 so that customers can get their queries answered whenever they have one. This enables high customer satisfaction and faster problem-solving than traditional methods.
Telecommunication support or call center customer service is phone support. In this, customers need to call the customer support agents to get answers to their doubts. Having a team that can handle a variety of customers and who have apt knowledge are best to provide support to customers.
People can better express them verbally through a phone call so it is easier and faster to understand the problem. This enables the agent to give quicker responses and solutions to the problems. This is great for complicated problems that might not be explicable in written form. Phone support is fast.
On-site support can be provided to customers at their home or workplace depending on where the product is installed and where the repair needs to be done on the product. This type of support can ensure that the problem is being solved by an authorized individual who has apt knowledge of solving similar problems or problems related to the particular product.
How much you charge the customer depends on the service being offered and other factors according to your policy. While this may need investment, it gives the customer the peace of mind that a specialist will be coming to resolve the problem they are facing.
Tutorial videos or webinars are new types of support that enable people to understand something deeply. These help people understand how something works in detail and it can be a great way to advertise your product or service to potential customers.
This can help people understand why they need that product or service and it can give them insights that they need to make up their mind about investing in what you are offering. Similarly, free webinars can be provided to potential customers so they know how something works.
Annual Maintenance Contract or AMC is a customer support option that you can provide your customers. This is one of the best ways to ensure customer satisfaction because you provide maintenance for free up to the warranty date. The terms and conditions should be clearly written so that customers understand it. This type of support is great for keeping in touch with the customers even after they buy the product.
An example of companies that provide this type of contracts is water purifier companies. They provide free installation and they provide free service up to a certain time after which customers can opt for contract renewal.
No brand should ever underestimate the power of unbeatable customer support. That said, it is smart to outsource support because it will save you time, decrease costs, increase productivity, help generate higher revenue, and enable you to focus on your passion. You can provide various customer support services depending on your business requirements and your business goals.