Customer queries, complaints, and service requests are important to every business. While a majority of them come during the regular service hours, some may come beyond that. As a business owner, you should be prepared to handle and resolve those immediately at any time of the day.
The rise of e-commerce, digital payments, and lifestyle changes has transformed the shopping habits of many customers. Many of them expect 24/7 customer support and some will stop transacting with a company if they don’t get prompt and satisfactory customer service.
In such a situation, you must have 24/7 customer support in your business. In this blog post, you will get to know how to provide 24/7 customer support. Read on to know the secret behind the round the clock customer service.
How to provide 24/7 customer support?
Businesses can provide 24/7 customer support by using many communication tools such as chats, Interactive Voice Response, and VoIP calling systems as well as channels such as emails and social media. Here are a few tools that can you can use to provide 24/7 customer support to your customers.
Set up a 24/7 call center
A call center, also known as a contact center, is a workplace that’s exclusively designed to make or receive calls. There are two types of call centers—inbound and outbound. In the former, customers initiate calls to ask questions regarding a product or service or to get their issues resolved. Whereas, in the latter, executives call customers (or potential customers) to speak about a product or service, take a survey, ask for feedback, and more.
When it comes to providing 24/7 customer support, setting up a 24/7 inbound call center is prudent if your business gets (or is likely to get) a huge number of queries or requests round the clock. A dedicated inbound contact center is extremely scalable, which means it’ll enable you to handle massive customer queries with only a few customer care associates.
Why is setting up a call center a good idea for 24/7 customer support? A study has revealed that over 75 percent of all respondents prefer phone calls to contact a business. A VoIP contact center can handle all customer calls as well as keep your costs down and enhance your team’s productivity.
Use automated chatbots
Did you know that the first chatbot ‘ELIZA’ was developed in 1966 by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum? Since then automated chatbots have come a long way and have revolutionized customer support for good.
The quick and efficient response complements beautifully human efforts. Apart from that, they are extremely cost-effective and save time compared to call centers. Another advantage of chatbots over call centers is that a customer care executive can handle one customer call at a time, whereas a chatbot can receive multiple chats simultaneously.
A study by Forbes on chatbots revealed that they can enhance sales by over 65 percent and save thousands of dollars in tech support costs. A new report released by ResearchAndMarkets.com has projected the rise of the global Chatbot market size to USD 10.5 billion by 2026 from USD 2.9 billion in 2020, at a 23.5 percent compound annual growth rate.
Have a dedicated live chat team
To describe live chat in plain words, it’s a humanized version of chatbots and an all-text version of a contact center. Unlike the former, human customer support executives respond to customer queries instead of AI. Unlike the latter, the agents receive and respond to text chats instead of voice calls.
The major advantage of using a live chat is that your customers get to interact with a human executive as opposed to AI-powered chatbots. Live chat on a mobile app or website provides immediate access to customer support and it saves time for both customers and executives by enabling the former to multitask as they wait for the resolution. Live chat executives can attend to multiple chats at the same time.
You don’t have to make your live chats 24/7. Your live chat executives can be available for only a specific time of the day and can still address all the customer queries and issues effectively. You can use a mix of automated chatbots and live chat.
Keep an eye on social media messages, tags, and interactions
Did you know that leveraging social media platforms to handle customer service requests is more cost-effective by up to 12 times compared to handling an equal number of requests using a phone? A study by BrandWatch reveals the number.
Some years back, customer service through social media was extremely unusual. Businesses mostly used their accounts to run social media marketing campaigns and engage with their community members.
In recent years, however, many social media users use their personal accounts to seek customer support and post complaints. Some tend to mention and tag businesses, while others prefer to send a text message. As per the Sprout Social Index report, close to 60 percent of customers message a business to share a great experience, and 37 percent the message for customer service requests. In both cases, it’s extremely crucial to be polite, humble, and responsive.
As per a Microsoft survey, nearly 55 percent of respondents view a business more favorably when it responds to their queries or complaints on social media. Another study revealed nearly 85 percent of respondents who used social media to send customer service requests to a business received a response from it.
If your business has social media accounts, have someone (or some members) from your customer support team check inboxes and notifications regularly. Make sure they are prompt and precise with their responses. If you have a Twitter business account, check the tags and inboxes regularly. As per Aspect, more than 70 percent of customer service complaints on Twitter aren’t responded to.
Leverage email ticketing
Email ticketing is the method of converting customer queries in the form of support emails into helpdesk tickets and assigning them to customer care executives for responses. It’s one of the most popular options for customers to interact with businesses.
Even though it isn’t the quickest option out there, it’s available round the clock and can help customers to get started with the process. Email ticketing is an extremely effective and efficient tool for small and medium businesses. With features to automate, tag, analyze, and report, contemporary software can enable you to provide outstanding customer support.
Ensure that your customer support department is well-equipped to respond to the email tickets effectively and in a time-bound way. Make sure that they handle the old tickets first as well as promptly respond to new support tickets. Entrust someone to look at the status of the tickets. Save your team’s time by using A/B tested and approved email templates. If possible, create different teams for different time zones and have customer support executives work accordingly.
Use a reliable and sophisticated CRM
A customer relationship management (CRM) is a process of managing all customer interactions in one place. Even though it isn’t a customer support tool, it’s a critical part of giving a 24/7 customer support experience.
A CRM gathers all customer information and conversation history, which then gives it to the customer support team to personalize their customer interactions and support services. It results in improved customer service, greater customer satisfaction, as well as efficiency, and productivity. As per Grandview Research industry estimates, over 90 percent of businesses with 10 or more staff use a CRM to handle customer conversation.
To be effective in the customer journey mapping process, invest in a high-quality, reliable, and sophisticated CRM system. A good CRM can send automated messages and pull reports.
Create self-service support materials
When looking to provide 24/7 customer support, don’t underestimate the potential and value of self-service. Look out for ways to enable your customers to sort their problems by themselves.
Create frequently asked questions, how-to guides, tutorials, knowledge bases, and more. It’s prudent to mix real-time support with self-service as it will enable customers to solve their problems on their own and get assistance whenever they need it. As per Microsoft, nine out of every ten customers want businesses to provide self-service support.
Before creating the self-service support material, understand the needs of the target customers and find out what information and resources they may need for the specific pain points. While working on the materials, try to keep the message crisp, concise, and precise. Provide useful and valuable links to additional blogs and resources that can provide answers or solve their problems. Take time to edit and proofread for easy readability and better clarity.
Taking everything into account
Providing 24/7 customer service is extremely crucial to your business. Leveraging the right technology tools such as VoIP, IVR, chatbots, and more can enable you to provide effective customer support round the clock. After selecting the right customer support tools for your business, you need to prepare your team to handle the customer queries and complaints effectively.