customer service

As a business, you are always trying to deliver efficient customer service. At the same time, though, you are constantly aware of the bottom line and making budget cuts. What if you were able to provide better customer service with reduced hold times while also lowering the overall cost of operating? Sounds like a dream, right? But, there are ways to do both well. Here are eight of the best methods for cutting your hold times and cutting your costs.

Utilize CCaaS.

If your business hasn’t switched over to a CCaaS cloud-based system, you’re missing out on a huge money-saving option and way to offer efficient customer service. Moving to the cloud means a significant reduction in IT and infrastructure costs. It also gives you the flexibility to streamline customer service channels and utilize intelligent caller profiling for speedier resolution times.

This move will simultaneously allow you to cut overhead costs and provide efficient customer service solutions. What’s not to love?

Hire the right people.

The people you hire are going to make a huge difference in your customer service outcomes for better or worse. You can have all the best technology. But, if your customer reaches a rep who is complacent, lacks empathy, or is unhelpful, the best system in the world isn’t going to matter.

Look for the candidates who show an eagerness for continuous learning and the ability to take initiative. Find the people who convey helpfulness and enthusiasm combined with the ability to think well on their feet and make quick decisions. These types of reps are going to be the ones that can take calls effectively and leave customers feeling that they were truly cared for. 

Offer a call-back option.

One simple way to reduce hold times is to offer your customers the option of being called back instead of waiting on hold. Allow them to input a call-back number. Also, stream the customers into a virtual queue from which your reps can call them as they are able. 63% of customers report that they prefer this option to being put on hold.

Of course, you still need to focus on efficient call back times. But, this method frees your customers from the obligation of waiting with their phones pressed to their ears and shows you value their time. 

Give your reps authority to make decisions.

This one is huge. Don’t force your agents to place their customers on hold so they can go get a manager’s permission to perform routine services. Trust your reps to make these kinds of decisions on the spot and enable them to do so.

Give them the knowledge base and the freedom to make the best choices for your customers so that nine times out of ten, they won’t have to escalate the case to a manager. Empowered reps create smoother, quicker customer interactions. 

Train your customer service team well.

Investing the resources in up-front training will reap great benefits. Don’t view a customer service job as a “train-as-you-go” opportunity. This strategy will inevitably lead to long hold times and frustrated customers. Your customers are calling because they could not easily solve their problem on their own.

They want to speak to an efficient and truly helpful rep. Take the time during staff orientation to train your reps thoroughly. Provide continued training as new information comes out. Sure, it takes more time on the front end, but it will certainly save you time and money in the long run as call times are reduced due to efficiency and customers are happier.

Make knowledge accessible to your reps.

Give your service reps easy access to the information they will need to deal with the most frequent types of customer questions and complaints. Consider creating an intuitive shortcut system so that information is easily found.

Make it as easy on your reps as possible to find answers quickly and independently so that phone calls can stay prompt and effective. Organizing your knowledge database in a helpful manner is a low-cost solution that can go a long way in shortening hold times.

Implement skills-based routing.

By collecting a bit of information from your customers at the front end of a call, you can discern who the best team will be to handle their issues. It may be worthwhile for your agents to segment into particular skill areas and specialize in certain types of knowledge and skill.

Of course, you need each representative to be able to handle any type of call at a basic level, but if you can route your calls according to agent speciality, your customers will receive the help they need from the people who are best equipped to give it. Allowing your reps to become experts over certain areas creates a culture of learning and provides another low-cost strategy for reducing the amount of time your customer has to wait for help.

Analyze your department’s weak points.

If you habitually experience long hold times in your department, you need to research the cause. If your calls are recorded, analyze them to see what is taking so long. Read your customer service surveys. It may be a matter of training. Or, you may need to give your agents more authority so they can respond better. Also, it may be something else entirely. Explore your department’s weaknesses and adjust accordingly.

84% of businesses who make an effort to improve their customer experience see an increase in revenue. By cutting down on hold times by building a more effective team and better processes, you will be able to create happier customers. You can also lower overhead costs and experience increased profit as a result of those happy customers. Sounds like a win!

 

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Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt, specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life. Previously he was the co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, that was acquired in 2012.

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