A great customer experience is required for today’s businesses, and customer support as a service (CSaaS) brings the right people and processes together to help you deliver best possible customer support to your customers.
Your call center agents are on the frontline every day, helping your customers resolve issues quickly and effectively to drive customer satisfaction. From the moment your call center lines open, your support agents are the voice of expertise for your brand. Well-trained agents deliver support in the form of technical assistance and customer care. Support as a service (SaaS) tools give your call center agents the mechanics to deliver good customer service. As they fine-tune their soft skills in the area of customer service, they have all the right stuff to turn frustrated customers into loyal brand-promoters.
This leads to customer retention, increased revenue, and brand loyalty.
Why Customer Support as a Service Is Important
Customer support as a service, also known as support as a service, is important to your business because it’s the engine that drives a good customer experience. Behind the scenes, a hub of activity goes on in your call center to help you deliver on your promise of great customer support.
Customer support as a service helps you train your contact center agents well and keeps them connected so they can resolve customer issues as quickly and effectively as possible.
Assists with Onboarding and Training Call Center Agents
As you bring new call center agents into the fold, you’ll want to set high standards for how they respond to your customers. With customer support as a service, you can use the same onboarding materials and processes with onsite support teams and remote or distributed team members.
Keeps Call Center Agents Connected with Each Other
As calls arrive in your call center, new call center agents will quickly realize no two calls are the same. Your team members should share information about questions customers raise during calls. It offers the chance to brainstorm the best ways to respond to customers in keeping with the company’s culture and vision. New call center agents will become more confident when they learn how more experienced colleagues have handled specific types of calls. The connection between team members is important for delivering a consistent customer experience.
Customer Support as a Service Provides Objectivity of Call Center Performance
Whether they work onsite or remotely, your call center agents are essentially on equal footing. They’re bound to compare notes with each other about performance and best practices. Support as a service tools give call center managers objective ways to evaluate agents without making direct peer-to-peer comparisons. These benchmarks provide specific feedback for call center agents to help them improve individually, and as a team.
Research Supports Benefits of Good Customer Experience
Research by The Harvard Business Review indicates that reducing a customer’s effort in solving problems quickly has a vast impact on brand loyalty. Their study also shows when call center agents deliberately act on this insight, it not only improves customer service, it also reduces costs and decreases customer churn.
5 Reasons to Improve Your Customer Support as a Service
1) Better training for your call center agents:
A report from Accenture states that 83% of U.S, customers prefer voice communication over other digital channels during customer service interactions. The report also showed that 52% of customers switched brands within the previous year due to poor customer service, particularly when they dealt with banks, retailers, and cable or satellite providers. Poor customer service costs U.S. customers an average of $1.6 annually. Customer support as a service helps you train call center agents strategically and consistently to ensure a good customer experience and prevent churn.
2) Objectively measure call center performance:
To get an accurate assessment of your call center performance, it’s essential to track the right KPI’s and metrics. If you’re tracking the wrong metrics, you won’t get the right information to help you improve the customer experience. A cloud-based phone system and other software solutions give you the right tools to track the information that uncovers an objective view of individual call agent performance and your call center’s performance overall.
3) Improved customer retention:
Competition is strong in the marketplace. For that reason, customer retention has never been more important. Customer support as a service tools help you optimize your customer service strategy and maximize the results of your call center teams. A study by Havas Group showed that if 77% of brands disappeared, customers wouldn’t be phased in the least. You want your company to be in the 23% of businesses that keep customers coming back.
4) Increases growth and revenue:
By carefully designing your workflows, your call center agents can more easily identify opportunities that deepen loyalty which will increase sales and referrals. Forbes gives us some striking data about the connection between a good customer experience and increased revenue:
- Taking a customer experience mindset can drive revenue 4% to 8% higher than other companies.
- Your competition is competing on customer experience. About two-thirds of companies are now focusing on the customer experience. It’s a good crowd to be a part of.
- Customers that focus on the customer experience outperform their competitors by almost 80%.
- 84% of companies that improved on the customer experience reported an increase in their revenue.
- 73% of companies that demonstrate an above-average customer experience have better financial results than their competitors.
5) Improves the customer experience:
Research is clear on how customers define a good customer experience, as these statistics from Review 24 show:
- 73% of customers prefer using more than one buying channel along the customer journey. A multi-channel experience may yield you 4% greater revenue more in your physical facility in 10% more online than customers that use a single channel. (Harvard Business Review)
- Almost half of millennials (41%) are willing to pay up to 20% more for an exciting customer experience. (Oracle)
- By failing to improve the customer experience you risk losing up to 62% of your customers if they have a bad experience with your call center agents or your business. (Salesforce)
Together, these reasons compel brands to use customer support as a service to improve the overall customer experience.
How to Improve Your CSaaS Process and Strategy
Improving your CSaaS processes and strategies will improve the customer journey from start to finish. Focus on three areas to improve your CSaaS process and strategy—your tools, your processes, and your people.
- 1. Your tools – A cloud-based phone system with a robust set of voice call features is an essential tool for your call center. A VoIP phone system allows you to use call center software effectively for a single source of information for your call center agents. These tools give you the ultimate in flexibility, scalability, and functionality, and they’re cost-effective as well.
- 2. Your processes – Use call recording and call monitoring to evaluate customer service calls and set up the most efficient workflows. Keep in mind that circumstances can alter the typical types of calls that come into your call center. Continually monitor your processes and workflows to ensure that your customers continually get a good customer experience. Use call center analytics to objectively measure metrics and KPI’s. Use the data to scale your call center accordingly.
- 3. Your people – Regardless of whether you’re using onsite teams, remote teams, or distributed teams, all call agents should be working on the same platforms and integrate as many functions as you can. With everyone working from the same set of data and information, your call analytics will be more accurate and provide a realistic assessment of the customer experience. Consistent training and onboarding and keeping them connected keeps everyone on the same page and working together.
Improving your CSaaS process and strategy won’t seem so overwhelming when you break them down into these three, distinct areas.
The Metrics to Measure CSaaS Performance
The right cloud-based phone system gives you all the right metrics to measure CSaaS performance objectively and accurately. By automatically calculating the right call data and allowing you to pull up customized reports to help you evaluate your call center’s performance, a cloud phone system makes the value of the right tools readily apparent.
Here are 9 metrics to look for in the analytics features of a cloud-based phone system:
1) Average number of minutes call center agents are spending on the phone.
Call agents need to spend enough time to resolve customer complaints and present a personalized customer experience. Call agents that spend too much time on calls may need additional training in the area of efficiency.
2) The number of calls each call agent answers.
This metric tells you which call agents are doing more than others. It also tells you how many calls your call center can handle in the space of an hour which helps in scaling your call center appropriately.
3) The number of calls each agent answers within a certain time frame.
This metric also helps you to scale your call center appropriately. In addition, it will help you set objective goals for your call agents to answer calls within a certain timeframe to prevent customers from abandoning a call. By monitoring this metric, you also ensure that sales calls are answered in a timely manner, and you won’t miss opportunities to close sales.
4) The average number of minutes customers are waiting on the line.
Customers that have to wait too long become frustrated and that will have an impact on customer satisfaction.
5) The number of unanswered calls and calls left on your voicemail.
While the goal is to answer calls as soon as possible, the reality is that sometimes customers will have to leave a voicemail. By knowing how many customers are leaving messages, you can strategize how to minimize the number of unanswered calls. By getting to calls sooner, you’ll also increase the efficiency of your workflows.
6) The average amount of time that it takes for a customer to get a call back.
If you wait too long to return customer calls, you give the impression that you’re not concerned about their experience. By improving the rate of customer callbacks, you improve the customer experience. Brand loyalty and revenue will surely follow.
7) The sales conversion rate helps to determine how many calls it takes to close a sale.
This metric is important for shortening your sales cycle and moving customers through the sales funnel more quickly.
8) The number of calls where call agents resolved customer issues on the first call.
Customers find great value when a call agent can resolve their issue on the first call. Aiming to improve this metric means that customers won’t try to reach you on a different communication channel, and it will improve your customer satisfaction rates.
9) The frequency or number of times that a customer calls to resolve an issue period.
Customers that have to call you too many times means that they’re continuing to experience problems. When this metric is high, it may mean that you need to identify customers that need to be escalated to a higher level of service.
As you get better acquainted with call metrics, you’ll quickly see how CSaaS creates efficiency within your call center. The results will speak for themselves.
Best Practices for an Effective Customer Support as a Service Strategy
Call centers are an active and growing part of our workforce. According to Site Selection Group, companies employed over 32,000 call center agents in the first quarter of 2019. Such strong growth means that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to identifying best practices for an effective customer support as a service strategy. Keep in mind that best practices for CSaaS continue to evolve.
12 best practices for CSaaS and running an efficient, effective call center:
- 1. Use a cloud-based phone system like Aircall that offers a robust set of phone system features.
- 2. Use the right software integrations with your phone system. Aircall’s App Marketplace gives you listings of popular software integrations that nicely complement Aircall’s phone system.
- 3. Heed feedback from your call center agents. They have much information to share about what your customers are saying.
- 4. Focus on the customer experience. Your competitors are already doing this, and you don’t want to give them an advantage over you.
- 5. Keep your team members connected so they feel like a team even if they’re not working side by side.
- 6. Use call analytics to gauge our call center metrics and KPI’s. Take the guesswork out and let accurate data guide your processes and strategies.
- 7. Implement self-service tools as appropriate. This practice cuts down on call volume and helps you run a more efficient call center.
- 8. Use remote or distributed teams as appropriate. CSaaS allows you to set up a virtual call center and still keep your teams connected.
- 9. Deliver an omnichannel customer experience. CsaaS tools allow you to greet customers on the communication channel they prefer best and allow agents to switch channels during interactions as needed.
- 10. Use scalability to your advantage. Call analytics will help you scale your call center for the greatest efficiency.
- 11. Train your call center agents to be agile. The right software integrations allow your call center agents to be agile, flexible, and responsive in meeting customers’ needs, even during the most complex calls.
- 12. Be flexible and be willing to use in innovation as technology evolves. Aircall’s App Marketplace is continually evolving o keep up with advances in technology.
Customer Support as a Service & Aircall
CSaaS supports every step of the customer journey, which is so vital to remaining competitive and sustainable in the marketplace. Aircall works with you to help you set up the right strategies and processes to optimize your call center so that it helps you deliver on your promise of a great customer experience and enhance brand loyalty.