There is an increasing number of international companies and ones that build their business on the Internet & through other remote channels. Also, Covid-demic plays a major role in recent years, when customers have to be served remotely. In modern days, you simply cannot afford your business to lose clients – which you might if your clients aren’t served immediately when they want and using the channel they want. According to many latest surveys, about ¾ of customers expect big companies to handle their issues 24/7.
If you belong to one of the companies that correspond to the criteria of 24/7 client service, you simply must have it. A list of such companies includes:
- IT companies
- internationally operating companies
- websites with hundreds of thousands or millions of users
- supermarkets and hypermarkets
- HVAC technicians handling breakages
- emergency services
- critical infrastructure companies, and others.
24/7 customer service description
A 24 7 support is the provision of client support and issue-resolving 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some companies may also offer operation during 365/366 days a year, while some others might have a few days off during the year (usually, on December 25, 31, and January 1, but the dates are country-specific).
All-day-round support in modern days is done via the so-called ‘omnichannel’, when multiple channels are used:
- social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WeChat, and others)
- community forums
- messengers (Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp, Skype…)
- internal chat inside of a website, a program, or corporate portal
It depends on a company, which exactly list of omnichannel to use but the larger a company becomes a larger this list also shall become to embrace all clients.
24/7 customer support advantages and disadvantages
Speaking of five-star customer service, experts and companies-outsourcers usually only mention pluses of a decision to migrate to 24/7. But we, in addition to advantages, also list disadvantages – to form a more well-balanced picture.
- Improving customer satisfaction. Your clients usually have different schedules. Also, as you gain more clients, you gain a bigger dispersion of the probability of the occurrence of problems, requests, and questions from clients, prospects, and others. It factually means they don’t address you just 9 to 5 and only via phone. By having 24/7 omnichannel support, you’re able to resolve all the issues quickly, effectively, in real-time.
- Streamlining the processes of dealing with unsatisfied customers. For instance, if you trade goods, which are subject to return for whatever reason (bad quality, damages during shipment, or customer dissatisfaction otherwise), allowing clients to return the goods at any time of the day is a great option to extinguish a fire before it burns brighter. Also, it is, again, about bigger customer satisfaction.
- Enhancing brand loyalty.
- A possibility to build a self-service via chatbots (including a well-structured knowledge base, to which customers may resort to finding answers to standard questions)
- When you’re building a call center abroad (or resort to an outsourcing company abroad), not speaking the language of your customers or speaking with a bad accent, it will likely cause outrage in about half of customers addressing such support (according to several latest surveys). So the clients won’t desire to buy from you or to be up-sold by you.
- If your support makes outbound sales (they contact clients themselves, not only working on incoming calls), an improper time of contact and/or improper channel of contact may cause displeasure of clients.
- Outsourced call center solutions may not entirely cover your omnichannel approach, as well as they may not support your company’s internal procedures, reporting, call transfer policy, or simply provide low-quality service. It is also quite possible they may cost you more than if you would build your own 24/7 support service.
- Burn-out of support agents. If they work for you directly, this is your company’s HR work to replace one (and a client-facing or phone ring answering time may suffer). If outsourced, this is handled by a company outsourcer (usually, without deterioration of performance).
Support 24/7 criteria that you should look for in an outsourced company
Most solutions today rely on outsourcing for many reasons, the major of which is the price of average customer contact. Also, it is the reluctance to hire and manage all the personnel to support the process. And if you’re resorting to one of the outsourcers, here are the criteria you should be looking for:
- Great business reputation (as you don’t want your client data to be stolen, right?)
- Provision of support in all time zones and in all languages of your customers
- A possibility to redirect calls to your company’s employees within one call or during the callback to solve a problem with better quality or if it cannot be resolved by an outsourced employee immediately or requires bigger action
- A possibility not only to take incoming contacts but also to make outbound contacts to partially replace sales team functions (at least, mass and simplest ones)
- Provision of reporting in your format
- Ability to integrate with your software and work based on access rights of elaborated roles for external workers
- Meeting your expectations in omnichannel
- A possibility to scale up and down fast, as well as be trained fast when your procedures change
- Fulfilling goals in KPIs (like response time, the average length of a call, client retention, quality of service, and others), based on which you are able to review and estimate performance. That would also include channel-specific KPIs.
- Provision of tools to strengthen self-service via phone, chatbots, or others