Today's world is more connected than ever, and chances are, your customer service team is feeling the effects. Without an accessible support team, it is difficult to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Today, most customers expect that support coverage and phone support are available at all times, and they expect to be able to reach support agents at the drop of a hat. But how can you provide great customer service at all times, regardless of time zones?
This is why outsourcing call center services help build essential customer relationships on your behalf. In this article, we'll explore the many benefits of 24/7 support services to handle customer inquiries.
What Is 24/7 Support? Understanding How It Works
As the name suggests, 24/7 support is an approach that revolves around resolving customer issues and meeting customer expectations regardless of the time zone. The idea is to improve the customer experience by always being available to your customers whenever they need you, day or night. This helps ensure there is uninterrupted customer service via customer service teams, outsourced service providers, inbound call centers, outbound call centers, virtual assistance services, and self-service support. Not only can this approach help communicate effectively with your customers and help close more sales, but it can save money if you have limited resources.
Various customer support services can implement this support experience to obtain happier customers such as inbound call centers, outbound call centers, and virtual assistance companies. If your company needs to improve in this area of your business, 24/7 service availability is a great starting point to consider.
When Do Businesses Need to Provide 24/7 Customer Support?
Before any business considers this level of response time and availability, it's important to consider factors such as your customer base, your industry, what other companies are doing in your industry, and what your customer base wants. Here are three indications that your business can benefit from this approach.
Your Business Is Serving a Global Customer Base
In the case that you have a huge amount of global customers, constant support can be highly beneficial. For example, if customers are trying to purchase products across different time zones, they might have certain questions that they want answered quickly before making a decision. If you're expanding into new territories or noticing more international orders, the convenience and peace of mind of constant support are invaluable.
Your Industry Requires 24/7 Support
Although many consumers are content with self-service options when it comes to customer queries, this is often the result of convenience instead of necessity. However, some industries need to offer support in real-time such as security, travel, insurance, and healthcare. When they call outside of business hours, customers in these industries need to be able to access the support they need, so make sure to find the right customer support solution for your industry.
Most of Your Support Queries Come In After-Hours
In the case that most of your customers are submitting support tickets after hours, this is a sign that you should be offering 24/7 support. As more and more tickets stack up overnight, it can create an extremely hectic backlog to get through the next day. In many cases, it's best to stay on top of these tickets as they come in.
The 11 Key Pros of Providing 24/7 Customer Support Services
Businesses that offer round-the-clock support experience many different benefits compared with those that only operate during business hours. From enhanced customer satisfaction to an overall more pleasant customer experience, having a constant support team can vastly improve your business in many ways.
1. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction
Today's customers want the ability to shop your site and understand your offerings no matter the time of day. If they need to find answers, they want the ability to do so on the spot, even if your business isn't technically open. Clients will have an improved overall experience when they know they won't have to wait for an answer and will be more likely to move forward with their purchase.
As we discussed, the industry that you're in can also help you decide whether or not this customer support approach is ideal for you. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about whether you'd have access to a solution if needed. Providing your audience with customer service on demand helps show your investment in their happiness and allows you to stand out from your competitors.
2. Increased Customer Loyalty
Business growth only occurs through loyalty, so why not use customer service as one of your tools to help you achieve this? For obvious reasons, a satisfied customer is significantly more likely to come back and make a repeat purchase with your company versus someone who feels as though they've been shortchanged. All it takes is one bad experience with an agent or a particularly long wait for a customer to become upset. Even smaller companies that are operating across different time zones are seeing an uptick in engagement and long-term success when constant customer service is available.
Every customer conversation is a chance to show them that you care about more than their wallets. According to market research conducted by the Customer Thermometer, here are the top five reasons that customers feel connected to a brand:
- Understanding me
- Caring for me
- Caring for the world
- Being like me
- Being made to feel special
3. Improved Customer Retention
One of the easiest ways to efficiently manage and grow your business is through retention. You're already aware that it costs less to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. But how about the fact that customers are more likely to purchase from you when you immediately answer the phone? Too much waiting time can significantly detract from your overall performance. The better your customer retention rates, the higher your average lifetime sales will be as well. By providing and maintaining around-the-clock customer service, you can help to increase these retention rates. Even demonstrating a 5 percent increase in retention can come with huge advantages; think a 25% increase in profits (or more!). Answering inquiries and surpassing the expectation that each customer has is a major step toward improved retention and an increase in sales.
4. Improved Conversion Rates
An essential benchmark of how well your company is doing is your conversion rates. This is one of the most pivotal key performance indicators (KPIs) that will shed light on how well your business is doing in terms of support. On average, conversion rates range from 2-5 percent depending on the business and the industry, but ideally, you'll want to be a company with a conversion rate of 10 percent or higher.
For example, more companies are seeing the benefits of offering a live chat option to boost conversions. For example, customers who take advantage of a live chat service are 2.8 more times likely to make a purchase and will spend up to 60 percent more on sales. This technology can go a long way in reducing response time and boosting the accessibility of your brand.
5. Increased Productivity
The importance of outsourcing cannot be overstated; it can not only help improve the overall experience for the customer, but it can help to lessen the stress of your internal team. You know that it isn't always easy or timely to resolve an issue with customer service. Conversations can take a long time and the process can take hours or even days to conclude. Who has the time or resources to deal with such long and tedious inquiries and conversations? Instead, you can outsource this process so your clients are happy as well as your internal team. It can save you a significant amount of money in the long run and will make your team much happier and less stressed. They'll have additional bandwidth to spend on other tasks.
6. Better Brand Awareness and Professional Reputation
Business growth hinges on many factors, and reputation and brand awareness are common examples. How you approach this topic depends on your business model. For example, are you a B2B business? In this case, you might spend more time and energy on cold call email campaigns than a B2C business would. The underlying factor in how you build your reputation is the strength of your customer service team.
The lens through which your customers view your overall experience will directly impact this facet of your brand. If you're operating with a customer-centric approach of constantly being available to customers, you're proving to them that you prioritize assistance above all else. Answering queries immediately can help showcase your commitment and high level of service outside of normal operating hours.
7. Advanced Time Zones Flexibility
You can't expect your in-house team to interact with customers when they contact you outside of business hours. What if someone in a different time zone reaches out hoping to connect to an agent? If you have a global market, you must be available around the clock. Your customers will see this as a huge benefit versus those who they have a difficult time reaching. It's easier for companies to establish themselves in an international market by immediately answering those who are reaching out from overseas.
8. Optimized Real-Time Support
Various points throughout the customer journey may require answers in real-time. For example, the customer might wait to decide whether or not to move forward with a purchase if they have a particular question. If no response is available, this will only create hurdles that make it more challenging for the consumer to convert. As a result, the consumer might turn to a competitor to make the purchase.
This is another example of how businesses can capitalize on constant customer support to help enhance the service experience. Even smaller companies need to do what they can to hear the voice of the customer and interact with them to achieve success. Depending on your business and your customer's needs, you can provide automated services such as chatbots. Others might need to invest in outsourcing these customer service teams to achieve success.
9. Enhanced Market Demand Alignment
If you're a company striving for global success, it means you need to understand the global rules. In the case of customer service, the global rules mean that you'll need to show up in front of as many customers as possible to ensure every lead feels supported. Why would a customer feel compelled to choose you if they cannot get ahold of you when needed? As more businesses continue to capitalize on technology and automation, there isn't a real reason that you can't compete with other global businesses and best practices and tap into customer service 24/7.
10. Quicker Issues Solving
All businesses make mistakes, but even after doing so, you'll want to provide a resolution for your customers as soon as possible. Customers have high expectations when it comes to finding a solution for their issue; after all, they are investing in your product and your brand. Even if your products are the best on the market, your reputation will quickly go downhill if it takes too long to solve customer inquiries. Do what you can to provide round-the-clock support to your customers so they see and feel the positive commitment you have to them.
11. Increased Sales
When you have a customer service channel that’s available 24/7, it also means that your sales channel is always open. Consider that every customer interaction is an opportunity to close a deal and make a sale. Even if the customer’s primary concern is to address their problem, they may still be open to the conversation going in a sales-oriented direction. For example, you can discuss how other products or services meet their needs or help them overcome the problem they set out to solve. The goal is to approach every interaction with the intention of closing a deal, an approach that will ultimately benefit your sales revenue.
Overcoming Obstacles: Common Challenges in Offering 24/7 Customer Service
Even though 24/7 customer service sounds ideal, it can come with a host of challenges that are difficult to overcome. We've outlined three examples of roadblocks you might encounter along the way.
Resource Limitations: Navigating Constraints to Provide Continuous Support
Customer support can utilize a lot of your business's resources, and resource limitations can impede your success. This is why a growing number of companies are relying on outsourcing this area of their business as it is an affordable way to boost your customer effort score. It's important to find a third-party provider that offers affordable price rates so you can continue to maximize your profits without detracting from quality.
Time Zone Differences: Meeting Customer Needs Across Continents
Offering constant customer support means that your in-house team would be forced to work unfeasible hours. If you want to be accessible across time zones, you'll need someone always available, leading to scheduling difficulties and staff shortages. Consider the strain this would place on a smaller company. Investing in a third-party resource can help your business stay connected without the excess strain on your internal team.
Prioritizing Security: Balancing Protection and Accessibility in Customer Service
Regardless of the type of company you operate, you're dealing with sensitive customer data. This can lead to security risks if it isn't monitored and stored properly. In the case that you need to address security risks at the moment, you must have the right technology partner who values security. This peace of mind benefits not only you but your customers as well.
Alternative Strategies for Meeting Customer Needs Beyond 24/7 Support
Even though round-the-clock service sounds ideal, it isn't needed for every business. There are alternatives that you can consider to ensure that your customers have a positive experience with your company:
- Consider implementing self-support options such as an FAQ site on your page that outlines the most common questions that your company gets. Similarly, you can build a support forum where customers can ask and respond to questions.
- Extend your support availability on certain days, but not daily.
- Focus on reducing your average resolution time so your team can handle additional tickets when they're available.
Need Round-the-Clock Support? Hit Rate Solutions Can Assist You!
There are many advantages of always being available to help your customers. It can yield a sense of loyalty and improve customer retention and conversion rates. Plus, outsourcing this service alleviates stress from your internal team and offers additional flexibility for your customers to reach you.
Hit Rate Solutions is proud to provide customer service 24 hours a day on behalf of your company. If you're ready to move forward, we're happy to calculate a personalized quote so you have an idea of what your costs will be. To learn more about our services and how we can assist you in providing top-tier services, contact us today.