Let’s be honest. Customers can be mean. According to an article in the New York Times, American consumers are devolving into children who take out their anger on customer service personnel. Inbound customer service represents the nexus between what consumers experience and what they think they are entitled to. When experience and entitlement do not match, customer service receives the full force of their anger and frustration.
This situation comes as no surprise to any organization that offers inbound customer services. Customers who were perfectly happy using live chat, email, or self-service options 12 months ago now feel they should speak with a person. HubSpot reports that the average hold time for an inbound customer call is 13 minutes. However, the average consumer becomes frustrated after two to three minutes on hold. The result is a conversation that begins at the nexus between expectation and reality.
Given the changing dynamics of inbound customer services, organizations are looking for ways to maintain that “frictionless” experience that consumers have come to expect. At the same time, companies face resource limitations and supply chain disruptions that add friction to the customer experience. In today’s business environment, outsourcing inbound customer services has multiple benefits, including reduced costs, increased productivity, and improved customer experiences.
The top challenge for those operating inbound or outbound customer services facilities in 2022 is labor. Although 69% of companies plan to expand their workforce, 74% are expecting difficulty attracting and keeping qualified staff. Most are expecting flat business performance over the next 12 months. Organizations with in-house inbound customer services may find their labor costs increasing as they struggle to fill open positions as more people join the Great Resignation trend.
Outsourcing inbound customer services can optimize the cost associated with new hires. Training alone can be expensive as more intensive methods are needed to handle consumers’ poor behavior. Most companies plan to pay more or offer incentives to acquire staff. These expenditures do not include the added costs in human resources and management time for recruitment.
With more businesses delivering omnichannel inbound customer services, they need people who can operate a call center, respond to live chat requests, and answer emails. Without sufficient personnel, companies either pay for overtime or fail to meet customer expectations. Outsourcing to a provider such as Millennial Services eliminates costs associated with hiring and training staff to support omnichannel delivery.
Improve Return on Investment
Meeting customer expectations has become more difficult when it comes to response times. Almost 90% of customers want an “immediate response” to their request. Although times vary by channel, 60% of respondents believe 10 minutes is the maximum they should wait for a response. Businesses that cannot deliver on that metric are more likely to lose customers.
Approximately, 50% of customers will switch companies after one bad experience and 80% will do business with a competitor after more than one bad experience. Losing customers not only means lost revenue, but it also means added costs to acquire a new customer. Depending on the industry, it can be 25% more expensive to attract a new customer.
Without adequate resources, organizations cannot meet the response time expectations of their customers. While customers will accept one poor experience, multiple bad experiences will cost any company a customer. Outsourcing inbound customer services means having the resources to ensure that clients receive the timely response they are expecting. It means receiving a better return on your investment dollars through better customer retention.
As companies struggle to fill the expanding roles of inbound customer services, they often rely on existing employees to take on added roles. They may not intend to have employees do double duty, but with labor shortages, the short-term solutions become permanent. As people struggle to meet the increasing demands of their multiple functions, they become less productive and reach burnout faster.
Outsourcing inbound customer services such as live chat and social media responses can free existing staff to focus on higher-value tasks. They have more time to devote to improving the customer experience and less stress when dealing with today’s customers. A better-balanced work environment creates a corporate culture that encourages employees to be productive.
Inbound customer services training is essential to increased productivity. New techniques and new technologies can reduce the time an individual spends addressing a customer’s concern. Without training, people struggle to use new technologies, which can lead to slower response times and longer time to resolution. When employees struggle to use technology, they become less productive. Outsourced services have trained staff in all inbound customer services channels to maintain cost-effective productivity.
Improve Customer Experience
Providing exceptional customer experiences has become more challenging as Americans struggle to accept that reality may not match their expectations. Consumers have become less tolerant of supply chain disruptions. They are more likely to complain if an item is not available or there is a long lead time. Well-trained personnel can help diffuse such confrontational moments to minimize the risk of a poor customer experience.
Training live-chat personnel on how to communicate via a messaging app can improve the customer experience. As with phone conversations, the way content is presented has a lot to do with how the interaction is perceived. Many companies do not have the resources to ensure adequate training is available to all personnel. Outsourcing inbound customer services ensures that individuals are prepared to connect with customers where they are.
Although inbound customer services cannot make products appear on shelves, they can make a bad experience better. A 2020 study found that 80% of consumers were willing to forgive a poor customer experience if the customer service team was very good. If organizations do not have the resources to maintain an exceptional in-house customer service team, outsourcing may be the perfect solution.
Outsourcing inbound customer services to Millennial Services creates a well-trained extension of your organization that delivers the best services regardless of the channel. Whether it is answering phone calls or responding to emails, Millennial Services has the capability to meet consumers where they are. Their team of professionals understands the changing landscape of inbound customer services.