How to Offer 24/7 Support for Customers
Modern customers desire immediate and convenient service. They don’t want to wait long (if at all), so delivering a fast, easy, and helpful customer service experience is key to the success of any business. Today’s customers expect 24/7 care and support from many access points. Many companies use chatbots, social media, and contact centers, just to name a few, as access points and ways to deliver 24/7 care.
Technologies like VoIP, AI chatbots, and automation have made it significantly easier for businesses to support their customers around the clock. Below, we review some of the best ways to provide 24/7 support to your client base, including the best tools and strategies to deliver it.
What is 24/7 Support?
Simply put, 24/7 support is defined by providing your customer base with live assistance at any time. Companies can fulfill this promise in several ways:
- Over the Phone: Inbound calls are directed to live customer service representatives who can assist customers' inquiries over the phone in real-time.
- Live Chat Functions: Customer support representatives and tech support agents can assist customers via the business’s website or social media chat functions, or SMS messaging.
- Self-Service Support includes knowledge-based articles, FAQs, and video tutorials that can assist customers without interacting with an agent.
- AI-powered Chatbots: These are not physically powered by human agents. Instead, they are pre-programmed to answer top questions and inquiries and save human agents time to focus on more complex customer service projects.
Businesses can combine more than one of these ways to provide 24/7 support. Mixing support services can maximize efficiency and enhance your customer experience without going over budget.
Why Should My Business Offer 24/7 Support?
Offering around-the-clock support sounds incredibly overwhelming and like a massive task to take on, especially if your team is smaller and still growing. However, there are a few fundamental reasons it may be worth the investment to have it in place.
#1. Minimize Workload on Your Customer Support Team
Filling up each hour of the day seems like adding stress, not limiting it. With 24/7 support, your team no longer has to begin each day with unhappy customers and troubleshooting tickets from the previous day.
Instead, 24/7 support changes your entire company’s culture from reactive to proactive. With less heated inquiries each day, and customers turning to other communication routes, your representatives can focus on more complex tasks and provide the best customer service experience possible.
It is also worth noting that by tackling issues head-on, as they come up, your customer support team can identify issues far before they escalate.
#2. More Customers, More Revenue
The same tools that you will use to offer 24/7 support can also improve sales, boost revenue, and gain more customers that may have otherwise been abandoned as leads.
Prospective customers browsing your website may be doing so outside of regular business hours, yet they may want to talk to someone from your team. If you don’t have any form of support available, you may lose potential customers to a competitor offering round-the-clock support.
In 2019, Forbes reported that chatbots could increase sales by 67% and save your team hundreds of thousands of dollars in IT support costs. These bots are programmed by your experienced staff and can teach them exactly what to say and do when trying to capture a lead.
#3. Meet Ever Growing Customer Expectations
It's probably not a surprise that response time is the most important part of the entire customer service experience. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most challenging parts for businesses. Failing to offer around-the-clock support could mean that your company is not offering a fully satisfying customer experience. If the customer experience is poor, customers will switch to a competitor, and your customer will be gone for good. Stay up to date with your customer's expectations and needs and communicate with them constantly.
Steps to 24/7 Support
Your business can quickly and easily move to unlimited customer support with these tools readily available. However, providing an excellent customer experience entails far more than just software and training. The following steps can assist your business in providing ample support to your new and existing customer base.
#1. Listen and Adapt to Your Customer’s Needs
Not every single company needs 24/7 support, but there is no doubt that customers love a quick response time. This is a significant reason why many companies invest in tools to offer around-the-clock support.
Before making big decisions, start by assessing and examining your customer's needs. Find out what they like, don’t like, and what they would like to see from your business; find out exactly what you need to do to increase customer satisfaction. Analyze phone number abandonment rates and see if you need to scale your customer service team.
There are two common situations where it is necessary to provide 24/7 support:
- You have global customers: Customers expect to get assistance when working. Having support in time zones all around the world is critical. When calls are often occurring outside of your local office or base office, it is a good idea to integrate 24/7 support.
- Your Business is Essential: If your business offers an essential service, then your customers need to have access to your team at any time. Your customer contracts may need a faster response due to emergencies and other urgent issues.
Other than these two scenarios, offering 24/7 support gives your business a competitive edge. The faster your team can help your customers, the more loyalty you build within your customer base.
#2. Find the Balance Between Self-Service and Live Support
Every one of your customers is unique in how they like to engage with your support teams. However, most customers prefer self-service opportunities for simple tasks and questions. They also would rather not spend tons of time waiting for one question to be answered in a call queue. Not every customer wants to talk to a live agent.
Finding the appropriate balance between self-service opportunities and live agent availability is crucial. If you cannot fully invest in a 24/7 contact center or add more agents, it may be a good idea to increase your number of self-serve options. For more common inquiries, it could be beneficial to add a form online for your customers.
#3. Use Omni Channel Platforms to Your Advantage
Omni channel contact centers allow agents to handle inquiries over the phone, email, SMS messaging, and social media. As your business grows and transitions to 24/7 support, your customer support staff will be able to access all channels in one simple platform. This benefit is incredible for both your clients and staff. Customers will no longer need to repeat themselves to each person they interact with on your team. Having a centralized platform for your customer information is critical.
#4. Use Time Zones to Your Advantage
As we mentioned above, if you receive many calls outside of your regular operating hours and have global clients, implementing 24/7 support may be a good investment.
Typically, having agents available worldwide means that you can employ remote workers. In today’s climate, this is coveted and can maximize your talent pool. There are many long-term benefits for your team members and customers when there are flexible working arrangements. Having a support team worldwide offers maximum opportunities to assist customers. Smaller businesses can benefit from having just three remote support agents located in North America, Europe, and Asia. This small-scale investment can make a huge difference.
Simplicity Business VoIP communication solutions allow your team to work from where they are, whether at home, the office, or anywhere else!
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