8 Stats About Live Customer Service in 2019

Whoa! 2019 is already just about half-way done, which brings with it the end of the second decade in the 2000’s. In the call center industry, the latter part of the 2010’s decade will remembered for live customer service disruption with the introduction of AI in our everyday lives. For businesses, that disruption had led to shifts in how live customer service is approached, and how artificial intelligence and human intelligence can both play a role in a customers journey. Businesses realized that robots have a cost-saving front end role, but that people are more necessary than ever to build brand loyalty and create sticky customers.

To build better relationships, businesses understand that customers want to be served on their schedule. However, the cost of customer service is always on the small businesses mind. More specifically, how to reduce that cost while still keeping customers happy.

For the best customer service imaginable, a business can have an in-house team of experts available 24/7 to respond to sales and customer service requests, but unless you’re selling the service equivalent of diamonds and gold on a monthly recurring revenue basis, the cost-justification for in-house live agents working around the clock just won’t be there. That’s where AI bridges the gap. AI can certainly play an important, affordable customer service role. It’s there, it’s cheap, and it’s going to answer basic questions customers have. But, statistics about customer service still show that live interactions and real human contact create loyal customers. Where AI can lead to frustration of it’s alone on customer service island, AI + live agents make customers happier. Here are 8 statistics about the state of customer service today to show that live interactions are still an important part of a customers experience.

1. Customers are willing to spend 17% more with companies that deliver excellent service. (American Express)

Offering a great product is only half the battle when it comes to running a successful business. The other half is delivering excellent service to your customers. For small businesses with a limited budget, it can be difficult to make sure your customers are getting the absolute best service, simply because they don’t have the manpower or resources to accommodate everyone.

If you find that your own business is struggling in this department, outsourcing to a call center is an affordable way to help get the job (or jobs) done. Call centers offer your customers 24/7 live support, and can help take on many of the same tasks your in-house staff may be bogged down with, like capturing and converting leads, scheduling appointments, processing payments, answering questions and walking customers through basic troubleshooting. When you are able to hand off some of these tasks to your call center that would otherwise eat up a lot of time and energy  in-house, your employees can be more attentive to your customers and can focus on delivering the level of service that sets you apart from other brands.

2. 67% of customers reported hanging up on an automated system out of frustration at not being able to reach a live person. (Glance)

How many times have you found yourself yelling at a company’s automated system when reaching out for assistance? Probably too many times, and 67% of customers have been in the same boat. Automated systems can be great, but they do have some flaws which can be less than desirable to deal with, especially for customers who are in need of immediate assistance.

If your company is using an auto attendant to help alleviate the amount of inbound calls your employees have to handle, but your customers are none too happy about using it, then call centers offer a superior communication solution. They can help cut down on the amount of work your in-house staff have to worry about, while assuring that your callers have a live voice to talk to no matter when they call. With a call center, your customers know they don’t have to go through IVR hell, and you know that your customers are no longer hanging up out of frustration, which is great for you, your customers and your business.

3. 54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to 1 year ago. (Microsoft)

In order for your business to stay relevant and to keep customers happy, you need to think big and get creative. For example, if your business caters to a younger audience, you’ll want to use channels like live chat and email in addition to phone support. If your target audience includes older generations, you’ll want to make sure your customer support team is easily accessible and that a live voice is always present. Technology can be confusing for older generations, so making your customers navigate an auto attendant will only make the process more frustrating. The problem for small businesses is that it can be expensive to grow every communication channel at once. Call centers can help.

Cater to your customers higher expectations by leveraging call center services to open up every customer service channel. Routing your after hours or overflow calls to a call center is an affordable way to open up new communication channels without breaking the bank. Most centers will offer email response and live chat in addition to live operator support. Good news for you is that instead of investing a ton in these technologies, you’re (most likely) only paying per minute of use.

4. 82% of consumers say that getting the problem solved quickly is the #1 factor in a great customer service experience. (LivePerson)

When customers reach out with an issue, they want to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible, which is why many businesses put an emphasis on First Call Resolution, or FCR for short. When customers have to wait long periods of time to speak with someone, to have their issue fixed, or both, they become more frustrated and less likely to stick around the next time they experience an issue.

Instead of leaving your customers waiting, outsourcing your customer support to a call center can help alleviate queues and speed up the troubleshooting process. For simple requests like password resets or needing to update appointment details, your call center agents should be able to handle those without needing to take a message or transfer the caller to your support staff. For more complex issues, your call center reps can start support tickets via CRM or help desk systems that you’re already using, which means your employees don’t have to worry about wasting time doing double the work.

5. 33% of customers who abandoned a business relationship last year did so because personalization was lacking. (Accenture)

As a business owner, catering to your customers should be a top priority. Personalizing the customer experience is a great way to set your brand apart from your competition. When customers feel connected to your company, you are able to maintain and maximize customer loyalty. Here are some great ways to get personal:

  • Hire a call center and offer your customers 24/7 live support
  • Send hand-written letters thanking customers for their business
  • Visit with customers face to face
  • Learn their language! If your customers speak Spanish, outsourcing to a bilingual call center can help bridge the communication gap.
  • Add pictures of your team to  your website so customers can familiarize themselves with your staff
  • Interact with customers on social media
  • Celebrate your anniversary with customers by sending them merchandise or gifts annually

6. The #1 reason customers say they dislike calling companies is not being able to talk to a real person immediately. (Newvoicemedia.com)

In an effort to streamline support, more and more companies are implementing the use of auto attendants to cut down on live talk time and allow customers to help themselves. However, automated support can feel robotic and impersonal, which is frustrating for many customers who just want to talk to a live person.

If your company does choose to use an auto attendant, make sure your customers are able to talk to a live voice without having to jump through hoops. Instead of having them listen to a bunch of options, with “press 9 to speak to an operator” at the end, make it one of the first few choices to avoid confusion and frustration. If your customers happen to choose a self-help option, you should also make it easy for them to re-route to an operator at any time throughout their interaction if they happen to change their mind.

7. The more complex the customer service issue (for example payment disputes or complaints) the more likely customers are to seek out a real person on the phone. (Comm100)

While auto attendants or virtual receptionists can be helpful for simple requests like finding out a company’s business hours, activating a credit card or checking the balance on an account, more complex customer service requests and issues should always be handled by a live person. Real humans trained in your business’s complex interactions can listen to and understand what the customer is saying, show empathy and acknowledge their concern, all while helping to solve their issue.

A properly trained and dedicated call center agent will be able to solve most customer issues, and those they can’t, they can escalate the call and provide assurance that their concerns will be addressed as soon as possible. If they have urgent requests or issues, allowing your call center to transfer the customer directly to your support team will provide your customer with an added sense of comfort instead of having them leave a message and wait for a call back.

8. Globally, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand. (Microsoft)

You have a lot of competition, and customers have a lot of options. Obviously, your company has to offer a good enough product or service that will get people interested, but the secret sauce is in the customer service. If your support team is hard to get a hold of, unhelpful, or just plain rude, you’re going to have a hard time keeping customers on-board.

A  business that is able to provide customers with exceptional service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is a business that knows success. However, we know that most businesses, especially small start ups, don’t have the resources to be available around the clock, but they do if they’re using call centers. When working with a call center, it’s important to make sure the transition is as seamless as possible. Below are some of our tips to help ease the process:

  • Make sure to arm your call center with FAQs: The more questions your operators are able to answer, the more customers they can help, and the less calls you have to return.
  • Set up your call handling to match your in-house procedures as closely as possible: If your in-house agents are screening calls and handling new clients differently than existing clients, have your call center do that as well. When your business works in tandem with your call center, your customers are able to experience seamless and streamlined customer support.
  • Allow your call center to transfer callers: When scenarios come up that your call center agents are not able to help with, allowing them to transfer the caller to your in-house employees ensures that your customers are always receiving the greatest care and attention possible.

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