Why You Should be Moving to 24-Hour Customer Care
Coronavirus means it’s more important than ever to move to a 24-hour operation.
June 23rd, 2020
Your customer care team needs to be available all the time, whenever your customers want them to be. But during the Covid-19 crisis, we’ve noticed that some companies have been reducing their operating and customer care hours. It’s understandable why this is happening; staff are working from home or else working whilst social distancing, many staff are still in the limbo that is furlough, and companies as a whole are suffering financially and looking to cut costs.
But this pandemic only makes the need to move to 24-hour customer service even more apparent. Here’s why.
Why You Should be Making the Switch
As we said, people are more connected than ever. In 2020, there are as many as 3.5 billion smartphone users; that’s nearly half the people in the world (around 44%). And the UK has the highest smartphone penetration in the world at 82.9%.
With so much of your customer base having access to your brand 24/7, it’s important to be available to them when they want you to be. It’s no longer odd to do some quick browsing before bed, or even to talk to customer support in the morning, again on your lunch break, and again on the way home. As a brand, you need to be there all the time to cater to this shift in mindset.
Let’s take an example client of ours, client A. Their busiest hours, like many retailers, are between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. but that doesn’t mean they don’t also have customers contacting the department during the wee hours. Between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., they still see an average of over 200 contacts an hour. That’s over 1000 contacts you could be missing just overnight. And missed contacts aren’t something to be sniffed at, because customers are now expecting more from their customer care journey.
Over 80% of your customers want a response to an email or social media message within an hour, whilst 30% expect a reply within just 15 minutes. With customers becoming so attuned to what they want from their customer service experience, it’s becoming detrimental to ignore those wishes. According to Microsoft, 47% of customers will actually consider switching brands if their customer service needs aren’t met. So, the question becomes “can you afford to not switch to 24-hour customer care?”
But What About During Coronavirus?
The situation is understandably more difficult during this pandemic that we’re currently facing. With less staff or staff working from home, coupled with the need to socially distance, it makes sense that office hours are being cut across many industries.
And, on top of that, there’s the financial impact of the pandemic. With companies struggling, the cost of hiring more staff or moving your customer care to 24/7 may seem unsurmountable. But, whilst the cost may not be as high as you perceive (more on that later), the benefit of providing your customers with what they want is undeniable. The more you keep your customers satisfied, the more likely it is they’ll buy from you again, and a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as cutting costs by 10%.
And, during this pandemic, your customer support services should be as accessible as possible. It is an uncertain time for businesses and customers alike; the news and rules are changing daily at the moment. With people unsure of what they can and can’t do, they will be reaching out to you more than they ever have been. Can they meet the delivery person? How will they sign for a delivery? When will items be back in stock? In all likelihood, you’ve already seen a spike in contact volumes for these kinds of questions. Cutting down on your availability now will only leave customers frustrated and less satisfied with your service. If you can shine now, during a global pandemic, you could win over some new loyal customers.
All of this is especially true for certain industries. With so many people out of work, money is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Any industry that deals with finance – from banks to financial advisers to insurance firms – is incredibly important right now. Your clients will be feeling uncertain, and possibly even worried or scared. If you can be there for them 24/7, you can help allay some of those fears and keep things moving smoothly along. As we said earlier, customers are more than happy to switch brands due to bad customer service interactions, so don’t leave your customers in the dark!
How to Implement 24-Hour Customer Care
So how do you go about increasing your hours with social distancing still in effect? It’s not like you can have a crowded room full of your customer care advisors at the moment. Whilst this is true, it doesn’t stop your advisors from working remotely.
This is where technology really shines. If you need a live channel, webchat is a fantastic alternative. Webchat works in real-time and so can be just as effective as telephony. All your advisors need is a computer/laptop and a WiFi connection. By utilising channels like social media or webchat, you can move your entire operation to home without having to worry about providing the often-clunky equipment that comes along with telephony. And that leaves all that office space for your current telephony team to socially distance.
Hiring and Training
And, with so many people out of work, employing temporary staff has never been easier. Easy enough to say, right? But what about training? We recommend you use software like Gnatta to help you train. Gnatta can provide notes and reminders to the advisors that you have written at specific times that you’ve chosen. So, you can be there every step of every interaction for new advisors without having to constantly check-up or provide lengthy one-on-one training.
Consider the Future
The great thing about this is that once you’ve moved your operation to the living room, you can move forward however you want. And that’s essential when we don’t really know how long this situation will continue.
Your temporary staff can become permanent once the pandemic is over. But if the rules stay in place for longer than you expect, you'll be a dab hand at hiring remote workers. And, with that, you’re looking at a pool that is country-wide rather than city-wide. Remote working means you can truly find the best person for that role. So, even once Coronavirus is gone, it’s still one to consider.
Outsource to Reduce Costs
And don’t forget, you can always outsource your labour. Hiring an expert team like FM Outsource, who are already using expert technology like Gnatta, means you don’t have to worry about a thing.
All your labour will be covered, and your customers will be looked after. Outsourcing means the team you pick are already fully trained, familiar with the software they’ll be using, and come with all the necessary equipment. All you need to do is introduce them to your brand.
And unsurprisingly, outsourcing your labour can often be cheaper than changing your operation in-house. Don't believe us? Try out our transformation calculator to see how much money we could be saving you.
Integrate Useful Technology
Lastly, consider leaning on technology a little more. “Chatbot” sounds like a bit of tech that’s depersonalised and clunky but the technology for bots is improving constantly. Their ability to recognise and learn language, make their own (correct) decisions, know when to hand over to a human, and their super-fast response times make them a perfect choice during Coronavirus and after. They can answer all your FAQs and gather important data so the advisor doesn’t have to. With bots working alongside your advisors, you can cut down on both contact volumes and resolution times.
Being available when your customers need you is always a good idea; the facts are that customers are expecting more from brands and are more willing to switch if they’re not satisfied. And during a global pandemic, those same customers are worried, confused, and sometimes frustrated. They need fantastic customer care 24/7 to help ail their fears and concerns. If you’d like to chat more about how to introduce more hours into your operation, contact us here.