Article : Are You still Doing Business in the Old Way?
Some key decisions taken for business, define the lifelong growth of the business.
Are you still running your business from 9 AM to 5 PM? If yes, then just have a look at the world around you. Yes, the world has changed, and so are the people who live in this world. They want quick response at their own convenient time. However, are you aware of this change? Have you responded to this change? These are the questions, which demand your answers at this hour.
Today's reality is, your business needs to answer the call even after 5 PM. Customers should be able to reach your business even after business hours. If you are going to ignore this reality for long, then there are chances that your business might not sustain in a longer run. The business might have fixed business hours but customers clearly don't have. Have you seen a buyer going to a store, only to see the CLOSED board hanging on the door? How disappointed he feels when he sees that CLOSED board. He might just feel that his day is wasted, as he has failed to make into the shop on time. Your customer feels the same when they want to contact you after business hours.
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Take the incremental approach
There is no doubt that after-hours support is a requirement for a business. But wait, simply don't jump into it. Before you integrate after-hours support into your business, you need to consider multiple things. For example, what type of after-hours support is required for your business? Do you have the required resources for extending the support? Lastly, do you have a roadmap for implementing this transition? These are some of the important questions, which will help you to determine the kind of support required your business. Transitioning your business for round the clock support could be an extremely difficult task. Hence, take an incremental approach.
So, now you have a 9/5 support. Initially, you can move to 12/5 support. Then 16/5 support and gradually to 24/5 support, and finally to 24//7 support. Most of the businesses adopt this approach, no matter they have an inhouse call center or outsourced support. At every increment, you need to evaluate the results. For example, you need to check whether the call volume can be handled within the extended hours. If yes you don't extend the support further if no then you have to extend the support. Ultimately, after every increment, the support will become 24/7 which is the maximum capacity. What else you benefit from this approach?
First thing is, you come to know how much-extended support is required for your business. Secondly, it allows you to plan the cost for each stage. Lastly, it allows you to prepare a realistic roster as per workforce requirement. It is true that all businesses don't require 24/7 support. A business in the IT sector and the healthcare sector might require 24/7 support. However, a business in the FMCG sector might need only 12/5 support.
Afterhours support is good for your business, but unutilized capacity will simply lead to escalating costs. Just imagine a situation, where the majority of your staffs have logged in a time of 9 hours, while their ACD time is only 3 hours. That means your staffs are productive only for 3 hours, while the rest of the 6 hours they remain idle. But you pay them for 9 hours or the contact center to which you have outsourced the support will bill you for a complete 9 hours. In this case, the value of the cost benefit is not realized.
Hence, we would say adopt an incremental approach, analyze your requirements and move on to the next level. The transition to 24/7 support from 9/5 support is not at linear, as it might appear initially. In practice, if you extend your support from 9/5 to 24/7 instantly, it might increase the cost of support straightaway by 60 to 100 percent, in one single opportunity.
How can you start your after-hours support instantly?
You have finally taken a big decision. You have decided to move on with the changing times. But you don't have cost as well as a resource available to extend the support. So, what do you do in this situation?
Well, there is a certain thing you can do in this situation. At least, it is always better to have something rather than having nothing. Primarily, you can start by extending the support for a few selected products and services. Maybe it will be a good idea to start with premium products and B2B services, with limited resources and cost. Then gradually you can extend the product portfolio for after-hours support, once the cost of the support along with resources is available. Often, this has been considered as an easy approach to start with, and it has maximum cost benefits. Also, customers will readily pay for after-hours support, for premium products and B2B services.
You can also extend the support for minimal hours, till the time you can afford a complete after hours support system. For example, you can extend the business hours by one or two hours. However, don't make the mistake of outsourcing support to a different language contact center. You might be tempted to do this, as a makeshift arrangement. As per a report published by the European Commission, 42 percent of consumers clearly agreed that have never purchased any products, who provides support in other languages.
Initially, you can start with non-voice support, if resources and costs are a problem for you. Do you know non-voice support is much cheaper than voice process? A web chat costs only $5 per chat, similarly email costs $ 2.5 per email. However, a call costs around $8, and if it is a technical call then it is going to cost $12. Moreover, with limited resources, you can manage a high volume of emails and chats since one agent can handle multiple chats or emails at the same time.
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About 31 West Global Services:
31West, a 24/7 Call Center Outsourcing Company, who've been serving small & medium businesses in the US for the past 17 years, has a USP of low price services and after hours coverage
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