Top 5 ways to turn your service center into a profit center in 2016
The financial impact of customer service is very real. In fact, 71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service (KISSmetrics). So why are service and support departments typically thought of as cost centers instead of profit centers? How do you–once and for all–turn that idea on its head and finally prove to the C-suite that the value of your department translates directly into dollars?
One big barrier to doing so is that many companies place greater focus on acquiring new business than retaining existing customers. There are many sales-driven organizations out there and frankly, a new sale is sexier than boring, old, repeat buyers. Many companies don’t accurately measure repeat business or the lifetime value of customers at all.
Newer isn’t better.
It’s been proven time and time again that the value of loyal customers exceeds that of new ones. According to the Gartner Group, 80 percent of future profits will come from just 20 percent of your existing customers. That means service and support departments are your most powerful weapons in the battle for revenue. Keep customers satisfied and loyal, and you earn more–without even looking beyond your own four walls.
Stranger still is that 82% of companies agree that retention is cheaper to execute than acquisition, according to an eConsultancy report. So why the bad rap? Your department should share the spotlight with sales as an invaluable money-making machine. Even if it’s a dotted line to revenue, it’s still a very real line that needs to be acknowledged and enhanced.
Turn customer feedback into profit.
Service and support departments are on the frontlines. You handle real customer questions and problems every single day. Your challenge is to translate these insights into quantifiable data points that can be reported on and shared across the organization to continually prove value, drive improvements, and let’s face it, provide the recognition you deserve as a key contributor to the company’s ongoing success.
Jim Bush, Executive Vice President at American Express World Service, was quoted as saying: “There are many who subscribe to the convention that service is a business cost, but our data demonstrates that superior service is an investment that can help drive business growth.” (And not to toot our own horn, but American Express uses Clicktools for customer feedback).
Five powerful ways to transform your service center into a profit center:
- Improve overall customer experience. The number one financial effect of your department is its impact on the overall customer experience. This should always be top of mind as you build processes that engage customers. By collecting and responding to feedback at key points, such as immediately after a support case closes, you assure customers that you care about their needs–and their satisfaction scores go up.
- Increase retention of customers and employees. This is a huge cost savings for the organization. As mentioned, existing customers are more valuable than new ones, and the same goes for staff. It’s more expensive to recruit and hire new talent than it is to keep your best players. With a feedback solution that makes processes simpler and interactions more meaningful, everyone’s happier and no one wants to leave.
- Increase agent productivity. It may seem counterintuitive, but you’ll actually increase customer loyalty by automating feedback collection. When you automate interactions that don’t require human intervention, your agents can focus on making meaningful customer engagements. Automated channels should still offer personalization and other touches that please customers, but there’s no sense in wasting valuable agent time on things that don’t require one-on-one communication.
- Decrease operational costs. Reduce the perception of being a budget drain by showing how automated feedback channels are saving your company money. This may mean consolidation of systems, release of outsourced resources, or strategic integrations that extract additional value from existing investments, such as CRM.
- Implement closed-loop management. Automating your whole service cycle under one system gives you the control you need to perform intelligent analysis and make smarter decisions for the company’s bottom line. Report on key metrics such as customer satisfaction, agent productivity, and call resolution in real time with built-in dashboards, charts, and reporting.