There are plenty of reasons why your business should invest in delivering exceptional customer experiences. While a survey by PwC reveals that nearly a third or 32% of customers will walk away from a brand after one bad experience, insights from KPMG suggest that companies must excel across several pillars of customer experience to reap the financial benefits of loyalty and advocacy.
In a competitive market, the speed of response times and offering omnichannel options to engage with customers is becoming increasingly vital as expectations change in a highly digitalised post-pandemic world. The report by PwC also identifies that speed and convenience are now the most important elements of a positive customer experience for as many as 80% of consumers.
Unsurprisingly, if your customers can only access support during the usual nine-to-five office hours, you’re probably not doing enough to stand out in the market. Right now, the type of businesses most likely to thrive with high customer retention rates and repeat business will be those that give their customers fast and efficient support exactly when they need it and via the most convenient channel.
Benefits of out of hours support
Offering out of hours, 24/7 support can bring many benefits to your business. Giving customers the option to seek help or advice at any time of the day and around their busy schedules can drive customer satisfaction which leads to more word-of-mouth recommendations and ultimately, improves profitability. Out of hours customer service support is also advantageous for businesses operating in multiple geographical locations because every customer experiences a consistent level of service no matter what time zone they’re in.
The different ways to support customers out of hours
Customers are engaging with companies in more ways than ever before, from using traditional channels to the growing number of digital platforms accessible through phones and computers. Your customers’ preferences for how they interact with your business might depend on a variety of factors including their age and demographic, the industry you’re in, the products you sell, and how your customers have chosen to transact with your business – whether it be online or in-person. Fortunately, you can support your customers outside routine office hours in several ways to deliver a customer service experience that excels in the modern world.
- Inbound call answering: Phone calls are easily the most traditional customer service channel, but they’ll always have a place with the ability to offer more personalised human connections. Often suited to more complex types of support or queries, it’s an easy channel that cuts across the generations and can sometimes deliver faster resolutions than lengthy email exchanges.
- Social media customer service: Many of your customers are likely to spend time participating in discussions via social media, which means some people may default to engaging with your brand through your own social platforms. Importantly, comments or queries posted in real time on social media should always be dealt with promptly to give a positive impression of your brand or to avoid reputational damage caused by negative comments.
- Live chat support: By combining the speed and real time nature of phone calls with the convenience of email, live chat support is a highly effective method for offering out of hours support. With the potential to boost sales and resolve issues faster, customers benefit from a proactive and personalised customer service experience at times when a call simply isn’t convenient. Meanwhile, your staff will find it easier to handle more than one query at the same time.
- Email: Not every customer needs a response to their query on the spot, nor will they always have time to engage in a complete end-to-end conversation with customer service staff, which is why some will prefer to shoot off an email and wait for the response. Out of hours email support ensures your team can turn around responses quickly while preventing a backlog of emails to be dealt with during standard business hours.
How outsourcing is a cost-effective solution
Boosting your in-house or onshore resources to offer the gold standard of customer service experience, especially if it’s through 24/7 support, can be cost prohibitive for most companies. Outsourcing your out of hours support to the right location, however, could give your company affordable access to highly talented and experienced customer service professionals right around the clock.
For example, the Philippines is one of the most popular outsourcing locations with a growing number of BPO companies offering 24/7 customer support services to Australian businesses. Over many years, the country has developed a highly attuned talent pool of customer service professionals who work in some of the world’s most advanced facilities using sophisticated tech and have an affinity for Australian customers and culture.
By engaging the talent and omnichannel capabilities of a reputable outsourcing provider, your business is likely to quickly increase customer satisfaction while driving down the costs associated with customer service recruitment, local salaries, training, technology and equipment. With your existing and prospective customers able to access support at any time they like, your business could experience a boost to revenue through an uptick in sales and repeat business. It’s a win-win.
Types of out of hours customer service roles that can be outsourced
- Live chat management: If a customer decides to instigate a conversation with your business through live chat on your website or social platforms, this could prompt a person outside your organisation to quickly pick up the discussion in a friendly way. Responsible for directing customers to appropriate resolutions, escalating issues and keeping customer contact records up to date, outsourcing dedicated chat management specialists is a cost-effective way to meet the needs and expectations of customers on demand.
- Customer service representative: As a first point of contact, some of the broader responsibilities of a customer service representative include handling queries, complaints, providing information around products and services and processing order requests. Customer service representatives can engage with customers via multiple channels including social media, phone, email and are responsible for managing the company CRM database.
- Inbound sales support: Helping your business to grow while you focus on more strategic endeavours, outsourcing inbound sales support roles will give your company more capability and resources when it comes to responding to potential customers and supporting them through the sales process. Outsourced inbound sales support can improve customer retention while their expert knowledge and relationship building skills will support sales targets by converting warm leads into closed sales.
Now you know all the reasons to prioritise out of hours support for your customers, you can learn how to develop a best practice approach to customer service.