How to Turn Your Customer Support Center into a Profit Center
When businesses want to increase their revenue, getting more customers is an obvious place to start. But for many companies, improving customer support is the key to driving future revenue.
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of providing a positive customer experience. Customers who had the best past experiences spend 140 percent more compared to those who had the poorest past experience. At the same time, 86 percent of customers will cease patronizing a business because of a bad customer experience.
The data makes it clear that to increase profits, businesses must pay close attention to their customer support.
It’s easy to see why this is the case. For many companies, the customer support team has far more contact with any given customer than the sales team. And this contact happens at crucial moments, when a customer’s satisfaction is at stake.
But there’s more to support than simply keeping customer happy. When customers reach out to support with a problem, the support team has a unique opportunity to listen to their needs, identify solutions and provide them. Someone who is potentially ready to leave may actually need to buy more of what you offer.
So how do you turn a customer with a problem into a sale and maximize revenue growth? Start by reframing what support means.
Reframe the Definition of “Support”
Support agents are inherently individuals who like to help other people, and they often struggle with the concept of sales. While there are a lot of things that go into a profitable support center, two actions with the most impact are hiring the right people and training them the right way. In centers where sales activities are not an initial component of support, it is often difficult to change that mentality. The key to establishing a profit center is to hire right from the start with the understanding that sales is a component of the position. And the hiring process needs to be supported through training that reframes ‘sales’ as the ultimate form of helping a customer.
Agents who are hired with sales in mind and then educated on the benefits of the full product suite can then share that information with customers, knowing they are helping customers beyond just solving the reason for their initial contact. If you can show an agent how your full product suite can benefit customers, then selling those products is just another form of support, except this time it’s supporting your customers’ success in the marketplace.
Having a customer-centric business is one of the best ways to not only maintain current revenue but also increase it. When used effectively, customer support centers can both deliver strategic value and improve the bottom line. That’s why it’s important for businesses to think carefully about how customer support centers function and how they can be improved. Investing time and resources in this key area can mean increased profits for years to come.
Tackle Existing Problems
The first step is to evaluate your current practices and identify areas for improvement. For example, if you know that a new product is causing confusion among customers, or are aware of a hiccup in the billing process, address these issues proactively. This can help you save time and money while improving your customers’ experiences. Sending a newsletter that focuses on troubleshooting tips can be a big help to customers, along with creating a video or blog post that walks customers through correcting the issue. If you can share the same information with your customer support team, this will reduce both wait and call times.
Diversifying Touch Points
Your customers likely already have access to your business’s phone numbers and email addresses. But online chat support is a highly cost-effective medium and makes it easier for customers to reach you in real-time. Chat can also dramatically reduce wait times while still allowing direct contact. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, also present a unique opportunity to easily and cost-effectively serve customers. Learn more about these platforms in our article about improving customer service.
Make Support Part of Your Strategy
It’s common knowledge that long-term growth relies on keeping customers satisfied. This situates support centers as key players in ongoing success because they impact customer retention and advocacy. This also means that support centers are home to a large amount of valuable information: As a communication hub, support centers have a deep customer insights and data that you can use and share across your company to improve your offering, innovate your products and grow your business. Above all, stakeholders should position support centers as strategic assets that can provide value through an understanding of customer preferences and behaviors.
Is It Actually Possible to Turn Your Support Center into a Profit Center?
Short answer, yes.
Long answer, every company is a little different, requiring unique support approaches. Using support to keep customers happy, gain insights and improve your offering is possible for any technology company. Driving direct revenue through support is also possible for many technologies companies, but may look different from case to case — often depending on product and sales cycle. At GlowTouch Technologies, we’ve assisted companies in turning their support operations from cost centers into profit centers; generally our clients see roughly 250 percent ROI on average, but cases can range anywhere from roughly 100 to about 500 percent ROI. If you’re curious to see what kind of ROI we can provide you, fill out the form below, and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.