Can Customer Support Be a Profit Center?
Have you heard of customer support as a profit center? Are you wondering how that would work?
Imagine, for a moment, as a support leader you’re receiving requests from senior management to grow your team, rather than cut expenses.
Imagine your team isn’t viewed as just a necessary cost but rather as a source of revenue and growth for your company. Moreover, imagine doing all of that while improving customer satisfaction.
That’s what customer support as a profit center looks like. In other words, your customer support team could generate more revenue than it costs to employ the team. You can accomplish this seeming miracle by directly generating sales during support contacts, as well as generating leads that can be transferred to a traditional sales team.
The Math Behind Customer Support As A Profit Center
Let’s get to the details of how you can make customer support a profit center.
Let’s say you have a customer support team of 10 agents and a supervisor that costs $20,000 per month, fully loaded. Now, let’s say that team generates sales of $40,000 per month. That’s a profit center!
You are generating twice the revenue it costs to employ the team — a 200% ROI.
In reality, the benefits go beyond revenue, however. In the process of generating sales, the team also adds value by supporting your customers.
A Real-Life Case Study
Not sure how that works? Here’s a real-life example.
At GlowTouch, we’ve provided 24/7/365 live-chat customer support for a client in the web presence industry for more than 15 years. We handle both technical support and customer service for our client.
For many years, our team was viewed as just a necessary expense to handle our client’s customer support requirements.
A few years back, our client came to us and asked for ideas on how to cut cost without sacrificing the quality of customer service. We looked at all the usual operational metrics — handle time, occupancy, concurrency — but nothing stood out as a great opportunity. We needed to get creative.
Together with our client, we came up with a solution that did not require reducing the team or squeezing any metrics. Instead, we focused on offsetting the cost by bringing in additional revenue from customer contacts we were already working with.
Initially, we set a goal to try to offset costs by creating $1 in additional revenue for every contact we handled. As it turned out, we could do much better than that. Six years later, the customer care team consistently brings in more than $4/contact, and, just as importantly, they’ve also improved customer satisfaction.
It’s crucial to note that customer support is still job number one. We’re not talking about turning a customer care team into a sales team. Instead, we take a “soft sell” approach.
Customer Support As A Profit Center Is Entirely Doable!
In order to successfully transform your customer care center into a profit center, support agents should be trained to listen to and understand the underlying issue or problem being communicated, then provide the proper solution for the customer. While listening to customers and resolving their initial challenges, customer service agents can subtly shift the conversation and introduce an additional product or service.
When it’s done correctly, your customer should never notice that it happened. By resolving the initial reasons for contact first and providing solutions, you’re really providing an excellent customer experience. This builds trust with the agent. That trust becomes the basis for your customers listening to the soft sale, and your agents closing the sale.
At GlowTouch, we’ve gone through this process successfully with a number of companies. It’s not easy, but if it’s done right, the process can deliver high return on investment as well as be a source of pride for your customer service team.
Interested in learning more about how you can achieve these kinds of results for your own company? Read the step-by-step instructions in this follow-up article: How to Turn Your Customer Support Center into a Profit Center.