When businesses want to make more revenue, selling to potential new customers is the obvious place to start. But for many companies, customer support is actually the key to driving future revenue. Through excellent support, you can not only retain customers but also drive new sales.
Great Customer Experience = More Revenue
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of providing a positive customer experience. Customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more money compared to those who had the poorest past experience. At the same time, 86% of customers will cease patronizing a business because of a bad experience.
The data makes it clear that to increase profits, businesses must pay close attention to 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.
Solving customer issues is the traditional role of support, but there’s more to support than simply keeping customers happy. Every support interaction is also an opportunity to drive more sales.
86% of customers will cease patronizing a business because of a bad experience. #CustomerSupport
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The Turn: Every Interaction Is an Opportunity
When customers reach out with a problem, the support team has a unique opportunity to listen to their needs, uncover the drivers of customer success — beyond the surface-level reason for the contact — and offer relevant solutions.
A support interaction may go something like this:
- A customer reaches out to a SaaS company’s support team to get a feature to work
- A support agent engages with the customer, listens to the customer and helps make the feature work
- As the conversation unfolds, the agent asks questions and makes an effort to learn what the customer truly wants to achieve with the software, beyond the initial reason for the contact
- In the process, the agent learns the customer is part of a team but only has an individual account
- After helping the customer get the most from the feature and gaining the customer’s trust, the agent recommends the team version of the software, a true value to the customer
- The customer chooses to upgrade their plan to the team version, unlocking additional team features
- The agent has both served the customer and driven a sale, a win-win for the satisfied customer and the SaaS company
In this example, the agent has successfully completed what we at GlowTouch call The Turn. The agent has subtly shifted the conversation and helped the customer while driving a sale. This is only one example; there are many other relevant possibilities. A customer who uses one of your products may need another one you provide. Satisfied customers who’ve just had an issue resolved may be ready to extend or renew their plans. And some may benefit greatly from scheduling a separate consultation with your inside sales team to discuss one of your premium offerings.
Reframing the Definition of “Support”
Support agents are inherently individuals who like to help other people, and they also often struggle with the concept of sales. In centers where sales activities are not an initial component of support, it may be hard to change that mentality. But if you can show an agent how your full product suite can benefit customers, you can reframe support to them and show how informing customers of those solutions is just another form of support. In this case, they’re really supporting your customers’ greater success, and your agents gain a more full understanding of your customers.
Hiring and Training for Sales
While there are many things that go into a profitable support center, the two actions with the most impact are hiring the right people and training them the right way. One key is to hire right from the start with the understanding that sales is a component of a support position. Next, 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.
But what does training for sales look like?
It begins the same way it does for all support, ensuring agents are able to assist your customers and resolve their challenges. Agents will need to understand your customer, empathize with them, be able to communicate clearly with them, learn your products and services in and out and sometimes be able to think on their feet. Additional training involves practicing techniques for asking key questions to uncover customer insights, subtly turning conversations toward your offers and using closing phrases to drive sales, sign-ups or consultation bookings with an inside sales team.
Make Support Part of Your Strategy
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. Investing time and resources in this key area can mean increased profits for years to come.
Is It Actually Possible to Turn Your Support Center into a Profit Center?
The short answer, yes.
The 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 technology companies but may look different from case to case — often depending on product and sales cycle. At GlowTouch, 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, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org