Transparency in customer service is not just a marketing position. It can also make a big difference to your contact centre’s bottom line.
Ask the manager of a contact centre this question: what’s your top priority for the coming year? The answer might be “improving the customer experience” – maybe cutting on-hold times, or investing in better staff training. But if they’re honest, the real answer is this: cutting costs. Because for all the talk of “valuing customers” and improving customer care, the contact centre is seen primarily as a burden, where resources must be worked to the max, and ever more efficiency is demanded. Technology investments are made with a view to cost reduction, with customer satisfaction coming far behind.
The consequences of the primacy of cost cutting are not surprising: Unhappy customers, with massive levels of switching. And unhappy staff, with constant turnover. This paper describes an innovative technology solution that can cut costs, but also improve the experience of both customers and staff.
Customer retention is the key to future profitability.When making a technology investment in the contact centre, the first question should be “Will this help in customer retention?”. Because research shows that keeping existing customers is far more important and cost effective than finding new ones, with the Gartner Group saying that 80% of future profits come from just 20% of existing customers.Customer loyalty is the new battleground for customer care organisations, and in this struggle social media is both a threat and opportunity. A popular statistic quoted by marketing gurus is that an unhappy customer will vent their dissatisfaction with 9-15 people, while a happy customer will share their experience with 4-6 people.
Trust+ is an innovative route to customer and staff satisfaction – and retention.
When an organisation’s technology investments are focused on cost reduction, then there is a risk that customer satisfaction will actually decrease, as they are pushed into dealing with automated services. In fact, most customers like to call and talk to a real person, especially when their query is beyond the trivial.
ServeMeBest takes a fresh approach, creating technology tools that are focused on increasing quality through transparency. With more trust and better service, customers are happier, there’s less switching, and there’s greater likelihood of recommendations.
ServeMeBest’s Trust+ is a patented recording service designed to enhance trust and transparency, as well as acting to increase the overall quality of phone interactions. It allows callers to opt to receive their own recording of their call interaction, with the recording location conveniently delivered by SMS and the mobile web.
Trust+ can act to both cut costs and increase revenue. By giving callers the chance to replay their calls, there’s a reduction in the need for repeated calls on the same issue. Equality of recording access means a reduction in complaints founded on misunderstandings, and to more civil conversations, which in turn reduces staff stress and turnover.
On the revenue side of the sheet, consumers have clearly indicated that Trust+ deployment would greatly influence their willingness to recommend a company to friends and family . Trust+ is also a powerful statement of transparency, serving to attract new customers and – even more vitally – retain customers who might otherwise switch. For a small investment, Trust+ can generate very positive results, and we can illustrate this with an example.
Calculating the Trust+ Return on Investment.
Here’s a fictional case study that illustrates how Trust+ can generate a spectacular return on investment.
Acme Corp has one million customers, and each year their contact centre receives 5m calls, handled by 500 staff. After deploying Trust+, 10% of Acme’s callers elect to take the call recording option. Trust+ is priced by usage and for Acme this results in a total Trust+ cost of ownership of €500,000 per year.
The financial return from this investment comes in several forms. Firstly, the transparency displayed in deploying Trust+ sends out a positive and powerful marketing message, which is difficult to quantify. To maximize the competitive advantage, ServeMeBest offers a programme of Transparency Certification which allows Acme to display a mark of transparency certified by an independent and international certification registrar, AJA Benelux.
Secondly, the deployment of Trust+ acts to increase service quality for all customers, not just those who use the service. The equality of recording access results in Acme customer care staff taking more care to provide clear and accurate answers first time. It acts to ensure that staff actually deal with the issue, as sometimes there’s a temptation to palm off the customer, resulting in repeat calls and more frustration.
The real benefits materialize with the 10% of Acme customers who actually take the Trust+ option. Some of these are customers who have had service problems in the past, and are tempted to jump to another provider. Impressed by the transparency shown, and knowing that they won’t get that from other providers, 10% of Trust+ users decide not to switch. That’s 1% of the overall Acme customer base.
A fourth financial benefit comes from the Trust+ users who recommend Acme to their friends via social media, based on the product. The company also notices cost savings due to the consequences of giving customers access to recordings: less likelihood for repeat calls on the same issue, and less complaints to handle.
For Acme staff, there are also benefits. Call recording has a calming effect on discourse, resulting in less stress. Staff take increased pride in working for Acme, seeing a tangible commitment to quality and openness in customer care. After deploying Trust+, Acme finds a 5% reduction in staff turnover.
In Acme’s industry, the cost of customer acquisition is €150 per customer, while the cost of staff recruitment and training averages €10,000. They calculate the value of a customer retained at €300 in sales.
By retaining 1% of customers per year, Acme generates sales of €3m. Through the marketing value of Trust+, and recommendations from happy customers, a further 10,000 customers are recruited, at a value of €1.5m. By reducing staff turnover by 5%, Trust+ has saved over €250,000. The return to Acme is €4.75m, for an investment of €500,000.
Trust+: A solution for the best performers in customer care.
Does an return of investment of almost 1000% sound exaggerated?
Perhaps. But sometimes ground-breaking changes have spectacular returns. Today, it is not normal for organisations to offer callers access to call recordings. With Trust+, the opportunity has arrived for those with the best customer service to make a clear statement of confidence in their quality, and reap the rewards.