small business customer service

Digital Customer Service on a Shoestring

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A penny saved is a penny earned, right? That’s certainly true in business, and nowhere more visibly than in small and medium enterprises.

The smaller the company, the smaller the budget and the more pressure managers are under to justify every expense. But there are some things no company should skimp on, and digital customer service is one of them.

If done right, digital customer service won’t just save money, it will make money through higher sales conversions and increased loyalty (more on this below). But to get there, investment is unavoidable.

The challenges that SMEs face when trying to implement a digital customer service solution are varied, but demonstrating ROI is one of the foremost. But to consider just one digital channel, live chat, as compared to traditional customer service:

  • Live chat resolutions cost on average 71% less than voice
  • Companies using live chat can increase sales conversions between 10% and 25%

Great digital customer service is cost effective, if you do your homework and know what you’re getting into. It helps to break things down to basics. So, here are three key challenges for SMEs trying to deliver great digital customer service on a shoestring.

Challenge 1: Which digital call center software solution is most cost-effective?

Finding out how much it will cost to implement new digital call center software

 can be more difficult than it should be. For SMEs, there’s often the added challenge of having a small team of agents, making it more challenging to convince the C-suite of the need to invest.

Add to that the fact that pricing isn’t always transparent on the websites of digital customer service vendors, and it’s clear how challenging this hurdle can be. Typically, the rates you see on the web are there to entice you, and later in the implementation process you’ll be hit with a much higher cost.

It’s always worth having a conversation with any prospective vendor about what the actual implementation costs will be for your customer service team.  The right digital call center software provider will give you a clear idea of the price and won’t penalize you for success as you grow your number of followers and conversions.

Challenge 2: How do I determine the ROI of digital customer service investment?

Once you’ve got a better idea of the costs of implementation, it’s also important to understand what digital customer service can do and how your brand can best use it. It’s not just about reactively responding to requests and complaints from customers. Digital customer service is a way to cut costs by improving efficiency and increasing revenue through conversion.

In part it’s about software and in part it’s about hard skills that our business training team will teach you. But in order to take advantage of the technology it’s important to realize that digital customer service should unite the entire company, impacting customer service, sales, and marketing and blurring the borders between then.

How deep you want to go with this process depends on you. But the positive impacts are clear: with the right software, each customer service agent will work more efficiently at multiple tasks, increasing value. And if you’re in doubt about how all of this is going to affect the bottom line, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask any prospective vendor for a report on ROI.

Challenge 3: Which channels are right for me?

Finally, it’s important to understand the variety of market offerings before you decide on a digital customer service software. Maybe it seems attractive to go with a one-channel solution now but doing that doesn’t future-proof your business. As a business grows it needs more channels, and then you’ll be forced to renegotiate contracts, retrain agents and potentially lose customer data in the conversion process.

Even if you don’t think you need an omnichannel solution now, it’s a good idea to implement software that will give you the flexibility to adjust your channel mix quickly. The right software will be easy to implement and simple to scale today, tomorrow and in the future.