A 3-step guide to reducing your team’s customer contact rate

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There’s a great saying that a perfect product or service doesn’t require customer support. Whilst this seems quite idyllic, it holds some truth when we look at the purpose of customer support as an industry.

Companies’ support teams hold many values. Ironically at the core of what teams are ultimately trying to achieve, is that customers no longer need to contact them at all. Or at least contact them less.

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Cutting your customer contact rate is the most proactive way for a team to scale and increase its operational capacity. Having fewer inquiries to deal with allows support teams to provide faster, more cost-efficient service. This means teams can do more with less, and do it better.

This article will cover 3-steps you can implement in your support team to effectively cut your customer contact rate:

  • Creating an effective product feedback loop
  • Establishing a standard of self-service
  • Peer-to-peer community learning

Creating an effective product/service feedback loop

Your first line of defense against excessive customer contact is ensuring that your product/service is delivering what your customers want. This requires an effective product feedback loop. This is a streamlined communication flow between customer support and product teams.

A product/service feedback loop refers to the cyclical nature of receiving, organizing, and prioritizing feedback from your customers. Then communicating this feedback to the product team to make adjustments to better fit your customer’s needs.

How does it reduce customer contact rate?

Maybe the product isn’t intuitive. Maybe the customers had different expectations. Or maybe they can not complete the actions themselves and need help. Whatever the issue, taking these suggestions and making your product/service more user friendly will ensure that your customers have fewer questions or problems and will be inclined to contact you less.

For example, your company is providing an online graphic design tool. However, over the past month, your support team has received 100 tickets concerning users being unable to change text color on their projects. Taking this issue to the product team, allowing them to adjust the product, then updating your user base of the update will result in 100 fewer tickets per month. This will allow your team to better focus their resources elsewhere to achieve more with the same amount of agents.

Tips for streamlining product feedback

  • Have weekly meetings to categorize and prioritize customer feedback with your support team. Analyze the results to see if there are any trends and share these with the product team. E.g. receiving 100 tickets last week about changing a certain feature.
  • Create a Slack channel called #supportimprovements: any time an agent hears anything back from customers about product changes they post it there and the team can vote on the suggestions.

Establishing a standard of self-service

In an ideal world, customers would contact support teams only to give a continuous flow of feedback to improve their product/service, creating a harmonious development cycle. Unfortunately, in reality, customers also need to contact support teams for other reasons, such as asking for help.

From the most complex of technical of issues to, ‘how do I turn it on?’, FAQ’s often make up the majority of a support team’s contact rate. Luckily, this trend has led towards a ubiquitous shift towards Customer Self Service (CSS). CSS is support that allows users to find solutions to their questions themselves without contacting a support agent, such as the Help Center.

How does it reduce customer contact rate?

The help center is arguably the most powerful tool a support team can use to reduce their contact rate. Studies show that since the COVID-19 outbreak views for companies’ self-service offerings, like articles in their help centers, are up 70 %.

Help centers assist both companies that are receiving an influx of tickets and those that are downscaling, to deflect requests and reduce the strain on their support team, doing more with less.

Tips for customer self-service

  • Add your most popular FAQ’s to your help center homepage to make them easier to find for customers.
  • If you have a live chat option on your website add links to your most common FAQ’s when I customer opens an inquiry.
  • Use videos and GIFs within your help center articles to make multi-step explanations easier for customers to understand.
  • Set up analytics for your help center to know what is being searched for most often.

Peer-to-peer community learning

Whilst an important part of cutting your customer contact rate is improving your team’s operation efficiency, what is equally as important is ensuring your customers are satisfied with your level of service. Reports show that 73% of customers want to solve product or service issues on their own.

An effective help center is one way to ensure that customers are able to do so, however, they still require hours of manual labor to be written and organized. Peer to peer customer support communities lighten this burden and allow customers to help one another.

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How does it reduce customer contact rate?

Similar to an actionable help center, peer to peer communities deflect a significant amount of support tickets from agents. Customers trust other customers to give an unbiased answer and hence will be more inclined to access answers from your community and help center more frequently.

Tips for customer peer to peer communities

  • To start off your community invite customers who are vocal, articulate, and friendly on your company’s social media pages to join in getting the conversation started.
  • Implement a gamified rating or points system for customer responses to make each customer’s credibility more visible to the community.
  • Monitor your online community to ensure that there is no false or offensive information and behavior being spread.