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With the growth of e-commerce, businesses can now sell in a global marketplace. In fact, more than two billion people bought online in 2020, with worldwide e-commerce sales exceeding $4.2 trillion. With this market only growing, there’s never been more potential for an online business to expand and see greater profits.
Of course, one potential barrier to operating in a global marketplace is the fact your customers could be in any timezone. While this isn’t a real issue in terms of ordering and logistics, it can present a problem when it comes to customer service.
If your business is located in New York and a customer in Australia has a question, how do you deal with it if you operate standard business hours in your timezone? The answer is to implement a 24/7 customer service model.
Is it worth doing? We look at nine reasons why you should.
Why You Should Switch to 24/7 Customer Service for Your Business
1. People want real-time support and answers
Requiring answers in real time can happen at various touch points throughout the customer journey. For example, a customer may have a question that will influence their decision to buy. If they can’t get the answer there and then, they may go to a competitor who does offer real-time responses.
Providing high levels of customer support — and that includes 24/7 provision — goes a long way toward enhancing the customer journey and experience, as well as the credibility of your brand. Some form of service is essential, even if it comes in the guise of digital assistants. Being able to hear the voice of the customers interacting with your business is vital to success.
Depending on the nature of your business and the needs of your customers, implementing automated assistance in the shape of features such as chatbots can offer many benefits, from quicker response times to streamlining staff expectations.
2. Better Customer Retention
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You already know it costs less to retain a customer than acquire a new one, but are you aware that customers are more likely to buy from you when calls are answered quickly? Or that 77% of customers value companies that provide the highest levels of service? When you have good customer retention rates, you see an increase in average lifetime values (LTVs) too.
If you increase your retention rates by as little as five percent, you’re likely to see an increase in profits of 25% or more. Great customer service is one part of helping to retain customers, and 24/7 service is a major step toward providing this.
By learning how to make your business customer-centric, you provide a vastly improved experience and see higher retention rates. If you operate globally, then 24/7 customer support is a major factor in being truly customer oriented.
3. Improved Loyalty
Loyalty is about more than customer retention. It goes beyond repeatedly buying your products or using your services and can elevate a customer to a brand ambassador. When this happens, the customer not only recommends your brand to others (68% will do this based on good experiences) but goes much further.
Brand ambassadors will speak positively about their experience with you on social media channels, leave positive reviews on independent pages and websites, and publicize you within their personal networks. Ultimately, this will drive more traffic to your website.
Digitalizing all aspects of your business communications, including offering 24/7 customer service, is likely to improve loyalty and lead more customers to becoming brand ambassadors. It’s also worth looking at implementing loyalty programs for customers who reach this level.
4. Improved Conversion Rates
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You already know the damaging effects of shopping cart abandonment and that good conversion rates are one of the primary KPIs you need to track results for. While average conversion rates may range from two to five percent, what you really want to see is your site being a top performer with rates of 10% or more.
Offering support, particularly in the form of live chat options, can significantly increase conversions. Customers who have access to live chat support spend around 60% more and are 2.8 times more likely to make a purchase on that visit. It’s worth remembering that the constant provision of good customer service will center around an efficient CRM solution. By offering live chat support, people can have their questions answered instantly, which will influence their decision to purchase there and then. This means you’re reducing the sales cycle and amount of time a customer is spending on site and improving their overall experience.
5. Better Brand Awareness and Reputation
There are many factors that can increase brand awareness and improve your reputation. How you approach things also depends on your business model. For example, a B2B organization will rely more on cold email campaigns than a B2C. The common factor is going to be how good your customer service is.
How your customers see your overall service has a major impact on awareness and reputation. As already mentioned, high levels of customer service lead to retention, loyalty and better conversions. Being available 24/7 shows you’re a professional who cares about your customers.
Establishing a good relationship goes beyond the point where they input their card details and click ‘pay now’. It’s also about more than just answering pre-purchase questions. It relies on providing those same high levels of service when they have queries about shipping or any sort of issue with the product.
6. Leading From the Front
While many consumers prefer to seek a solution themselves (some 69% try to find a fix before speaking to an agent), offering actual human assistance provides the support needed if they can’t solve the issue alone. Nonetheless, many companies still rely on self-service solutions instead of switching to a 24/7 model.
Just because your competitors do not yet offer 24/7 service, doesn’t mean you should neglect this too. In fact, this is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and lead where others will likely follow. If you offer around-the-clock support and a direct competitor doesn’t, who are customers more likely to buy from?
Technology can make the transition easier. Even contact centers now often utilize remote models, meaning you can hire staff in different timezones to accommodate customers’ needs. You may ask “what is contact center IVR” and how can it help in these scenarios? Essentially, this can direct callers to the most appropriate team, maybe even one in the same part of the world as them.
7. Increased Customer Satisfaction
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Customer satisfaction should be one of your primary aims. In most cases, you’ll measure this with the NPS and CSAT highlighted earlier, but it’s important to recognize that offering high levels of customer service will be one of the main factors in increasing it.
If you’re just implementing 24/7 customer service, it may be worth considering a third metric: CES. Short for customer effort score, this will give you an indication of how easy customers find it to interact with you across the various channels you offer support on. This can be of huge benefit when organizations are developing new or additional customer service options.
8. Meeting Market Demand
If you want to be a global player, you need to play by global rules. Selling your products to as many countries as possible means you need to be accessible to every potential customer. Unless you’re selling a unique product or service, failing to provide 24/7 customer support will see those potential purchasers vote with their mouses (and cards).
With the tech and automation available, there’s no real excuse for not meeting the demands of the market. Even where you have teams scattered around the globe, keeping them connected and collaborating is a simple process with tools such as high-definition conference calls at your disposal.
9. Solve Issues Quicker
No business is perfect; mistakes happen and issues arise as part of normal everyday life. Nonetheless, people want their problems solved, and they want them solved as quickly as possible. Your customers are always going to link how good your customer service is to what your values are as a company, so make speed a priority.
It doesn’t matter how amazing your products are, if you offer inferior customer service and take too long to resolve issues, you will lose business quickly and see your reputation decline. Fast resolution of support tickets is therefore one of the crucial pillars of good customer service provision.
Good customer service will not be new to you, but perhaps you’re unsure how to scale up to 24/7 provision. It’s actually a lot less painful than it first appears, and with a good solid CRM system as your foundation, you’ll find the transition simpler than you think.
Of course, if your business model remains local or regional, you may not see the need to change, but you should remember that customers may choose any time of day to make a purchase, so some form of 24/7 provision may still be useful.
At the end of the day, 24/7 customer support is better customer support, and better support means happier buyers.
Jessica Day – Senior Director, Marketing Strategy, Dialpad
Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities for a remote sales team. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Here is her LinkedIn.