When the world went digital-only in 2020, businesses faced a deluge of questions online.
From queries about COVID-19 protocols to how to handle no-contact returns, website visits from consumers seeking information about businesses increased by as much as 376% in some industries throughout the pandemic spring — rising in tandem with line-clogging customer support calls. (Raise your hand if you heard, "Please hold, your call is very important to us…" in the past year.) To handle the crisis, many businesses rushed to rethink their customer support operations. Did they need to hire more agents? Update their FAQs?
Great questions. But one year later, even as businesses reopen and we inch closer to "normal," we're (largely) dealing with the same old approach to customer support that, quite frankly, still can't solve every issue.
The two primary options? On the one hand, investing in a team of agents. This can give the benefit of seeming "high-touch," but "high-touch" can also mean high cost: according to Harvard Business Review, the average cost of a live support interaction (phone, email, chat, etc.) for a B2B company is a whopping $13. On the other hand, providing scaled support — service via an automated phone system, chatbots, FAQs, etc. — is much more cost effective. But the problem is execution: according to Gartner, 70% of a business's customers use these self-service tools, but only 9% end up fully resolving their issues.
To make matters worse, Forbes reports that poor customer support is costing businesses $75 billion a year — serious money that no company wants to waste.
So, the $75 billion-dollar question is: how can businesses reimagine their help sites to actually scale their service model — without compromising quality of support?