With companies now offering a multitude of services, including online and mobile products and services, they are finding that 24/7 customer service is needed to be able to help customers when and where they need it.
I came across a case study that revealed how one company responded to this customer need and reduced customer service inquiries by half. The company that was featured is Tagged.com – it is a social site for users to meet and interact with other people. From their website:
Tagged makes social discovery products that enable anyone to meet and socialize with new people. Our mission is to help everyone feel love and belonging, and we’re building toward a vision where anyone can use a device to instantly connect with interesting new people anytime, anywhere.
Founded in 2004 and profitable since 2008, Tagged is a market leader in social discovery with over 300 million registered members in 220 countries who make over 100 million new social connections every month. Tagged is based in San Francisco.
Because this is a site used at all times of the day and night, the company needed to make sure that customer assistance was available when customers most need it, whenever that may be. As the company grew, they also realized they needed to be more efficient in the way they provided customer assistance.
The company had a self-service help center, with frequently asked questions and information that could help customers with basic information. They also had a support ticket process in place. While this was a good start, the company realized that they needed more in order to maintain strong service levels.
To this end, they implemented a few new procedures to help customers get the help they need:
1. An enhanced self-service portal, with integration of advanced search features that will make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. The search features are front and center on the site so it’s easy to find and use.
2. Tagged provided a self-guided tour of the site, how to use it, and how to find the information they need. This would give customers the opportunity to learn how to use the site more efficiently and have many of their questions answered without requiring help from the company.
3. Customers with a premium subscription have chat functionality so they can get their questions answered while they are on the site. This is in addition to their email support tickets, and is only available to those premium members.
While these changes are relatively minor, and did not require a significant addition of staff or spending, the company saw great results in a short period of time. Over a four month period, the company reduced its service tickets from 42,000 service tickets per month to just 20,000 service tickets per month.
It looks like the changes helped significantly. Implementing self-help features and content for customers to get the help they need without contacting customer service can be fairly easy.
1. Start by collecting data related to current inquiries: what are the most common inquiries customers have? Pinpoint the most frequently asked questions and create a self-help page on your website. Make sure it is prominent and easily navigated, as Tagged.com did. Review this information on a regular basis to make sure the content is fresh, relevant, and updated when changes are made to your site.
2. Collect data on the ease of use of your site: ask your customers to provide feedback on your site. How do they use it, what do they like best, what is difficult for them to do while on your site? Take it one step further and employ a mystery shopping company to gather some objective data – shoppers pose as your customers and engage with your site just as your customers do, and provide information on ease of use, functionality, response time to inquiries, etc. Take this information and make changes to create a more user friendly experience.
3. Incorporate “pop up” feedback surveys for new visitors: There are some methods where companies can identify new website users and ask them for feedback. This can be particularly useful in learning why new customers may not use the site, if they were having difficulty, etc. Similarly, identify people who may have registered for your site, but rarely use it. Find out why this may be. It could simply be a case of a user registering for a site that they are no longer interested in using, but you may uncover reasons why people start to use your site and fall off – sometimes people will just stop using a service instead of asking for help when they reach a stumbling block.
The case study revealed how simple changes can make a big impact, and it highlighted some good takeaways for others to learn from.