Customer support is often expensive – for many consumer goods, the time that is spent dealing with support queries may eliminate any profit that was made from that particular customer. While aftersales support is important, high volumes of support queries also indicate underlying issues that may need addressing. This article explores some opportunities for reducing customer support queries – while also improving your operations in the process.
Using the insight to better design your product or service
Possibly the most important way of reducing customer support requests is to actively look to incorporate customer feedback from the support calls to improve the product or service. The insight that you get from customers likely illustrates things that are difficult or confusing with your product or service – or at least things that they are not able to resolve themselves. This is an important source of information that can be used to improve the product – potentially making certain operations easier or more intuitive such that support calls are not necessary.
Developing a detailed online support site with answers to common questions
Another approach for cutting down on customer support requests is to improve online support material. The easier it is for customers to find answers to questions themselves, the less likely that they will reach out and call support.
While there will inevitably be some customers that call for support, no matter how developed your online support, having a good frequently asked question page can go a long way in reducing support requests.
Providing better support to customers on how to use to product
Up-front training can also help reduce support requests. While this may not be feasible for all products, it is important to consider the cost trade-off between advance training and dealing with support requests. Not only may advance training help offset a large number of possible queries, but it may also leave a better impression with customers than having to raise individual support requests for all the issues that they run into.
Final thought: Don't let valuable insight into your operations go to waste
The most important thing to bear in mind with customer support requests is not to let the feedback go to waste. It is all too easy to just deal with the individual customer query, and then move on. Indeed, if you have outsourced your customer service operations (or they work in a separate office), there may be no natural feedback – all the information regarding customer support queries goes to waste.
It is important to recognize that learning from customer support queries – what do customers find difficult or confusing about your product – is important, not only for cutting down on subsequent support calls but also for improving your overall operations. Having to contact support is often not a pleasant experience for customers, and for every customer that does call support, there are likely many others that decide it is not worth their time, accepting any limitations of the product. By actively working to improve your product based on customer feedback, not only are you likely to reduce the amount of support requests that you receive, but also improve the product for all customers.