How to reduce calls to customer service.

AA009679 This week has been a week of some great questions asked by readers. A recent inquiry and post request was “how to reduce calls to customer service.” This is a question that a lot of companies would like to know the answer to. It isn’t a question with a simple answer and the answer depends a lot on the company, their product, and how the company operates.

Here are some basic first steps to reduce the calls coming into your customer service department.

Make your email support better.
A lot of the companies I work with have really good email support. As a result, the number of calls they get is a lot lower. No one ever thinks to email Dell, Microsoft, or HP because they either don’t get a response or it is just so useless that it isn’t even worth it. If your email support is good (and you can prove to your customers that it is), then you will see fewer calls.

More self-service.
Like email support, a lot of companies have terrible self-service options. If you can make your self-service offerings actually useful (consider Flash tutorials, checking out this post, as well as this post) , then customers will be a lot more likely to use them.

An easier to use product.
This may seem like a broad suggestion, but there are a lot of ways to make your product easier to use. A lot of smart companies include useful tips and information built right into the product. One company I worked with that makes web applications for people who aren’t that technically inclined had tips on every page. The first week or two of use after signing up, more tips would be displayed than average. After that, there would be fewer. It is just creative thinking like that which will make it easier for customers to use your product.

Consider alternatives.
Besides a regular call in number, consider some alternatives. A lot of companies like click to call. Some charge just a dollar per call to discourage those “casual” calls where the customer just doesn’t want to read the FAQ. This will obviously depend on your industry and the sort of service you want to provide, but can help cut down on calls.

8 Responses to “How to reduce calls to customer service.”

  1. Ghillie Suits » How to reduce calls to customer service. said:

    Oct 18, 07 at 12:15 pm

    […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt they get is a lot lower. No one ever thinks to email Dell, Microsoft, or HP because they either don […]

  2. Ian Landsman's Weblog v2.0 said:

    Oct 22, 07 at 12:09 pm

    Reducing Customer Service Phone Calls…

    An interesting post on reducing customer service calls.

    Sounds like he should be recommending HelpSpot to his customers :&#45

  3. Stephane Grenier said:

    Oct 22, 07 at 1:04 pm

    Another big tip I can offer which we use extensively; if you get a decent amount of customer request for a particular feature (or way of doing something) then it’s not as easy to use as you initially thought. Adjust it, change it, enhance it, fix it. Basically make it better. Above trying to create template answers and adding it to your online help (FAQ, etc.) try to address it your software directly. It will pay off in spades.

    Since the very first version of our product LandlordMax, between each and every single release we always look at the most request support items and address them directly. It not only reduces support requests, but it will increase your sales. Remember that for every person who contacts you, there’s probably a dozen or more that don’t. That’s a lot of potential sales! Not only that, but enhancing some features may actually bring in better returns that anything else. Not just because of the reduced support costs, but because of the extra revenues. Think about it…

  4. Service Untitled said:

    Oct 22, 07 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Stephane,

    Thanks for your comment. That is a great idea. Even if you don’t act on the entire idea, but take a bit from it and make the change – customers appreciate and notice that. It can also positively improve your product or service. Terrific for everyone.

    Great suggestion!

  5. Reduce costs and increase sales through proactive notification | Conversationware said:

    Oct 27, 07 at 8:26 am

    […] The original article at Service Untitled is also a good read and argues for more multimedia and self service options. […]

  6. Service Untitled » Figure Out Why They’re Calling - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Oct 30, 07 at 6:49 am

    […] A post on Paul Sweeney’s You’ve Been Noticed pointed out the obvious thing I missed with how to reduce phone calls to customer service: figure out why your customers are calling. I missed the elephant in the room when I forgot to mention that. It may just seem like common sense, but it makes a ton of sense and is something that has to be considered. […]

  7. Garry said:

    Jul 16, 08 at 1:19 pm

    You should analyse that why the customer is calling. E.g. In telecom you can analyse whether the customer is calling for product information, activation or deactivation. You can help in reducing cost of the company by giving a self service to the customer to do that activation/deact himself and probably a sms way to get his required information….

  8. Service Untitled said:

    Jul 16, 08 at 8:44 pm

    Garry,

    Those are all good suggestions! Thanks so much.