Transform your contact center from an expense to a revenue source
Contact centers are often seen as an expensive but necessary line item that should be streamlined as much as possible in support of the bottom line — without sacrificing customer experience. Forrester found in a 2019 study that consumers consider good customer service a more important factor in purchasing than the product or service offered or the brand’s reputation. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true: no matter what your brand makes or does, customer service needs to be a priority.
Brands are waking up to the value of a great customer experience, but that value can be hard to quantify and communicate, especially in the face of the massive labor and technology costs of running a large contact center. There’s plenty of information available to brands on how to reduce costs by enhancing agents, consolidating channels, or deploying chatbots — but how do you turn a contact center that’s built around support and customer service into a revenue generating machine?
Here are two of the best ways to get started.
Quantify CSAT impacts on revenue
Most contact centers measure satisfaction using net promoter score (NPS) or customer satisfaction (CSAT) score, but struggle to directly attribute these metrics to revenue increases or churn reduction. The first step is to deploy a digital care solution that consolidates multiple channels and customer touchpoints into a single conversation management platform. Then, integrate that platform with back-end systems like your CRM or ecommerce platform to track every interaction against a holistic customer profile. With that basic infrastructure in place, you can take the following steps to correlate satisfaction to revenue.
1. Increase customer lifetime value
Use CSAT or customer experience scores to segment your customer base into two groups: high scores and low scores. Then, compare those segments’ average annual or lifetime spend to find the exact dollar value a single point of CSAT or NPS represents to your business. A frequently cited HBR study shows that a two to three point increase in these scores can correlate to a 30% increase in annual revenue per customer. Brands using Khoros Care prioritize offering convenient channels, fast response times and high resolution rates, and advanced workflows for categorizing and routing customer inquiries. Following these digital care principles to enhance CSAT, they report a 2% increase in average spend per customer.
2. Decrease costs and increase average order value with AI-powered support
Once you have this satisfaction value baseline, it becomes easier to justify investment in AI or new, more convenient messaging channels that are likely to increase these scores even further. AI advances like chatbots aren’t perfect, and they won’t fully replace skilled human agents in your contact center, but they certainly help reduce the inquiry volume those agents have to handle. 53% of customers don’t care whether their question is answered by a chatbot or a human, as long as their question gets answered — and chatbots are highly effective at resolving simple, common inquiries. This can mean a lower long term expenditure on contact centers.
Plus, bots offer immediate responses, and faster response times are closely correlated to customers’ willingness to pay more for products or services. Harvard Business Review observed that customers who received a response in 5 minutes or less on Twitter were willing to spend 85% more than customers that waited over 60 minutes for a reply.
3. Increase brand loyalty and referral revenue
Brand loyalty is difficult to granularly measure beyond typical NPS scores and average customer spend, but referral business is an outcome of loyalty that can be easily tracked. Go deeper than just surveying your customer base and offer promotional campaigns for referral business, then compare the referrers’ engagement history and relative CSAT scores. Customers who report excellent experiences are 77% more likely to recommend your brand, but it’s important to test this generalization and find the exact value to deepening loyalty for your particular brand.
4. Reduce churn and customer attrition
For brands with subscription models or frequent recurring purchases, high satisfaction has been closely correlated to lower cancellation and customer churn rates. There are plenty of loss prevention tactics to engage in, like renewal reminders or high barriers to cancellation, but keeping customers satisfied is the cheaper, easier path to retention. Churn or attrition reduction can be considered a subset of lifetime value, or can be individually measured by comparing satisfaction to average contract duration, or measuring retention rate over time and comparing that to significant spikes or dips in CSAT. McKinsey observed that highly satisfied customers are three to four times less likely to churn, and substantial increases to CSAT can result in an overall 10-15% churn reduction.
Offer conversational marketing and sales experiences
Once you’ve quantified the benefits of your existing support operations, the next step is to offer higher quality sales and marketing experiences to customers using chat and messaging channels. Contact centers that only deliver customer support are missing massive sales and marketing opportunities. Getting started can be as easy as surfacing your chat window to your entire website or ecommerce pages and not just your contact or support pages. This can have immediate and lasting impacts on revenue.
1. Increase sale conversion rates
Potential customers have questions, need help finding and comparing products, and don’t always want to dig through your site to get answers. Forrester reports that site visitors who engage in web chat are almost three times more likely to purchase than those who don’t. You can enhance this experience and conversion rate further by equipping agents with promotional language response templates, knowledge base integrations, and rich content that showcases products.
2. Increase lead conversion rates
Conversational experiences also increase conversion rates in other areas. Brands with longer, more hands-on buying cycles and B2B brands that drive traffic to meetings or demos also saw significant conversion rate increases when engaging prospects in chat or messaging. By adding scheduling functionality or qualifying questions to the chat experience, brands can remove unnecessary back-and-forth exchanges and redundant discovery meetings, speeding up the sales cycle.
3. Increase average order value
While 80% of customer service operations track CSAT and NPS, a 2018 report shows only 51% track agent-driven revenue. By engaging in consultative sales and marketing conversations, agents have the opportunity to better assess customer needs and upsell or cross-sell. Automatically tag sales and marketing conversations by introducing a quick welcome message that asks customers to select options like “customer support” and “product information.” Using AI based or even manual agent tagging, brands can measure what channels and products are most likely to compel marketing conversations, then what agent behaviors and content is most likely to convert sales. Offer check out experiences in messaging channels.
New mobile channels like Apple Business Chat and (soon) Google’s Business Messages offer compelling in-conversation checkout experiences with their built in Apple Pay and Google Pay wallet apps. Just as digital wallets and tap-to-pay apps have offered transformative levels of convenience for consumers and merchants, this new in-conversation functionality is the next major development in customer payment experiences. Customers can now take action within their conversations, adding additional services or buying the item they inquired about. And, importantly, they no longer have to navigate away to a clumsy payment portal; instead, they can even pay within the messaging channel — right at their point of highest interest and engagement, when they’re most likely to buy.
If you’re interested in learning more about how digital-first contact centers increase satisfaction and revenue while decreasing costs, check out the Khoros Care ROI whitepaper. Or run the numbers yourself with our ROI calculator to see how adopting Khoros Care will impact your brand’s bottom line.