In today’s fast-paced world, 24/7 customer service has become crucial for businesses to succeed.
Customers expect round-the-clock support and always-available help when they come across your business.
This not only includes inbound customer queries but also proactively reaching out to your clients and guiding them throughout the journey.
According to Gartner’s 2023 customer service survey, one of the greatest challenges service organizations expect to face is “moving fast enough to keep up with the way customers want to experience support”.
That tells you the importance of good customer service in today’s business environment.
In this simple, easy guide, I will walk you through the importance of 24/7 customer service and provide tips on how to implement it in your business.
What is 24/7 Customer Service
24/7 customer service means providing constant customer assistance to clients, no matter the time of day or night.
Usually, this involves a team of support agents who work in shifts, ensuring that someone is always available on the other end to address customer concerns.
For example, as a top customer service outsourcing company, Hired Support provides 24/7 customer service by dividing agents throughout the day.
This level of service is provided to customers through various channels, including phone, email, live chat, and social media.
Let’s first understand why 24/7 customer service is so important.
Why is 24/7 Customer Service Important
Meeting Customer Expectations
Live chat has gained immense popularity over the years. This is because of the need for instant responses in today’s digital world.
Customers today expect much quicker resolutions to their problems as compared to the previous generation.
This suggests that customer expectations have naturally increased.
Any business that lives up to those expectations will gain a competitive advantage over the others.
Providing 24-hour customer care makes your clients feel valued and increases customer satisfaction through swift replies.
Let’s think like a customer and ask ourselves this question:
From which company are we more likely to make a purchase, one that responds readily to our query or one that replies after hours?
As I’ve mentioned above, continuous support services can separate you from your competitors that might not provide the same level of assistance.
This understandably boosts your brand image and reputation and helps you upgrade your business.
Let me give you a personal example.
One of Hired Support’s clients, Healthy Stuff, has customers spread across the globe.
Those customers belong to different time zones.
That means a customer can drop a query at any time of the day or night and Healthy Stuff has to respond to it.
They had an in-house team that managed their customer support.
However, their team wasn’t living up to the standard.
It wasn’t performing just enough for them to have the competitive edge I’ve talked about.
That’s why they outsourced their 24/7 customer service to us.
Their customer satisfaction score (CSAT) jumped from 76 to 90+.
This includes the international clients of Healthy Stuff, to whom our agents respond in the clients’ native language.
Similarly, if your company operates internationally, all-day customer solutions will help you increase your global reach and customer satisfaction.
Read Healthy Stuff Case Study Here
Increased Customer Loyalty
It is psychology 101 for a person to be loyal to someone who gives them attention.
If you feel unappreciated by someone, would you stay with them for long?
With so many established and upcoming businesses in every niche, fostering customer loyalty isn’t an easy task.
You have to focus on the smallest details to keep customers to yourself.
Therefore, a business that offers 24/7 customer support is more likely to retain its clients.
Customers appreciate the convenience of being able to reach out for help whenever they need it.
This also means that they’ll suggest your company to others and mention the level of service you’re providing.
Who doesn’t know the importance of word-of-mouth marketing?
Reduced Complaints and Negative Reviews
Reviews are one of the most important parts of social proof that either back or slack your company’s claims.
When customers are unable to resolve their queries, they try to contact customer support.
You might assume that a customer who needs help must be patient enough to wait for a reply.
Customers have other options. Firstly, they’ll look for an option where they probably won’t encounter the problem.
However, if it’s a common query, they’ll hit up a bunch of your competitors.
Whoever responds first will have far greater chances of stealing your client.
And what will they do about the fact that you didn’t respond to them when they were your customer?
Here comes a negative review!
Remember, customers only put a negative review if you practically force them to do so.
You have to be really bad at doing business if the customer goes to massive lengths to warn the public about you.
Hence, avoid negative reviews at any cost and resolve complaints as soon as possible.
With 24/7 customer service, complaints don’t pile up since they’re being catered to just as they arrive.
This decreases your chances of getting negative reviews by a lot!
Even a live chat feature on your website, such as the one in the lower right corner of this website, helps a lot.
How to Implement 24/7 Customer Service
Assess Your Current Support Structure
Look at the pre-existing resources within your company and audit them.
Evaluate how your customer service channels are performing and you’ll notice that 9 out of 10 times there’s a gap that justifies the implementation of a 24/7 support channel.
After the evaluation, take a glance at the strengths and weaknesses of your current system, and identify areas that require improvement.
Hire and Train Support Staff
You’ll need a team of support agents who can work in shifts.
If you intend on hiring an in-house team and training them, make sure the customer support agents are well-equipped to handle inquiries and concerns effectively.
It is important to understand that a continuous helpdesk can cause the responses sent to customers to sound generic and similar.
Similarly, multiple other impromptu issues can occur on the go as well.
That’s why it is so important to make sure that the staff goes through a robust training program before they’re allowed to be on the job.
Set Clear Expectations
Set quality standards that your agents need to achieve in order to have a seat at the table.
There should be clear-cut in place guidelines for response times as well.
There are many metrics by which you can evaluate your team’s performance.
The best and most commonly-used metric is simply customer feedback in the form of a rating.
Once the chat or call is over, the customer is asked to rate the service.
Based on that score, you can evaluate the performance of your team.
This will help maintain a consistent level of service and set benchmarks for measuring success.
AI is here to help, not to take over (yet).
There are multiple tools such as AI chatbots or AI virtual assistants are being used by companies to reduce costs and response times.
The benefit of using AI in your customer service is that it helps with answering routine queries in the form of FAQs.
This allows human agents to focus on more complex problems.
Furthermore, these AI-powered solutions also help reduce response times and process transactions.
Integrating technology into your 24/7 customer service will also bolster the customer experience for your clients by a lot.
Outsource 24/7 Customer Service
I personally recommend this option when it comes to not only 24/7 customer service but any other kind of customer support as well.
It is probably the most viable solution.
Staffing and training have their costs. Hiring has its own issues.
The salaries, the packages, the change in infrastructure, and the rest.
All of these issues have their toll on the company budget.
Customer support outsourcing reduces costs, saves you the trouble of hiring new staff, gives you access to professional customer support agents, and has multiple other benefits.
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Tips for Providing Exceptional 24/7 Customer Service
Empathize with Your Customers
To be a good customer service agent one has to think like a customer.
Make sure your support agents understand the frustrations of the customers and empathize with them.
This builds rapport and trust, improves customer satisfaction, and diffuses tension by quickly deescalating the situation.
Provide Multi-Channel Support
Not all of your customers love emails.
Modern-day customers can approach you through phone, social media, live chat, and email.
Make sure all channels are available throughout the day.
Being proactive relates to empathy at a point.
Learn about the common problems customers face, anticipate common issues, and provide non-stop customer aid.
Empower them to resolve their issues on their own for the next time as well.
You’re a human engaging with another human.
You should never refer to your customers using their order or product number.
Ensure that your support agents address customers by their names and refer to their past interactions to create a personalized experience.
Make sure you’ve got a feedback system in place. Regularly ask your customers for feedback on your 24/7 customer service.
Remind them to give feedback by the end of the conversation.
Empower Your Support Agents
Don’t put too many obstructions through the hierarchy.
Give your support agents the authority to make decisions and resolve issues without seeking approval from higher-ups.
Otherwise, the customers will be left hanging!
Continuously Train and Develop Your Team
Invest in ongoing training and development programs for your support agents.
This ensures that they stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, product updates, and customer service best practices.
Make sure that all your agents are consistent in their performance across all channels.
One agent shouldn’t outperform the other and one channel shouldn’t be more responsive than the other.
Develop a set of guidelines and protocols to ensure that all members of your support team adhere to the same standards.
Monitor and Reward Performance
Regularly track the performance of your support agents and recognize those who excel in their roles.
Rewarding top performers can boost morale and motivate your team to continuously deliver exceptional service.
As customer needs and preferences evolve, be prepared to adapt your 24/7 customer service strategy accordingly.
Keep an eye on emerging trends and technologies and be ready to incorporate them into your support offerings.
To conclude, 24/7 customer service is no longer a luxury or an option in 2023 — it’s an essential component of any successful business.
By implementing round-the-clock support, always available help, and constant customer assistance, you can live up to current customer expectations and standards to have a competitive edge.
While you might think that only in industries such as healthcare real-time customer service makes sense, that’s not true either.
Customers today want to chat with brands and companies as they do with their friends – scrolling through social media while asking questions.
If offering round-the-clock support sounds like too much work, the best course of action is to outsource 24/7 customer service.
That saves you the trouble of hiring and staffing while reducing the costs of doing the latter as well.
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