New Year’s resolutions are in full effect and ecommerce trial and subscription businesses are ramping up – new customers are signing up for skin, muscle and diet offers.
That’s great for business.
On the flip side, your call center will soon inevitably start receiving a record number of calls.
Which every year seems to mean the same thing… longer hold times and higher chargebacks.
Long Call Center Hold Times Lead to Increased Chargebacks
Customers don’t like to be on hold – it’s as simple as that.
Studies show that after an average of 1 minute and 55 seconds of hold time most callers hang up annoyed – 34% of those callers who hang up will not call back. (Small Business Chronicle)
Guess who these people will call next? The Card Issuer – to do a chargeback.
Or they’ll do it online. Most card issuers now offer online credit card dispute options.
When it’s easier and faster for a customer to file a chargeback through their bank than to reach your live customer service reps, you have a major business problem.
Just Having a Call Center is Not Enough
The statistic mentioned above is as clear of an indication as you need that just having a call center isn’t enough to keep customers happy – and this doesn’t apply only to high-volume times.
Having a call center isn’t customer service. Anticipating a customer’s needs, and having a solution ready for them before they even talk to someone, is customer service.
Long Call Center Hold Times Kill Customer Lifetime Value
Losing a recurring revenue customer during the trial stage leads to a negative customer lifetime value (CLV) for that client – because chances are good that you’ll never see them again.
On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase (White House Office of Consumer Affairs).
The trial and continuity business model relies on CLV for long term success and scalability. Losing customers due to long hold times is a mistake which no serious advertiser can afford to make.
Four Ways to Reduce Live Customer Service Costs, Decrease Chargebacks, and Improve CLV at The Same Time
Method One: Take some pressure off your call center.
Not every customer who calls needs to speak to a live agent, there are some issues which can be resolved very quickly through personalized automation.
By integrating a personalized, automated interactive voice response (IVR) system with your existing call center you can reduce stress on your call center, thereby allowing customers who actually need to speak to a customer service rep have access to them sooner.
An automated system which allows the customer to “0-out” (meaning hit “0” to speak to a live person) is not only an improvement for customer success, but also an improvement for your call center – allowing them to run more smoothly in high-volume times.
Not only that, but this will reduce your live customer service costs.
Method Two: Deploy an easy web interaction option.
If a customer wants to contact you, they will reach out the easiest way for them.
Do you want them going to the card issuers website or your web site?
Make sure you have a product branded website that they can go to and quickly walk through a step or two to cancel or suspend shipments.
And, make sure you are A/B testing your cancellation messaging and offers to them so that you can optimize CLV!
Method Three: Test offers with your customers.
Test, test, test!!!
You do it on all of your landing pages, so why not do it on your customer service interactions?
Deploying an A/B testing platform to optimize customer outcomes will absolutely lift your CVL.
The same science (A/B testing) you’ve used to lift conversion and optimize traffic buys will have an equally positive impact on lifting CLV if applied correctly.
Testing options is a great way ultimately improve CLV by identifying which offers customers respond to more positively, and which will save their business more often.
Method Four: Handle customer disputes quickly.
Many trial and continuity advertisers who wind up in trouble with the State authorities, or worse – the FTC – could have easily avoided this by actually responding to customer complaints, and handling them quickly and having a system which doesn’t have hold times or long handle times.
Remember, complaints lead to investigations.
Complaints to the BBB, when not handled properly, can ultimately lead to ruin for an advertiser, as we have seen in past cases.