The Making Data Work Blog

Great Customer Service - Part One: What Does it Cost to Provide Great Customer Service?

[fa icon="calendar"] 02-Aug-2018 16:46:00 / by Josh Stickland

Josh Stickland

Customer expectations are higher than ever. Customers are more demanding, want to feel important and know that they are "always right". This is largely down to the ever increasing number of companies out there providing similar products and services, meaning customer satisfaction can be a key way to attract and keep important customers.

Commercial models like subscriptions mean engagement and customer churn are more important than ever. New channels and engagement models mean people expect instant response, informed operatives and rapid resolution.

Angry woman in dress shouting on smartphone over gray background

With this increased expectation can come significant costs for success. Organisations must provide a capability that supports this customer experience across a wide range of channels - digital like web, live chat, chat bot and more human interaction like telephony and face to face.

As your customer base grows, the cost of managing this capability grows - research we undertook with customers in banking, utilities, telco and public sector produced the following approximate costs for handling queries:

  • £8 per phone call
  • £4 for live chat
  • £70+ for processing a letter

When you scale these into the hundreds of thousands or even millions, the costs can become vast.

Complaints cost even more - between £100 to £800 depending on escalation and whether regulatory bodies become involved, at an average of £125. That doesn't even include redress! Even bigger impacts are when incorrect or inaccurate information is in the customer value chain, causing high levels of dissatisfaction and costing potentially millions to fix - if you've ever had a high bill you didn't expect you'll know how that feels.

As a company, you want your customers to feel satisfied and like you, the business, are on their side. How many times do we see companies coming under fire in the media and on social platforms for their poor customer service? The social damage alone is hard to measure and can be even harder to fix, but the physical costs of dealing with customer complaints can certainly be reduced. If you can address complaints quickly and keep customers satisfied you can rebuild the bridges between the company and customers.

On the grounds that more customers is a good thing, how can you continue to provide a great service to satisfied customers without incurring the costs?

We're working with a range of companies to help their customer teams use quantitative and qualitative data to reduce the cost and volume of interactions by building analytical applications to help them identify where these issues are and fix them at source.

  • Why are our customers getting in touch?
  • How are they contacting us?
  • What is the impact?
  • How could we improve their experience to reduce the need to raise queries?

Stay tuned for next week's blog: Great Customer Service - Part Two: Reducing the Cost With Data.


Topics: Making Data Work, data, Customer Service, Delivery, Customer Satisfaction, Customers