Customer retention and service provision are both dependent on good, responsive customer care. Customers can normally reach businesses during normal business hours, which are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but what about after hours?
Out-of-hours service is a challenge for B2C businesses because many of their clients can’t contact them until they’ve done their work, at which point the call center may be closed. At worst, it can devolve into a humiliating game of telephone tag, with the supplier’s representative leaving a message the next day that the client is unable to pick up, and so on.
B2C enterprises must be able to provide customer service at least in the evenings and weekends, and preferably 24 hours a day. Extended customer service hours are beneficial to B2B enterprises as well, even if their target clients leave the office at 5 p.m., just like they do.
Expanding your team to assist around the clock may appear to be a daunting task. However, with a step-by-step guide, you can quickly implement a 24/7 support model. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to establishing 24/7 customer service. Here are some of the topics in this guide:
- What does “24/7 support” require?
- How do you know if you need to provide help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
- What are the advantages of providing 24-hour customer service?
- How to Provide Round-the-Clock Customer Service
- How to improve support operations so that you can deliver excellent customer assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
- f you don’t provide 24/7 help, here are some best practices to follow.
What does “24/7 support” require?
24/7 support, also known as 24/7/365 customer service or 24/7/365 technical support, is a customer service approach that entails offering assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. To put it another way, a 24/7 support approach assures that a client may get their issue fixed at any hour of day or night.
How do you know if you need to provide help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year?
It is vital for some firms to provide service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For the others, it’s a business choice based on expansion or client needs.
If you’re unsure whether or not you should provide round-the-clock service, here are some questions to consider.
- Do you have a consumer base that spans multiple time zones or geographies?
When dealing with a global customer base, it’s critical to consider the different time zones. If you don’t account for this, your consumers may experience delays in getting their issues resolved.
- Is your company in a line of work that requires you to provide customer care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Critical issues exist in industries such as travel, healthcare, and banking that must be addressed urgently. If your company falls into one of these categories, you must provide service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Apart from that, providing 24/7 help is incredibly lucrative when your company values customer experience.
- Why is it critical for businesses to have support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
The advantages of offering support around the clock affect crucial customer service and company KPIs in addition to meeting consumer and industry criteria to create excellent experiences.
Response time is reduced: Today’s customers despise having to wait for help. In fact, according to a McKinsey report, 75% of internet clients still want service in 5 minutes or less. Providing support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week goes a long way toward ensuring a high first-response rate and minimising overall wait times across channels.
Enhance customer loyalty: Being ready to serve consumers 24 hours a day, seven days a week shows that you genuinely care about them and put their needs first. This also aids your clients in gaining trust and reaffirming their commitment to your business.
Customers prefer businesses to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to 51% of respondents.
Customer effort score (CES) is reduced: Customers will try to contact you many times if you aren’t available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This will have an immediate effect on your CES. Being available at all times to provide real-time assistance, on the other hand, minimises the amount of work your consumers must put in, lowering your CES.
How to Provide H24 Customer Service
There are various things to consider when scaling to give support around the clock, including staff size, pricing, technology, and so on. Here is a variety of 24/7 options, and you may pick and choose whatever ones work best for you.
A) Improve Your Self-Service Capabilities
Providing support 24 hours a day, seven days a week is usually connected with growing your customer service personnel. However, this isn’t the only approach to providing service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Building a reliable client self-service module is a low-cost option that organisations of all sizes can use to scale their customer care. Self-service is, in reality, a widespread method of locating solutions among clients. 61 percent of customers in a survey chose self-service over speaking to a customer support representative.
Here are three self-service options that you can use to ensure that your clients can get answers to their questions at any time of day or night.
1) Knowledge base: A knowledge base is a collection of how-to guides and frequently asked questions that customers may use to solve problems on their own. Here are a few pointers to help you improve your customers’ self-service experience:
- Create a knowledge base by: Creating a well-organised knowledge base can be as simple as identifying common content themes and categorising your solutions and FAQs under each category. By doing so, you make it easier for your clients to browse through the knowledge base and locate the answers they need.
- Review performance regularly: Continuous work is required to build and maintain a comprehensive knowledge base. You must document any new features or policies that are implemented, as well as compile a list of all frequently asked questions and include them.
- Add a way for people to give feedback: Allowing your clients to provide feedback ensures that your solution articles are genuinely beneficial to them. It might be as simple as including a thumbs up/down option or a feedback form after each post.
- A Help-widget: A help widget, also known as a website widget, is an interactive self-service tool that your clients may utilise on your knowledge base portal or website to discover answers quickly. You can include answers from your knowledge base and even a contact form for your customers to utilise to submit a ticket that your staff will be able to fix once they log back in.
- Chatbots: Although a knowledge base and a help widget are excellent self-service tools, they only allow for one-way communication. Chatbots, on the other hand, provide a two-way interaction that closely resembles a human discussion. As a result, a chatbot’s self-service experience is more personalised and satisfying.
A chatbot searches your knowledge base for the most relevant responses to your client’s requests. Freddy AI for CX, for example, is an AI-powered chatbot that can do more than just propose solutions. Freddy recognizes the customer’s intent and responds with relevant conversation flows to engage and please them. You can also use Freddy to create workflows that walk your customers through a step-by-step troubleshooting session to thoroughly resolve their issues.
Provide an option to transfer the conversation to a human agent as a best practice. When your staff returns the next day, they will be able to fix issues that were too complex for the chatbot to handle.
- Forums for the community: User community forums are message boards that you may create to allow your consumers to communicate with one another. A common platform for product teams to obtain input on beta programs or bounce feature ideas off users is a community forum. They do, however, function as a forum for clients to air their grievances and concerns. Customers in the community are more likely to answer queries and assist one another. Those that are left unanswered are usually answered by the community’s moderator, who is usually a member of the business or customer support team.
Customers who require assistance will be able to get support more quickly if the community forum is organised by grouping different themes of conversation together.
B) Increase the size of your customer service team
If you have a huge worldwide client base that prefers real-time support over live chat or the phone, you’ll need to extend your customer care personnel and operations in addition to establishing a powerful self-service module. Here are some outlined typical methods for scaling your team, along with their benefits and drawbacks:
1) Increase the size of your current team and implement a shift-based model.
If you want to expand your existing workforce to provide 24/7 service, you’ll need to:
- Employ customer service representatives for various shifts and days of the week.
- Build a thorough shift schedule to manage and create a detailed shift schedule to control costs and avoid agent burnout.
- Train your employees on regional and cultural support etiquette.
The table below compares the advantages and disadvantages of this model.
2) Create local teams and adopt a sun-following strategy.
Building distinct teams for different geographies allows you to extend your support team across time zones while maintaining service continuity. Here’s a basic rundown on how to put up a sun-following model:
- Create local customer service teams from various regions to ensure that you are covered at all times of the day and night.
- Allow each team to transfer any outstanding duties to a different location before their shift expires. This ensures that information is not lost between teams working in various places.
3) Customer service can be outsourced.
When outsourcing customer care to provide 24/7 support, there are some best practices to follow. These are the three important things to remember:
- Look for companies that hire people who have patience, empathy, and good communication skills.
- Take charge of training and onboarding so you can provide comprehensive product training.
- Weekly conference calls should be held to discuss concerns, provide feedback, and answer questions.
How to improve support operations so that you can deliver excellent customer assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
Along with extending your support crew, ensuring that your customer service software is scale-ready is critical to successfully deploy a 24/7 support strategy. Here’s how you may improve your support operations to provide 24/7 client service:
Make use of an omnichannel helpdesk system: Customers want you to provide 24/7 assistance via low-effort channels like live chat, phone, and messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and others. Using separate tools for different channels could reduce agent efficiency and decrease customer satisfaction. An omnichannel help desk, on the other hand, gives you a complete picture of all requests received through multiple channels. You can create SLAs that run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that any client issues are promptly addressed and resolved.
Automate critical processes: When your team works in shifts or across multiple countries, important operations like assigning tickets and managing inter-team dependencies can become exceedingly difficult to perform. Workflow automation, on the other hand, allows you to automatically assign tickets to the appropriate agents based on language, customer segment, and other factors, as well as set up reminders or alerts on tickets with dependencies to ensure that all workflows run smoothly regardless of the time of day.
To support agents, set up agent-facing AI: You can set up an agent-facing AI that can serve as your team’s assistant to ensure that everyone on your team has access to the tools they need to give consistent customer service.
Measure and improve your performance in the following ways: Using periodic reports to keep track of your ticket numbers, staff performance, and customer satisfaction will help you guarantee that everything is in order. In addition, you may examine trends in reports and use the information to improve your support approach.
If you don’t provide 24/7 help, here are some best practices to follow:
If you want to offer 24/7 customer care but don’t have the means to do so right away, there are a few things you can do to ensure that consumers who try to contact you outside of business hours have a positive experience:
A) Give your customers an approximation of when they may expect to hear from you by specifying your business hours on all channels of assistance. There are three ways to accomplish this:
- Send an email notification if a customer contacts you outside of normal business hours.
- If you provide customer support, automatically change your status or add a banner stating that you are unavailable.
- Whenever and everywhere your contact number is stated, explicitly specify your business hours if you offer assistance over the phone (your signature or your website)
B) Set your service level agreements (SLAs) in accordance with your business hours to avoid creating the wrong expectations with your clients. Use precise language like “We’ll get back to you within 2 working days,” rather than “We’ll get back to you within 2 days,” so clients can account for weekends or holidays.
C) Set up extensive self-service options so that your consumers may get answers on their own whenever they need them.
Scaling your customer service to give help 24 hours a day, seven days a week benefits both your consumers and your company. You can get your customer care staff up and running 24/7/365 in no time with a good support ticket system and a 24/7 support model that suits your business!
FSP GLOBAL GROUP is an international group of companies present in many countries, with its headquarters in Cluj-Napoca. FSP Global, the main company in the Group, is a leader in Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) sector and operates 24/7, 365 days a year. FSP Global provides exceptionally high-quality multichannel customer care experience and support through its call centers. FSP Global offers a wide range of services in BPO and is unique in its domain due to its impressive range of language portfolios, among which: English, German, French, Russian, Arabic, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian, Czech, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish, Ukrainian, Kazah, Bulgarian, Albanian, Burmese, Malay, Africaans and other 10 South African languages, Hindi, Urdu, and others. It provides services for clients in more than 25 countries from 3 continents all over the world, like Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Netherland, Romania, Ireland, Arabic countries, Czech Republic, Poland, Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Pakistan, etc.