Using Customer Support Conversations To Gain Operational Insights
Gathering operational insights means using customer support conversations to help optimize internal processes, better manage your team, and make smarter operational choices. This helps improve profitability.
Once your team is connecting emotionally with customers, and you are heading off your customer’s next problems in a single interaction, your leaky customer service bucket is well on the way to being patched!
But when you are focusing so heavily on the customer, it’s easy to lose track of the overall costs involved. If you want to keep your web store in good shape, and to scale, then you need to make certain your operation is as efficient as possible.
That’s what this third strategy pillar is all about. Our goal here is to help you lower costs, make process improvements, and better manage your team — so when you really hit the gas on scaling, you’re in great shape.
The very first step toward cutting customer service costs is to identify your single biggest source of complaints and questions — this will tell you where you should establish what we call your customer service “defense line”.
Then, in your second step, strengthen that defense line, stop those same issues from coming up in the future. This is what will help you cut costs!
Now, let’s focus on your defense line.
Finding and Strengthening Your Defense Line
In our experience, most customer service teams put a huge amount of effort into reducing the number of complaints (or questions) in their inbox but a lot less effort into tackling the source of these problems.
This often leads to a lose-lose situation — for you, your team, your customer, and your future customers too. The irony is that the majority of the complaints that land in your inbox are avoidable. That’s where the defense line comes in.
Your defense line should be built around the single biggest source of your complaints (or questions). This will vary depending on whether you offer a super-hot sauce, vintage clothes, or gorgeous jewelry.
However, this report from the European Consumer Centre (ECC) states that 80% of all complaints are related to product, payment process, terms and conditions, and delivery.
Based on that ECC list, that would mean, for example, you need to:
Ensure you have full product specifications on your product pages
Include the full price — including shipping
Make certain delivery time is crystal clear
Simplify terms and conditions
Be sure the return policy is visible at a glance
There’s more detail on optimizing your product page as defense line here. But once you have made the first steps on your defense line, you are already on your way to reducing the overall costs of your customer service.
To sum up: a profitable web store uses its most valuable source of information (its customers) to gather insights which make for a more effective operation. That’s why it is our third strategy pillar.
Keep a close eye on returns! By looking out for repetitive complaints in the color of a particular product, for example, you may be able to identify an issue with the photos depicting the product on the web page. Being aware of this, you not only fix the photos but reduce customer service complaints, and increase revenues, in the future. Simple. But smart.
Look out for stock-related issues. If you carry inventory, you know all about having to manage costs. By tracking customer questions or complaints on items not being in stock, for example, you gain insights into managing both costs and improving turnover. The same applies when you have a fulfilment partner. By monitoring the same questions and issues, you can find the right balance between carrying stock and missing out on sales.