Are Your Support Staff Affecting Your Bottom Line?

by desley
5 replies
Hi All,
The above is a question I would like to pose to all Internet Marketers and Online Business Entrepreneurs.

Are you for the sake of cutting costs employing support staff who whilst their services may come cheaper than other support staff are actually affecting your bottom line; increasing your refunds rates and damaging your brand and reputation online.

Now whilst everyone wants to save $$$ and get the best value for their hard earned dollars - are you really saving dollars if your bottom line is leaking like sieve because you've gone for the cheap option when contracting support staff than really seriously considering every support staff team member can either enhance or decrease your business big time.

Now you may wonder what I'm talking about here well I'll give you a few clues:
  • If you want to sell your products across the globe, then ensure you have support staff team members who are native speakers for your customers.
  • You may pay more for your support staff however overall you will increase your customers satisfaction and they will in turn become your best advocates for any products you product now and in the future
  • Cheap is not always best.
  • Your customers are your biggest asset and your best ongoing revenue stream. Treat them well and they will return time after time.

I have had occassion with a couple of very well know marketers who have contracted support staff that have seen me literally spinning my wheels for days on end because of trying to get the support staff to actually understand the issues and address same.

Instead these support staff cannot even read a file with screenshots of each step in order to highlight the issues are with the product and not with me as a customer!!!

In fact I'm on the verge of literally requesting full refunds and the sad part about all this is all I really want is for a support staff member to stop blaming me as the customer, actually understand and address the issues I'm highlighting as bugs in their system; so I can get on with implementing the product the way it was intended to enhance my business.

Now I spent big on this product including taking out premium support and for my efforts, I've been left high and dry, had my repeated requests for a senior support staff member to ring me to discuss the issues and potential strategies.

By the way, if you are going to offer premium support to your customers then at least have the courtesy and the guts to invest in an online support chat system. Because this is not available to me as a premium customer I have been literally spinning my wheels for days on end going backwards and forwards via email which is a sheer waste of my time and energy.

Okay so I've had a good rant in this thread. However, I sincerely hope that you as a product owner/developer/marketer do take notice. If you want to sell your products then have the courtesy and the guts to contract support staff who can fluently speak the native language of your customers. Even if you started small, i.e. one native speaking support staff member at a time as your customer base grows. You'll be thanking your support staff down the track for the excellent service they are providing to your customers because your customers will return again and again to buy products/services off you.

If you don't believe me, then go check out the big boys in internet land i.e. Siteground webhosting, Go to Webinar and the like. All have online support chat functions and all provide support staff in their customers native language.

If you want to play as a big boy or girl, then ensure your customer base is very happy with the support staff service they're being provided.

Many thanks,
Talk to you soon,
Desley
#affecting #bottom #line #staff #support
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    There are tons of contact centers in the Philippines that help companies like AT&T convert UNHAPPY customers (inbound calls) into actual ADD-ON SALES.

    It all boils down to the right script and skilled CSRs
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    • Profile picture of the author desley
      Hi Writeaway,
      Yes, you're right. There are contact centres in the Philippines who do support and assist the companies they're contracted to provide support for.

      However, I have found many online marketing gurus are going for the real cheap options and as a result their bottom lines are leaking like sieves because they don't have the guts to really put their money where their mouths are when it comes to providing support.

      Hence, why I started this thread. To actually encourage online marketers regardless of what stage their business is in to actually seriously consider whether they are not only leaking dollars at their bottom line but also increasing the annoyance and frustration their customers experience by contracting staff who either cannot speak and understand fluently the native language of their customers - thereby ruining their online brand and reputations big time.
      So for the sake of paying for high quality support staff they go with the cheapest option and believe me - there are big companies in Australia who do the same thing and wow they consider themselves so above the norm they don't give one toss for their customers and people are starting to take out class actions as a result.
      It's one thing to be making $$$. It's another thing entirely to put oneself in the shoes of one's customers and really take off the stardust on what a great person I am for producing such a product to experiencing the journey of their customers literally experience with their support staff.
      This is the real issue - these marketers are so up themselves they don't give a toss for their customers and the experiences they have. If they did they would be undertaking webinar consultations or regular surveys to check in with their customers and their experiences of the support they're either receiving or in fact not receiving.
      Thanks again for your comment.

      Desley
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  • This is the real issue - these marketers are so up themselves they don't give a toss for their customers and the experiences they have. If they did they would be undertaking webinar consultations or regular surveys to check in with their customers and their experiences of the support they're either receiving or in fact not receiving.
    Speaking as someone who has handled customer support, I can say for a fact that most of our problems actually stems from customers not getting the product or service that they paid for. So by the time they get in touch with us, they're just angry. So instead of providing support and value, we're busy putting out fires.
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  • Profile picture of the author desley
    Hi John,
    Yes, you are so right with this perspective also. My take is a lot of online marketers are so intent in getting their product/service to the market they have failed to consider the impact on their customers who have placed their trust in them to purchase their product/service in the first place.

    Therefore customers literally are being short shifted to a large degree. Maybe some genuine planning without the star dust or $$$ signs in their eyes would assist to a huge degree.

    I would have thought it would be common business sense to consider as many scenarios as possible. By this I mean:

    * If I have x number of sales, how will this impact on my customers and support staff if I do not have x y and z in place to handle the volume.

    * If I have sales from this section of the globe how can I ensure my customers receive the most positive customer experience possible and become repeat customers for my products and services.

    * If I am to sell this product/service exactly what strategies have I developed to eliminate as many bugs or flaws from the product/service which ensures I can in fact handle the volume of new and/or repeat customers taking up the product or service.

    * What training am I required to undertake with my support staff to ensure they're able to handle every potential ? or issue that customers may present with.

    * Do I need to contract more staff from a specific country to ensure my customers from this country are able to communicate effectively with my support staff.

    * What other processes and systems do I need to put into effect to ensure if my first level support staff cannot deal with the ? or issues then they can quickly refer to the more experienced support staff.

    * How do my customers want to communicate their ? or issues, that will meet the needs of my customers as well as my support staff. Let's face it waiting 24-48 + hours for a response and then only to be asked to do the same thing repeatedly is not an effective use of my support staff, not to mention will increase the annoyance and/or anger level of my customers.

    Now whilst we're all human and we don't have crystal balls so to speak, we can all do some basic planning and implementation which will increase customer satisfaction.

    However, you're right in many respects if the product/service has been poorly designed from the outset then no amount of friendly and supportive support staff will ease the angst of customers. The support staff become the genuine meat in the sandwich so to speak and as you have quite rightly pointed out are more intent on putting out fires than delivering great customer service.

    Again, I say it does come down to fully testing one's product/systems/services to the inth degree rather than saying, that's close enough, and then expect customers to put up with trying to implement a shoddy put together product/service or support staff who simply cannot cope with the sheer volume.

    A little example outside the online marketing niche. I have NBN (which is the national broadband network) and contracted an overseas disrupter company to deliver my broadband. All was going well until I decreased my plan therefore monthly payments. For 4 months I had to jump up and down da de da. After 4 months I wrote to the Communications Ombudsman in Aussie land to layout my complaint. I had been previously asking to speak to Australian supervisors da de da. Anyway magically an Aussie customer complaints handling guy got on the phone. During the course of the conversation he told me the reason the company hadn't put a complaints form on their website is they are getting too many complaints they have to handle from the Communications Ombudsman. I pointed out to the guy, the reason people are going to the Ombudsman is because they simply cannot get their complaints addressed effectively and as a last resort have to go to the Ombudsman to get the issues rectified!!!

    Moral of the story. If you want to stop complaints, give customers genuine access to have their complaints resolved quickly, painlessly, effectively and easily regardless of whether your main systems are overseas or in the country the customers reside in. Not only will you stop chasing your tail, you'll increase your brand and customer retention big time. As it was once my initial complaint was resolved by a person who had the authority to resolve it, I no longer have any issues with my NBN provider and am quite happy to continue paying for the service they deliver.

    Many thanks,
    Desley
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  • Profile picture of the author ctrlaltdelete
    Hi,

    Just wanted to say that you've raised some very good points. I do agree that cheap isn't always the best. Although I do prefer outsourcing to VAs in the Philippines, I don't just pick the one who offers the cheapest rates. I pick a few options that range from dirt cheap to expensive, compare them, and see who gives the best output. Sometimes I get suprised when the most skilled of them all charges very low prices for their services, although most of the time they charge quite moderately. Eh, it's a good investment if you hire someone with good quality work.

    And yes, we should really take language barriers into consideration. It takes a huge load off your shoulders if everyone understands each other.
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