Photo by Jade Scarlato on Unsplash
We live in a world where everything is available on demand.
If we want a pizza at 3 AM, then we just take out our phone and order from our favorite delivery service app.
Many of us don’t wait until the latest television series is available on TV because we subscribe to any number of different on-demand services which give us access to thousands of films and shows at the click of a button, day or night.
So why should customer service be any different? In the “always-on” culture of the 2020s, it’s vital that your organization adapts to exceed expectations in the customer experience.
In this post, we’ll take you through the main reasons for implementing customer support on a 24/7 basis, how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help, and offer some next steps for putting it in place.
1. Customers demand it
Customers today demand fast responses to their questions. 90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define "immediate" as 10 minutes or less.
Put another way: If you don’t run a 24/7 service, then you have no chance of meeting the exacting standards of modern consumers.
And there’s every sign that coming generations will be even more demanding when it comes to time.
According to HubSpot, 71% of consumers between 16-24 believe a quick response from a customer service team drastically improves their experience. Waiting for your customer support staff to wake up won’t cut it with Generation Z.
2. Knowledge is power...at all times
What is the most empowering thing you can give your customers? Knowledge.
Equipping your customers with the knowledge to help them self-serve is one of the best ways to save them — and you — loads of time on the phone or over email.
For example, why spend a long phone conversation explaining how they can change their password when a quick video or text summary on your website will help them achieve the same result faster?
This is especially true in “out of hours” situations when accessing your company knowledge base is an extremely useful option for everyone concerned.
READ MORE: 14 powerful stats that prove the importance of self-service in the customer experience
3. Improve the customer experience, improve sales
A Gartner reportfound that customer experience is “the new battlefield” for customers. A staggering 89% of companies expect to compete mainly on the basis of customer experience.
If your customer experience only extends to your opening hours, it’s time to assess whether that’s good enough. After all, we know the difference the customer experience makes to your bottom line.
An American Express study showed that happy American customers share their positive experiences with about 11 people. But angry customers will share their negative experiences with about 15 people.
There’s also evidence to suggest that answering a question quickly during the consideration process translates to better sales figures. Don’t miss out on those sales, whatever the time of day.
A better customer experience means more sales, better customer retention, and greater loyalty.
4. Inspire confidence and trust in your brand
How do you want your brand to appear? Accessible? Trustworthy? Dynamic?
I suspect the answer to all three above is “yes.” Customers do buy into the brand when they make purchasing decisions. It’s what makes companies like Apple a huge success.
How dynamic, trustworthy, or accessible will your organization appear if they can’t get customer support whenever they want it, in a convenient format?
They may choose to go with a different company that offers 24/7 customer support instead
5. Stop the backlog before it becomes a backlog
If your customers send inquiries overnight, then your customer support agents are likely to log on first thing in the morning with a long list of time-sensitive requests.
This creates a backlog before they’ve even started, leaving longer waits for customers who have requests during the day.
Getting on top of the answerable questions with AI as a Service (AIaaS) tools is one way to prevent this queue before it’s even formed.
And responding to these issues promptly means you’ll minimize the impact they have. By stopping them from having to wait for a response, you decrease your customer’s stress levels. Win-win!
6. Embrace international opportunities
The potential for global sales has never been greater. The possibilities opened up by the internet and “long tail” searches allow you to sell to places you’ve never even heard of!
But if these potential customers can’t access support in their time zone, they may feel your product or service is not for them.
Don’t exclude people from different regions, embrace them with 24/7 customer service.
7. AI as a Service makes it easy
With the advent of AI as a Service (AIaaS) technology, there’s really no excuse not to offer 24/7 customer service.
Developments in AI mean connecting relevant answers from your knowledge base to your customer questions is now easier than ever, thus enabling your customers to self-serve quickly.
This means no matter what the time or where they are in the world, your customers have a way to get in touch with you.
Think of AI as your best employee who doesn’t need sleep and can deal with multiple inquiries simultaneously.
But be careful with the AI solution you choose. A poorly designed solution will create more work for you and the user. Pick a state-of-the-art (or “next-generation”) tool to ensure it’s fit for purpose.
READ MORE: Conversational AI: to chatbot or not to chatbot?
Great service never sleeps. So what’s next?
So you’ve decided your organization needs 24/7 customer support. What should you do to make it happen?
As we stated above, Artificial Intelligence is making this possible for thousands of companies worldwide.
There are many AI tools out there allowing customer self-service. Naturally, we think Raffle Site Search is the best out there! But you should assess the options and how they fit into your organization's overall strategy.
Consider how quickly you wish the solution to be implemented and how easily it can be integrated with your existing methods of communicating with your customers. The next step is getting buy-in from your company and contacting the relevant vendors.
We will be blogging on these topics in the near future, so keep your eyes open for our guides to building a business case for AI in customer service and our guide to choosing an AIaaS solution.
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