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You’re paying too much for customer support tickets — here’s why

Chances are you’re overpaying for your customer support system, and it’s not even your fault. It turns out that the most popular customer support channels also happen to be the most expensive. The status quo is expensive, so many customer support directors are not even aware that they are paying too much per ticket. You have to ask yourself: are you capturing resolution efficiency by exploring emerging technology, or defaulting to legacy channels and losing money?

The key to customer support is reducing cost per ticket without sacrificing customer experience. Customer support is a delicate balancing act between customer experience and internal cost — if the scale tips too much in either direction, you run the risk of alienating your client base or overpaying. Luckily, there is a way to find equilibrium between customer need and internal cost: increasing electronic tickets.

Customer support tickets landscape

Do you know how much you spend on each ticket? You probably have an idea, but your system might process thousands, maybe millions, of tickets, so every dollar counts. Huge savings can be uncovered by reconsidering your customer support channels. For most companies, the costs per channel are as follows:

  • Phone based tickets — The tried-and-true but also the most expensive.
    • Average cost: >$15 - $25/ticket and products that require technical expertise can go between $35 - $75
  • Chat tickets — Such as real-time, agent controlled chat windows.
    • Average cost: $8 - $15/ticket. The expectation is that the customer experience is similar to a call, and many inquiries are redirected to the phone anyway.
  • Electronic tickets — Example: Email, web forms, text, social, forums
    • Average cost: $3 - $7/ticket (depending on the level of insourcing/outsourcing)
    • These are the most cost effective & efficient channels. Contrary to popular belief, electronic tickets are designed to address complex transactions such as refunds, exchanges, dynamic content like shipping/tracking, and many more.
    • Electronic tickets can replace any of the options listed above by integrating artificial intelligence into an existing support system which automates macros/responses.
    • Integrating asynchronous where possible is a great cost savings measure and has tremendous benefits if implemented correctly.

You need to evaluate the paradigm of cost per support channel because sticking with what is familiar is costing you. As customer support managers we need to be practical and frugal about balancing costs and customer experience. First, we need to move past the chatbot fad and the myth that email/text based support is a legacy channel.

Shifting the balance to electronic tickets will create a significant boost in your bottom line.

Automation is possible with electronic ticketing

Other than immediate cost savings, the major advantage of electronic tickets is the opportunity for automation. AI can improve ticket resolution efficiency by automating responses to a large volume of similar or identical questions. The only criteria for effective automation is that ticket volume is at least 10,000 tickets per month. Do you have >10K tickets? Automation can double agent productivity and save you over 25% of your costs.

Automation is not an all or nothing arrangement. Automating even a small percentage of tickets saves businesses thousands of dollars in the long run. Consider the math:

  • Business A handles 10,000 tickets a month without the aid of automation.
    • Each ticket costs, on average, $10.
    • Business A will spend around $100,000 in customer support a month.
  • Now, consider Business B which also handles 10,000 tickets a month, at the same $10/ticket cost but automates 30 percent of inquiries. Meaning 3,000 tickets are automated.
    • Business B will spend around $70,000 on customer support —  saving $30,000 a month.

Annual savings can range in the millions for a company that has over 100,000 tickets per month. This is a game changer! Plus, the savings scales as ticket frequency increases. All of this is possible by integrating automation into customer support.

You can improve efficiency through AI augmentation

This is all great news, but what about the percentage of tickets that cannot be automated? Electronic ticketing offers ways to save even when tickets require human interaction and cannot be automated.

Studies show there is a direct correlation between handle time and ticket cost —  this relationship is intuitive since long handle times require extra labor or expertise. With this in mind, savings through electronic ticketing becomes fairly obvious: decreasing handle time saves on ticket costs.

AI is emerging as a must-have technology for companies to get ahead of long resolution times. The machine learning process can be easily applied to electronic tickets. AI observes customer service interactions, and after a period of learning, offers recommended responses to decrease handle time and improve customer satisfaction. With every resolved ticket the technology learns to streamline the resolution process to apply to future inquiries.

Electronic ticketing is cheaper, more efficient and subject to automation — a win-win-win for customer support optimization. Learn more about how AnswerIQ machine learning technology improves support processes without sacrificing customer satisfaction.

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Topics: Customer Support, Cost

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