With advancing technology and evolving consumerism, the customer service landscape has taken on different forms. In the past, consumers could only reach out to customer service via the phone and/or email. However, with the emergence of digital and social channels, customer service has expanded into all these channels as well.
Not to mention, customers today are more demanding. A study has shown that 82% of consumers expect a response within 10 minutes. It is important to note that this response time will affect the overall customer satisfaction score and experience, which in turn will influence sales growth. Consumers increasingly expect quick responses 24/7 and social channels are becoming their preferred channels for customer service.
According to Salesforce, 78% of consumers will repurchase products from a brand even after an issue as long as there is solid customer service. Moreover, 38% of customers say they will recommend the company to someone they know if the customer service is good.
Contrary to popular belief, customer service is just as important as marketing because they are the team who has contact with customers and prospects the most. They represent the company brand and image. Therefore customer service is crucial because it retains customers and extracts value from them.
And because social channels are the consumers’ preferred medium for communication, you can hire a virtual customer service agent to help you and/or your team during non-business and peak hours especially when business is growing. Your overall productivity will be enhanced and there are additional benefits to hiring a customer service agent.
Here, we explain 30 benefits of hiring a virtual customer service agent:
Cost And Time Saving
1. Cut down on operational costs
This is probably the primary reason for hiring a virtual customer service agent, particularly for small businesses. When you hire a virtual assistant instead of a full time employee, you no longer need to rent an office space or pay a fixed monthly salary each month. This helps cut down on operational costs when you have a virtual team of customer service agents working remotely.
2. Save money on training
A virtual customer service agent is a trained professional who knows how to create smooth and personable customer interactions so you do not have to spend time or resources to train them.
3. No need to pay office expenses
As the name suggests, a virtual customer service agent works remotely so you do not need to rent a physical office space nor do you need to spend money on office supplies, expensive team lunches or utilities.
4. Save on employee benefits
Hiring employees means added costs – salary, medical and leave benefits, insurance etc. All these can be done with by hiring a virtual agent and you can use the money saved to reinvest into your business, putting the resources into use more efficiently.
Keep Your Customers Happy
5. Personal touch
Technology and automation may have simplified many processes but customers still prefer to deal with an actual human being instead of a robot. Your virtual customer service agent can interact with customers to infer that personal touch while using technology and automation as assistance.
6. Available 24/7
Regardless of the day and time, your virtual agent will be ready to assist customers and this prompt response time goes a long way into building rapport and increasing your brand trust.
7. Increased customer satisfaction
When you have a trained professional to handle enquiries and complaints smoothly, your customers will walk away from every interaction, feeling valued and happy. A virtual customer service agent will be able to deal with peak call volumes, prioritise time according to the severity of customer issues and dramatically reduce response times, improving the total customer satisfaction score and resulting naturally in good PR for your business.
8. Impress potential customers
In this modern age, customers still value referrals and every current customer you have has the potential to multiply new customers for you by 5X, 10X or even 100X! That is why hiring a virtual customer service agent will be the smart way to attract customers with the quality of support they receive.
9. Continual customer loyalty
A great customer service agent will bring free positive publicity in terms of referrals, reviews and online recommendations. When the customers are happy with your service, they are more likely to reward your business with their loyalty.
10. Bilingual support
Depending on which country your virtual agent is from, he/ she can at least interact with customers in 2 languages. If you have plans for international expansion or if your market share belongs to a different geographical location, hiring a virtual customer service agent will be a wise move.
11. Extend business hours
When you hire a virtual agent from a different time zone, you naturally extend your business hours because when you are sleeping, he/ she will be answering the enquiries on your behalf. In this way, your business hours are extended without the additional expense of hiring multiple people.
Improve Brand Trust
Quick and efficient customer service can do wonders for your branding so it is recommended to hire a virtual agent to leave a lasting good impression on your customers.
You will notice that consistency is an important aspect to creating brand trust and when your virtual customer service agent provides smooth, seamless and consistent service, this automatically becomes a magnet to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
14. Cross-channel support
Today, customers can contact you through many channels – email, Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram or live chat etc. When communication modes are provided, you must be readily available to respond so hiring a virtual agent can help you take care of all these while you focus on growing your sales as well as business strategies.
15. Run a multilingual enterprise
In many ecommerce businesses, they operate on a global scale so it will be great when customers can communicate with someone from their country. When you hire country-specific agents, it minimises the risk of miscommunication and makes customers feel a familiar sense of kinship, building the rapport better.
16. Outsource minor tasks
As business owners, you need to wear multiple hats every single day. One recommended tip to increase your productivity is to outsource mundane tasks like customer service to a virtual agent who does not need much hand holding so you can focus your attention on areas that matter to business growth.
17. Increase efficiency
Most repetitive and mundane tasks can be safely outsourced to virtual assistants as they are highly trained. You can focus on data collection and analysis to build stronger customer relationships through data-driven marketing and growing your business.
18. Focus on core responsibilities
Customer service is an ancillary activity that supports your core business functions. When you hire a virtual agent, you can concentrate on key areas that directly affect growth, productivity and the competitive edge.
19. Reduce employee workload
Customer satisfaction is crucial to business growth and sometimes, employees might find themselves taking on tasks that are not meant for them or your customer service team might be overloaded during peak season. A virtual customer service agent can free up your employees’ time so they can truly focus on their jobs and on more complex work.
20. Decrease unnecessary pressure
One or two people on your core team might be responsible for customer service functions but there needs to be a match between how much needs to be done and how much they can actually cover. To create productivity, outsource routine tasks to a virtual agent and maximise your team productivity.
21. Up that competitive edge
Maintaining your competitive edge in business is created by innovation and value chains that are difficult to replicate. Customer service is one such area that once it is properly developed, it can increase your competitive advantage.
Scalability With Ease
22. Take fluctuations into account
Many small businesses suffer when faced with a sudden temporary increase in customer demands as their infrastructure is designed to handle limited customer volumes. Hence if the customer demands are not handled promptly, they might end up losing business. A virtual agent is experienced in handling such fluctuations and will help ensure that customer retention rates stay high.
23. Effectively reduce employee turnover
When employees resign, they can be a real loss to the company especially when you have spent resources and time to train, causing serious consequences in some cases. A virtual customer service agent is able to work from home without spending hours on the daily commute so the risk of frustrated employees showing up at work is negligible. When employees are happy, the probability of them leaving is lower.
24. Reallocation of manpower
All small business owners have experienced sudden emergencies where they need to reallocate manpower elsewhere but customer service is an important function that needs to be running at all times. By hiring a virtual agent, you can be assured that someone is readily available for support when customers reach out.
25. Greater flexibility
Scaling your customer service team is easier with remote agents who work independently. It also makes hiring and onboarding easier, faster and more flexible because you can scale easily for a short period of time or for the long term.
26. Access to expertise
A virtual agent possesses in-depth knowledge of their field and this enables them to efficiently handle all the ancillary activities as well as primary customer support functions, providing a great boost to your business.
27. Skilled data collection
When handling customers, the virtual agent would have the right opportunity to create customer profiles and build huge data banks. They can also conduct simple data analysis and identify patterns in customer demographics so you can fine tune your retargeting strategies quickly.
28. Large talent pool
At times, it can be difficult to find the right talent for your customer service team especially when you are limited to your local talent pool. By expanding the talent search online, you can find a greater number of qualified professionals, giving you the resources to build a trained team.
29. Better work-life balance
It is important to take regular breaks as small business owners to recharge and to top it off, supervising mundane activities such as customer service can eat into your time when you already have so much to do. Therefore, hiring a virtual customer service agent will increase your productivity as he/ she is a trained professional who does not need much training or supervision, helping you to manage the customer service operations smoothly.
30. Faster recruitment
The traditional recruitment process usually takes up to several weeks to find the right candidate which will put a drain on your time and productivity. Hiring a virtual agent will remove this problem from you, all you need to do is sign up for one on a trusted platform like Kuubiik and you will be able to fill the position in just a few hours.
In summary, small business owners need to be able to maximise their resources for business growth while increasing their own productivity. Hiring a virtual customer service agent will give you that needed 25th hour, giving you the ability to achieve your business goals.