Part 2: B2B Customer Support: Cost Center or Profit Center?
Perceiving customer support as a cost center or profit center can result in two drastically different viewpoints on emerging support channels.
Did you miss Part 1 of this series? It was quite a show! Luckily, you can still go back and read it! We’re looking at different B2B customer support channels from two distinctly opposite perspectives: cost center (support is a necessary evil of business) and profit center (support can hold its own in the revenue generation conversation).
In Part 2 we are looking at two of the most modern support channels, self-service and visual support. And we’ve got a bonus at the end!
Cost center: There’s no way we’re going to offer support outside of normal business hours, but dang we’re getting tired of coming back every morning to a huge ticket queue and a lot of voicemails. So, let’s take some of our scripted templates we have for responding to tickets and throw them online for our customers to find. This way when we’re not around, our most ambitious customers can fumble through the documents and try to solve their own problems.
Profit center: Self-service is a great channel for letting customers educate themselves on not only how to solve a problem, but also about your entire business. Sure, it can reduce ticket and phone volume which helps save money, but often self-service is a last resort or a supplementary resource for customers. Agents who utilize B2B customer support software that allows for self-service content to be quickly inserted into ticket or chat conversations can solve problems and increase self-service awareness at the same time.
Cost center: Solving a customer problem via screen share or video chat is just too much work. There are so many variables at work and I’m sure it isn’t cheap. And some of our agent work stations are kind of a mess, so we’d have to clean things up to be more visually appealing. We would also run into technical issues trying to connect to customers that we don’t have time for. By the time one screen share or video chat happens, we could have closed a half dozen tickets.
Profit center: Especially in this decade where working and providing support remotely has become commonplace, we recognize that the benefits of visual support far outweigh any negatives. Leading B2B customer support software solutions provide visual support options with no additional cost, and this technology can turn complex email chains into 15-minute screen share conversations. The time savings of properly leveraging visual support is huge, so much so that some customers view it as an essential support feature and don’t want to be supported in any other way once they see the power of these tactics.
BONUS! Support Operations
While not a channel, the perception of support operations (such as data measurement, team morale, and reporting) can also vary greatly.
Cost center: Our CEO told us a few metrics he wants us to keep an eye on, so we do. We’ll present them once or twice a year to him and a couple leadership team members, but our main focus is spending as little money as possible. We don’t really do much as a team and that may be why our department has such high turnover. A lot of our “event” budget honestly goes towards hiring fairs and temp agencies.
Profit center: Employee retention is a top focus for our B2B support team. We are constantly monitoring metrics, including what channels agents are most productive on and what customers they work the best with. We put agents in a position to succeed because their positivity helps to keep customer distress scores down and improves internal relationships. Our team knows each other and our customers (some of our team members have quite a fan base), something we leverage as management, not only to retain employees but also as a key sales point when we are looking to expand our existing pipeline.
As you can see between the two parts of this series, the difference in perspective is profound. Be a person who sees support as a profit center, not a cost center, turn up your amp, and spread the word!
About the Author:
Mark Roos is a Product Specialist for TeamSupport. With over a decade of experience in product strategy, Mark is well-versed in successfully creating a strategy that works for companies. He's also a musician!
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