How many times have you had an issue with a product at odd hours and couldn’t get the support you needed? Your customers may be feeling the same way. It’s a buyer’s market right now and the demand for 24/7 customer support is growing.
If companies don’t meet those needs, customers can churn and use a competitor — something that is disastrous in the best circumstances, and much worse in an economic recession. In fact, nearly half of all customers consider 24/7 customer support — in real time — a component of good customer service.
So, let’s talk about 24/7 customer support and whether it’s right for your business.
What is 24/7 customer support?
To start, we need to understand what 24/7 customer support is.
24/7 customer support is exactly what it sounds like. It means customers are able to find answers to questions and get assistance as soon as they need it, no matter what time of day it is.
What does this mean practically? It means that you need to have some customer support reps on hand at all times to help customers with any issue they have with your product — no matter when a support request comes in.
And if you're asking yourself whether this is really necessary, it's important to keep in mind that good customer support is essential — especially in SaaS. If most customers have come to expect 24/7 support, then that is something you will need to provide.
24/7 customer support is especially important for businesses that operate internationally, because their 9-5 won’t be the same as another part of the world.
24/7 customer support is typically offered through multichannel support, which is a crucial component.
Typically, the channels 24/7 customer support are offered through include:
- Social media
- Self-help knowledge bases
- Live chats
Having multichannel support gives customers the option to choose their preferred method of seeking answers to problems.
What businesses need to provide 24/7 customer support?
24/7 customer support can benefit many different types of businesses. Whether you need to implement it or not depends on your product and customer base.
For example, SaaS businesses should definitely offer 24/7 customer support since customers will usually be international. SaaS issues can arise at any time of day and are usually immediate, so having a live team available 24/7 for troubleshooting is going to keep customers happy and using your products.
eCommerce businesses are in the same boat. When you’re offering products online, your customer base isn’t limited to the time zone you live in. 24/7 customer support creates happy customers and loyalty to your brand.
Other businesses that should consider 24/7 customer support include:
- Legal offices
- Insurance agencies
- Medical offices
- Real estate companies
Businesses such as law firms and medical offices don’t abide by the rules of the 9-5 workday, and neither do questions about those services. While these types of businesses may not need a live agent on call 24 hours a day, chat bot services can be a good way to cover your bases.
What businesses don’t need to provide 24/7 support?
While many businesses benefit from 24/7 customer support, there are some businesses where it’s not necessary. For example, if your business is local with no online presence, 24/7 customer support likely isn’t needed. Your customer base is living in the same area as you, so support can be provided during your normal working hours.
Similarly, if you're a B2C or D2C brand that doesn't offer eCommerce, 24/7 support is not needed. Pop-up businesses that operate in different locations will also not need to offer this service.
5 Benefits of 24/7 customer support
Now that we know all about what customer support is, let’s talk about the benefits it has for your business.
As the majority of businesses have started to offer online services, 24/7 customer support has come to be expected. 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to do business with a company and you'll be docked points if your customer support team is not available when they need it to be.
Helps increase CSAT scores
It can also help increase your CSAT scores, because CSAT is strongly linked to first response time (FRT.) FRT is the amount of time it takes from when the customer submits an issue to when they get a response. In one study, an increase in FRT from 3.9 minutes to 30 minutes led to CSAT scores falling from 92.5% to 85%.
Allows you to cater to international customers
Conducting business online means that you and your customers are likely in different time zones. 24/7 customer support allows you to cater to international customers, no matter where in the world they are.
Get ahead of minor issues before they become major problems
Implementing 24/7 customer support allows you to get ahead of minor issues before they become major problems. This will save your business time, energy and potential costs down the line. For example, If a user reaches out to say their web app isn’t loading, you can troubleshoot and solve the issue before it becomes a system-wide service outage.
Can be made available to premium customers
You can also offer 24/7 customer support as a premium feature. That means that customers must be on premium or enterprise plans where you can provide even more value at a higher price point. Providing priority customer support at those tiers can even tempt customers to upgrade from lower tiers.
The most effective ways to provide 24/7 support
Offering 24/7 customer support doesn’t need to break the bank. There are several ways to offer this service efficiently and cost-effectively.
Create a self-help knowledge center
First, you should spend time creating a comprehensive self-help knowledge center for your customers. That way, they can easily find answers to simple questions which frees up resources for more complicated level 3 support requests.
Automation can ease support burdens and tackle level 1 support requests. It’s important that you use automation the right way, because most customers still find heavy amounts of automation a turn-off.
Get your whole company involved
This step is especially important if you’re a startup or scale-up. Not only will this make the lives of your support team easier, but it allows you to get to know your customers better. Note that this won’t work for every business: some products are too complicated and there may be compliance issues if you store and process sensitive information.
Offer multichannel support
Offer multichannel support and technology to corral all support requests you get on social media, your website, through email and other channels into one dashboard so it’s easy to respond to everything.
Have a proactive support culture
Rather than waiting for customers to reach out, take initiative and reach out to them as soon as you see an issue. If you’re wondering how to spot issues without customers letting you know first, consider investing in a sessions replay product like Fullview.
Should companies outsource 24/7 support?
Outsourcing is a popular money-saving option for small businesses. While you can outsource 24/7 customer support, you can lose control of the process and quality. Some areas you can outsource, but we don’t recommend it for 24/7 customer support — especially if your product is technical and requires your support agents to have extensive training to resolve customer issues. Having the right technology, proactive support practices and a comprehensive knowledge base can go a long way in and of themselves.
Wrapping things up
The bottom line is that 24/7 customer support isn’t going anywhere. Businesses offering SaaS and eCommerce to their customer base should be investing in programs to implement 24/7 support. This will not only improve the customer experience, but it will also reduce support burdens and decrease employee turnover in the long run.