When seeking ways to cut costs from your business the easiest way is to short-change your customers. After all, you can’t really skimp on creating the product, because if you did no one would buy it to begin with. But once you have your customers’ money, there’s no easier way to increase profitability than to limit customer service expenditures. Support costs too high? No problem:
- Outsource – There are loads of up-and-coming markets where laborers are willing (grateful even) to work for 50% the wages.
- Decrease support hours – If you can’t find cheaper labor, have your team work fewer hours, or days. (See article: USPS reducing number of delivery days.)
- Fire your qualified representatives and replace them with unqualified service representatives – Not as obvious as other options, this one guarantees that your internal metrics like ASA (average speed of answer) remain pristine while you cut costs.
April Fool’s! (Did I “trick” you?) If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that I do NOT endorse this approach. Cutting costs is not the same as saving money. Yet companies quite often resort to twisted logic like this when they seek ways to boost bottom line performance.
Is there a way to improve bottom line performance while outsourcing, for example? Definitely. The key is to keep the customer experience in mind. Outsourcing itself isn’t bad. The company to which you outsource service must understand your goals and must have incentives when they perform and penalties if they don’t. If one service goal is to pick up calls quickly, it makes sense to track ASA. But if your goal is customer satisfaction, measuring NetPromoter scores makes more sense. (Ideally, your company has already identified how strongly ASA and customer satisfaction are related.)
Are there legitimate ways to cut costs in the methods above? Absolutely but only if your company keeps customer needs foremost in their minds. Otherwise, expect heavy losses in customer trust, loyalty, and business. And expect customers to be [negatively] vocal about your products and services.
The pivot point(s): (1) cheating customers eventually harms the enterprise and (2) the key to implementing cost-cutting measures is to continue to deliver a quality customer experience.
April Fool’s aside, which companies have you worked with who were willing to cheat customers out of their hard-earned money to satisfy their demand for short-term profitability?