The true cost of customer support (& how to optimize costs with Idiomatic)

Customer Experience

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Welcome to a world where customer support isn’t just a department—it’s the heartbeat to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. In today’s dynamic business landscape, the way companies support their customers plays a pivotal role in shaping brand perception and driving long-term relationships and ultimately, brand loyalty.

However, behind the scenes of high-quality customer service lies a challenge that customer service leaders grapple with daily: the financial puzzle of managing a support department. From salaries to software, office space to operational costs, the expenses can quickly pile up, putting pressure on budgets and resources.

(AI)-powered customer service software is here to change the game. We’re talking about a technological shift that can save valuable time and reduce inefficient expenses.

In this article, we’re looking into the real cost of customer support and how AI can lead to significant savings. 

Understanding customer support industry costs

So, what creates the total cost of running a customer support department? Here’s everything that goes into it. 

Labor costs 

First up, we have the heartbeat of the customer support team—the people—the ones who tirelessly listen, guide, and solve problems. But excellence comes with a price tag. Salaries, benefits, training—these pieces make up a significant portion of support centers. In the US, the average cost for a customer service agent is about $30-$40 per hour, including recruiting, HR, IT, training, and other onboarding costs. Some companies choose to cut costs by outsourcing their support agents, which can cost as low as $6-$10 per hour, but lead to a host of problems like lack of accountability, misalignment of company culture, and lack of control over processes. 

Operational costs

Picture the scene—office space humming with activity, computers diligently processing requests, and software orchestrating the symphony of support. These elements form the backbone of operational costs. Rent, equipment, software licenses—it all adds up. In fact, running an in-house call center can cost over $250,000 per year. Providing your team with the tools they need to succeed isn’t just a cost; it’s an investment in delivering top-notch customer experiences.

Customer churn costs

Companies, on average, lose $243 when they lose a customer.

When customers receive poor customer service, they may feel like they’re navigating a maze without a guide. This dissatisfaction can lead to churn, where customers bid farewell to your brand. The cost of acquiring new customers to replace those who left is a financial strain that shouldn’t be ignored. As you can see, these elements intertwine to form the tapestry of customer support costs. Every salary, every software license, every interaction—it’s all connected. But AI-powered solutions promise a new way to tackle these challenges.

The power of AI-driven customer service software

Now, imagine a world where technology steps up to shape the future of customer support—making it smarter, faster, and less costly. Enter AI, the digital companion poised to revolutionize how we deliver support.

AI-driven query responses

Picture this: AI working side by side with your customer service team, handling customer queries and providing answers and solutions immediately. This means. With AI-driven chatbots, customers get the help they need without the wait to talk to an agent. Companies can customize chatbots to emulate their brand voice and playbooks. 

Intelligent knowledge bases can also house large amounts of support information, assisting both agents and customers to deliver relevant answers and solutions in an instant.

AI-driven ticket management

Think of AI as a master organizer that not only enhances efficiency but also contributes to cost savings. By sorting through incoming support tickets and triaging them to the appropriate department, AI eliminates the need for manual labor to sift through piles of requests to find urgent ones. This targeted allocation of resources ensures that urgent issues are promptly addressed, averting potential escalations and costly delays. 

👉 See how Instacart tackled a 116% surge in contact volume with Idiomiatic’s intelligent ticket routing.

Understanding cost per ticket

AI paints an accurate picture of the value of each customer interaction by calculating the cost per support ticket. This insight empowers decision-making by providing a clear understanding of the financial impact of every support effort. This means you can strategically allocate resources, optimize processes, and prioritize areas that yield the most substantial return. Idiomatic takes it a step further, breaking down costs per help desk software channel, customer segment, and issue—giving you comprehensive insight.

Learn how Idiomatic helps you understand the true cost per support ticket below.

Automating analysis to reduce operational costs

AI offers more than just quick answers—it empowers data-driven decisions and streamlines operational efficiency. Imagine no longer slogging through data analytics manually; AI tools handle the heavy lifting. These tools scrutinize customer feedback data on a large scale, unveiling trends and anomalies that might have remained hidden. For instance, with Idiomatic’s contextual machine learning, you’ll uncover language nuances, revealing actionable insights that drive cost-effective improvements. This means you save valuable time and money, redirecting resources towards high-impact tasks rather than manual labor. 

Using insights for improvement and churn reduction

AI-generated wisdom doesn’t just stop at analysis—it guides your path to improvements and churn reduction. Harness the power of AI-generated trends and predictions to foresee issues before they escalate. Here’s where Idiomatic shines—its machine learning models churn out human-quality insights at scale. These insights aren’t just raw data; they’re actionable solutions that empower you to retain customers, address pain points, and foster lasting relationships. With Idiomatic, your data-driven improvements become truly meaningful, driving better customer experiences and boosting retention rates.

As you can see, AI isn’t just another tech buzzword—it’s a game-changer. It’s the customer service ally that streamlines processes, enhances customer interactions, and turns customer support into a competitive advantage.

Real-life examples: Cost savings with Idiomatic

Let’s put theory into practice and see how Idiomatic’s AI-powered platform has transformed real companies, leading to tangible cost savings and operational efficiencies.

Consider a telecommunications company faced with a variety of customer feedback—from network connectivity to billing. Using their custom-built AI models, they harnessed feedback from different sources such as emails and chats to surveys and social media posts.

  • Custom AI models in action: Idiomatic’s tailored AI models sorted through a maze of feedback, tagging and categorizing it to understand ticket volume per issue. 
  • Unveiling cost savings: Instead of the usual volume-based analysis, Idiomatic tapped into the true cost per interaction. This wasn’t just about counting tickets; the critical part was about counting costs. That shift led them to understand the average cost per customer support ticket, and the discovery that billing issues were the highest costing issue—$1,300,000 in fully loaded support costs, to be exact.
  • Drilling down: Idiomatic’s AI didn’t just stop at high-level categories—it dived deeper, highlighting the cost of specific issues within the billing category. Idiomatic unearthed a pattern that charge disputes were costing a staggering $284,000 in one month.  Without this insight, the company might have focused on high-volume tickets over high-costing tickets. 
  • Actionable insights for smart moves: Armed with these insights, the company’s support strategy might change to focus on automating charge dispute responses, streamlining workflows, or crafting self-service resources aiming to reduce customer service costs. 

Actionable tips for implementing AI in customer support

Ready to start saving money on customer support using AI? Here’s a simple roadmap to help you navigate the journey:

  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis: Before diving into AI integration, it’s crucial to gauge the potential impact. You’ll want to understand your fully loaded support costs, where your biggest costs are coming from, and how much money you can potentially save by implementing AI. As well, you’ll want to understand how much time and effort will go into set up and how this affects costs in the long run.  
  • Choose the right AI solution: Not all AI solutions are created equal. Just as Idiomatic stands out as a best-in-class product, strive to find a solution that seamlessly aligns with your organization’s specific requirements. Look for a solution that not only brings down costs but also promotes superior customer service. Consider factors like ease of integration, scalability, and the ability to cater to various data sources.

👉 Idiomatic’s white glove implementation doesn’t require engineering resources and can get you up and running within 2 weeks.

  • Collaborate with agents: AI isn’t meant to replace human touch; it’s here to amplify it. Engage your support agents in the customer support process—they’re the front liners who understand customer and operational pain points better than anyone else, which can guide your decisions. 

Unlock the cost-saving potential with Idiomatic 

As you embark on this transformative journey, consider Idiomatic as your steadfast partner in not only enhancing customer support but also driving cost efficiencies. . With its custom AI models, holistic data processing capabilities, and knack for deciphering customer sentiment, Idiomatic promises a new realm of possibilities. It’s not just about AI; it’s about propelling your customer support toward a future where efficiency and satisfaction intersect harmoniously, leading to optimized costs and improved ROI.

Ready to revolutionize your support landscape? Request a custom demo for Idiomatic’s AI-powered platform today.

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