Do Response Times for Sales Need to be Better than Those for Support?

A recent Gallup poll found that only 29% of B2B customers are engaged, with the remaining 71% either indifferent or actively disengaged. What are the reasons for this? What can you do to have better figures? Why shouldn't the polling results be completely the opposite, meaning you have more B2B customers engaged than disengaged? 

Why is it that when calling a Sales department the call is answered quickly but for Support there's always a longer wait?

Here are some possible reasons and suggested methods to increase engagement and loyalty.

Equalize Sales and Support Response Times 

While it is recognized that it costs much less to retain customers and acquire new customers, there is still a very natural emphasis for companies to invest time, priority and emphasis on sales. Companies can immediately feel success but in support more analysis is needed rather than short gratifying yippees for a new sale. For example, Lee Resources 2010 found that it costs 5 times as much to acquire a new customer than retaining an existing one. Less than 50% of companies put sales and retention on the same level.

For example, Lee Resources 2010 found that it costs 5 times as much to acquire a new customer as retain an existing one. Less than 50% of companies put sales and retention on the same level.

We are not saying to deprioritize your sales team and lift up your support team instead. What we do suggest is put them on equal footing in terms of the place in the company for driving sales and respective response times. 

For example, whenever I call one of the phone companies I receive a sales rep within 30 seconds, while waiting for a support agent can take over 2 minutes. This is typical and is 4X as much in response time. Makes me so much less likely to be a loyal customer.

Our suggestion: It's not so hard to put the sales and support response times and priorities on the same footing. It takes buy-in from top management, properly thought out workflows, well-defined automations and the correct tools. When defining the customer journey, use this stage to ensure your engagement with customers is consistent and equal across the whole journey. You will see an increase in customer retention with lower costs incurred for those future sales.

Maximize Ticket Deflection to Reduce the Need for Direct Support

One obvious method for reducing support response time is to reduce the number of tickets received by the company. A ticket means a customer...:

  • ... cannot work out how to perform a certain task
  • ... has a problem they cannot solve with existing content
  • ... has found a bug in the system

Zendesk found that 50% of customers prefer self-service because it's quicker - quicker to find, quicker to receive answers and quicker time to move ahead. By increasing use of a self-service solution, you will decrease the number of tickets. This will obviously improve response time with less tickets in the system. In some cases, well implemented self-service decreases support tickets by over 50%.

Proactive Engagement and Automation

Wouldn't it be great if you could predict a problem just before a customer encounters it? There are a number of ideas and tools you can implement to solve issues before they happen. Here are some ideas:

  • Content sensitive content (help) in your product app that automatically lists the related articles to that particular page. Presently available using the Zendesk web widget. We can help you set this up. See the picture in this blog - How easy it is to Increase Customer Satisfaction and Reduce Support Costs.
  • Integrate product with support. If you see a customer is stuck on a particular page of your app with no recent action, suggest some related help articles from within the app. I'm not aware yet of this type of integration.
  • Analyze your existing tickets and start predicting the types of problems people will have, especially during the onboarding process. Proactively send out relevant articles to your customers that address these issues.
  • When speaking to a customer, on any channel such as chat or phone, suggest possible solutions to future problems before closing the present communication. 

For help with the above to help your company bring your support department to have the same level of responsiveness as your sale department, chat with us now.



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