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recession South Africa

Image – James Cridland, Flickr (CC license)

Stats SA recently announced the news of a second quarter fall of 0.7% in the Gross Domestic Product, and that this has officially plunged us into a recession, with the only minor good news being that the financial sector and the mining sector’s contribution to the GDP remain buoyant. What should be of concern to companies is the burden of such a recession on consumers.
Fortunately, in the customer service environment, companies can introduce and optimise systems to benefit customers, saving them time and money when interacting with organisations.

A closer look at household expenditure

Household spending is down: households spent less on transport (down 6.1%), food and nonalcoholic beverages (down 2.8%), clothing and shoes (down 6.8%) and recreation and culture (down 7.6%) in the past quarter. The petrol price is up, and the cost of living is certainly not dropping, so every additional expense can create a blip on the radar of the household budget. Opportunities to save on costs are welcomed.

An unlikely opportunity

Consumers don’t simply cease to be consumers when money is tight, but they do seek ways to do business that aren’t taxing their budgets. That includes how they do business with your company directly. From a company perspective, that translates to reducing pain points in the customer journey, particularly those that have an impact on your customers’ pockets.

Are you asking your customer to spend hours on calls, sometimes on repeat calls, to you in order to get what they want, be that access to product or account information or to resolve another issue? Are they sitting on hold, sometimes on their mobile phones, acutely aware that their long call is costing money? Likewise, are your contact centre agents unable to resolve interactions within one call and then having to refer the customer to a different department?

Reducing the average call duration, as well as achieving a high first call resolution rate, doesn’t just drive down the cost to service customers, but it also helps customers save money and benefit from a more favourable customer experience.

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