Thursday, February 10, 2005

The cost of customer service by phone at FedEx

From Baseline magazine (via Business 2.0 magazine's weblog): FedEx saves $1.87 each time a customer uses FedEx’s website instead of calling a rep over the phone.

Why spend money on a call center? Here’s a copy/paste:

One reason for this expenditure is that the cost of a customer being frustrated by the company Web site is incalculable, and most customers are easily frustrated given the current state of Web design. People are willing to encounter one or two obstacles in a system, maybe three at most, says Eric Mathews, associate director of the FedEx Institute of Technology. But then, "they totally abandon it."

Also, “chatty” customer service reps do more harm than good to their employer:

FedEx studies reps' behavioral techniques to discover which ones work best with customers. Steward's technique is considered effective. The company found that reps who have no time limits with customers tend to talk too much. Customers view them as "chatty" or "overly nice" and ultimately develop a negative impression of FedEx. "Customers want the facts," says customer service VP Sheila Harrell. Better if the rep solves the problem the customer called about and gets off the phone.

But remember, what works for FedEx will not necessarily work for other companies. Including yours.