A customer-support engineer at Cisco, depending on his level, makes between $50,000 and $144,000 a year. A customer-support specialist at SuccessFactors earns roughly $55,000. Throughout the United States, the average customer-support salary is $54,000. And that cost is before payroll taxes, health insurance, and benefits.
This data, taken from Simply Hired and Glass Door, shows how traditional customer-support operations with departments full of employees answering the same, boring, repetitive questions all day long are extremely expensive.
Ever since Ford Motor Company popularized the assembly line in the early twentieth century, machines have been able to perform simple, repetitive tasks much more efficiently than people and at much-lower costs. While it may seem obvious now that machines can handle much of the work involved in constructing cars and consumer goods, the improved efficiencies of automated programs can now handle many types of interpersonal communication in a business context as well.
Customer support is just one example. You might think that the job of a call-center representative is fielding many types of different and unusual questions each day. However, most of the job entails answering the same questions over and over again. In just one example, here is a forum we found in which technical-support people listed the common questions that people always ask:
My computer won't boot
I can't connect to the network
My "Home" drive is gone
I've deleted an important document; can I get it back?
How do I attach a file to my e-mail?
My monitor worked yesterday but doesn't come on today
Just as a machine in a factory can perform the repetitive task of, say, attaching a car door to a main frame ten times per day, customer-support software can automatically answer the same question ten times per day – now with the need for only little human involvement (and the related customer-support salary).
Our self-service support widgets store answers from your Q&A and FAQ documents in a knowledge base and then automatically supplies a response whenever the associated question is asked. Whenever a current or potential customer asks a question that is not stored in the base, the answer given by the support professional or manager can then be added. This way, the widget increases in efficiency over time and will have the ability to answer nearly all support questions automatically.
One little widget can save you much time and hassle – and roughly $54,000 per unnecessary customer-support salary.