Ask & Answer™ decreases product-related support costs
Higher answer volumes reduce call volumes, increasing efficiencies within the customer service center.
Canadian Tire is Canada’s most-shopped retailer, with more than 1,000 stores and gas bars across Canada. They are a family of retail and financial services businesses that exist to create “Customers for Life.” Their Team Values include integrity, dignity, respect, and open communication.
Canadian Tire has a team of customer service representatives who respond to phone calls and emails from customers who have questions about products, returns, and order status, among others.
In July 2007, the company implemented Bazaarvoice’s Ask & Answer functionality on its product pages, allowing customers to ask and answer questions within the purchase cycle. Canadian Tire customers, team members, or manufacturer representatives may answer the customer-submitted questions.
What we studied
We looked at year over year call volume comparing July through December 2006 to July through December 2007 (Canadian Tire went live with Ask & Answer in July 2007). We only looked at support contacts (calls or emails) that were product-related; customer service-related issues, such as order status, were not included in our analysis.
What we found
Overall, products that have at least one answered product question received 27.8% fewer productrelated customer service contacts. In absolute terms, this means approximately 4,368 fewer calls or emails came into the call center over the six-month period, primarily due to the Ask & Answer functionality. Results were more dramatic for products that featured more than one answer to a question on the Canadian Tire site.
- Products with two answers saw a 67% decrease in product-related customer contacts.
- Those with three or more answers saw an 81.2% decrease in such contacts.
As Canadian Tire customers contribute more answers to customer-submitted questions, Canadian Tire will realize continued cost savings.
The bottom line
Ask & Answer can help reduce the number of product-related contacts into a customer support department. Answers to customer-generated questions become a searchable asset on the site, aid shoppers in making purchasing decisions, and result in fewer product calls to a company, lowering overall operating costs.
Companies that employ Ask & Answer should actively seek to answer customer questions, and get their manufacturers involved, using badges to transparently represent themselves online. Higher answer volumes will continue to reduce call volumes, further increasing efficiencies within the customer service center.Download PDF »