How your customer service team can drive revenue without selling

A holistic approach to chargebacks. Discover how businesses can leverage customer service teams to mitigate chargebacks and retain revenue.
⚡ Featured Resource: Checklist - Creating the Best Purchase Experience
by Roenen Ben-Ami
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Published: May 25, 2023
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In today's fast-paced world where consumer behavior continues to become more complex, customer service teams are often underutilized, specifically with their potential to help retain revenue that has already been won being often unexplored. While their primary function is to address customer concerns, their role in mitigating the rising challenge of chargebacks is becoming increasingly important.

By adopting a holistic approach and viewing chargebacks through the lens of the entire organization, businesses can unlock the untapped potential of their customer service teams while also motivating them to feel the positive impact of their entire role. This shift in mindset not only empowers customer service to contribute significantly to the bottom line but also fosters cross-departmental collaboration, ultimately leading to a more profitable and resilient organization.

Chargebacks: A Growing Threat to Merchants

Chargebacks show no signs of slowing down and the consequences go far beyond losing money.

We’ve identified that, for every $100 chargeback, a merchant actually loses $240. Businesses also face considerable administrative costs and time investments when managing payment disputes. To make matters worse, chargebacks can damage a merchant's reputation and erode customer trust, which leads to reduced sales and long-term harm to their brand.

According to a report by Vonage, 75% of customers will abandon the business when they are faced with a negative or poor experience. Some 11% of them will refuse to pay altogether. This puts a lot of pressure on customer service teams, but the real missed opportunity is not involving them in the conversation from the start.

Many merchants try to handle disputes manually, relying  heavily on internal manpower and  putting additional  pressure on limited resources. While this might work to some extent for smaller operations, it often falls short for larger businesses or as transaction volumes grow. The fast-paced and ever-evolving eCommerce environment means customer service teams are dealing with more volume than ever. New payment methods like mobile wallets, crypto and contactless payments offer speed and convenience, but they also come with a higher risk of fraud and chargebacks.

At the same time, the eCommerce landscape has become super complex, with multiple touchpoints, platforms, and payment providers. The average number of touchpoints in a modern consumer journey can be between 20 and 500, leading to communication gaps and inconsistencies, which can contribute to the rise of chargebacks and fraud. Merchants also have to stay ahead of evolving fraud tactics, which continually present new challenges for both customer service and payments teams alike.

The Opportunity that Chargeback Mitigation presents for Customer Service Teams

Customers today expect seamless online experiences and instant gratification. Any perceived shortcomings, like delayed shipping or inadequate customer support, can prompt customers to initiate chargebacks more readily than before.

Executives and team leaders need a strategic approach that covers robust fraud prevention measures, improves customer service processes, and encourages collaboration between the fraud prevention, payments and customer service departments specifically. This way, businesses can more effectively minimize the risk of chargebacks and better protect their bottom line, keeping customers happy in the long run.

But how do you start such an important conversation?

Integrating chargeback mitigation into customer service operations is a golden opportunity for merchants to improve the customer experience and drive profitability. When customer service teams have the right tools and strategies to address chargebacks proactively, they can resolve problems before they escalate into disputes – which means looping them into the conversation earlier. This approach not only reduces the likelihood of chargebacks but also speeds up dispute resolution times, leading to happier customers – a crucial metric! As we all know, a satisfied customer is more likely to stick around, make repeat purchases, and spread positive word-of-mouth,  boosting the company's reputation and profitability.

Customer service teams can also develop comprehensive policies that address potential pain points in the customer journey. These policies might include guidelines for product returns, refunds, and cancellations, as well as procedures for resolving payment disputes and handling fraud. By establishing strong policies and empowering team members to enforce them consistently, businesses can create a solid foundation for minimizing chargebacks and friendly fraud. This is where customer service teams can partner with payments teams to demonstrate the true business impact, backed by some data, which is a necessary step to prove the return on this investment of time and resources.

Involving more people in the conversation about chargeback mitigation helps customer service teams see the bigger picture of increasing customer retention. By focusing on long-term relationships, merchants can cultivate a loyal customer base that contributes to sustainable business growth. The importance of customer retention can't be overstated, as it directly impacts a customer's lifetime value. This is something that Marketing & Sales departments should also be looped into, but we'll save that discussion for another time! However, by investing in holistic strategies that reduce chargebacks and enhance customer satisfaction, merchants can maximize the revenue generated and retained from each customer while minimizing acquisition costs. These are meaningful metrics for customer service teams to show the financial effects of their efforts outside of the traditional approach.

Cross-Departmental Collaboration: Bridging the Gap between Customer Service and Payments and why you need to encourage a culture of collaboration

In a competitive business environment, fostering a culture of collaboration between departments is crucial to achieving overall profitability and long-term success, but has often been underappreciated due to how many teams miss the mark when it comes to purposeful collaboration. We’re going to focus more in depth on the collaboration between customer service and payments departments. By aligning goals and strategies, both teams can work together to drive effective chargeback management, ultimately improving the company's bottom line. This requires a shift in departmental mentalities, where all parties involved approach business issues more comprehensively, considering their interconnected nature. A seamless customer experience can only be achieved when departments collaborate, share knowledge, and work together to address challenges.

Leveraging data and insights is essential to facilitate collaboration and enhance decision-making. By identifying patterns and trends in chargebacks and customer behavior, both customer service and payments departments can gain valuable insights into potential areas for improvement and figure out a more strategic approach to help combat and prevent complex issues. These insights can then be used to implement targeted improvements, such as refining dispute resolution processes or enhancing fraud detection measures. By tracking the effects of these improvements on profitability, executives and team leaders can demonstrate the value of cross-departmental collaboration and put purpose behind a data-driven approach to problem-solving.

Streamlined processes are also key to ensuring efficient communication and information exchange between customer service and payments departments. By establishing clear channels for sharing insights, feedback, and best practices, businesses can foster a culture of continuous improvement by first helping teams understand what ‘good’ looks like. This includes implementing feedback loops that enable both departments to learn from each other's experiences and adapt their strategies accordingly. Using data in strategic ways like this helps support departmental initiatives while also quantifying the return on investment, thereby strengthening the case for collaboration and making it less intimidating to jump over departmental lines.

Wrap up

Customer service teams have tremendous potential as drivers of revenue retention in the hyper-competitive landscape that merchants face today. By embracing chargeback mitigation strategies and empowering these teams to proactively collaborate across their normal duties, businesses can unlock new opportunities for growth and profitability without the pressure of adding net-new sales. It's essential for executives and team leaders to recognize these strategic opportunities and leverage the full potential of their customer service teams and inter-departmental synergies to drive sustainable business success.

Read more about how the key to improving bottom-line figures starts with building healthy customer relationships.

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Checklist - Creating the Best Purchase Experience
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Written by
Roenen Ben-Ami
Co-founder & Chief Risk Officer at Justt. I am an all-around payments expert and a veteran commissioned officer. I previously led the Chargeback and Merchant Risk teams at the payments service provider Simplex, which now successfully recovers millions of dollars a year using the best practices I developed.
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