Cash: The Ultimate Answer to Your Customer Service Conundrum

While there might be thousands of customer service questions and thousands of problems companies have concerning customer service management and execution, all of them share a single underlying solution: Money. If you don't have enough cash available to support your customer services department, your customers will never receive the care they need to feel confident and content in your company. Regardless of your goals for your customer service reps, you must strive to supply them with the resources they need to build success.

Unfortunately, not every business leader understands the importance of money to their customer service team. As a result, most customer service departments are sorely underfunded. As you place more emphasis on high-quality customer service, you must also increase your customer service spending. This guide will help you allocate more cash to your customer service team so your customers will have the best experience around.

Service-oriented departments are notoriously difficult to budget for. As opposed to departments like accounting or marketing, which accumulate data to process, teams that provide services often work closely with other groups, raising questions about funding allocation. When the customer service team needs new software to manage customer messages, do you increase its allowance or do you give extra resources to IT? Because customer service must often send queries to the sales team or the engineering department, who should receive a boost to its budget?

This is how customer service is so often overlooked for budget increases; the cash goes to other areas of the business instead. To properly fund your customer services team, you must catalog the services it provides and assign accurate costs and values to each service. If you plan to expand your customer services' reach, you should conduct research to help you predict costs for additional services. Then, when you calculate your budgets, you will have a more accurate idea of what your customer service team needs to function and what extra cash it might use to improve its services.

As yet, there is no dedicated software to help small business owners manage customer service budgets. However, with some clever manipulation, you might be able to transform other service-oriented department budgeting software, like Workday, as well as similarly targeted modeling software, like Tidemark.

Finding Funding for Effective Customer Service

Once you have an idea of how much you need (and want) to spend on your customer service department, you should begin searching for funding. Not all businesses have the resources on hand to increase customer service spending; if your business is new or young, you probably aren't profitable enough yet to reroute spending from other departments or growth opportunities. Therefore, you must search outside your company to develop the internal customer service you desire.

Fortunately, there are dozens of funding options, many of which are quick and painless and can be used to generate funding for other departments in need, as well. Aside from traditional small business loans and investors, you might consider pursuing the following:

Business Lines of Credit

A business line of credit is like a mix between a loan and a credit card. Unlike a loan, a line of credit tends to be revolving, and you only accrue interest on the amount of balance you use; unlike a credit card, a line of credit offers a significant amount of money that isn't accessed with a plastic card. Some lines of credit must be used in a specific way, perhaps for asset purchasing or construction, so you should be sure to acquire a line that suits your needs, like a working capital line.

Business Grants

Not all businesses are eligible for grants, but if you are, you should take full advantage of this financial opportunity. Grant programs are prestigious and rigorous, but if you succeed in acquiring one, your business essentially earns free money that requires no repayment whatsoever. The Small Business Administration and a few other governmental and non-governmental agencies offer a number of grants worth investigating, especially if you are in science- and technology-related industries.

Invoice Factoring

If you have enough profit to fund your customer service endeavors but your cash flow just isn’t balanced correctly, you might benefit from invoice factoring. Also called receivable factoring, invoice financing, invoice advances, and a number of other vague terms, factoring is selling your unpaid invoices to a third party at a slight discount for the convenience of obtaining your cash sooner. Then, you can swiftly reinvest in your customer service department and reap the benefits.

Cher Zavala is a content coordinator who assists in contributing articles on various topics, including business strategies, tips for entrepreneurs, and career trends. Cher has built up many strong relationships over the years within the blogging community and loves sharing her useful tips with others. She wrote this article on behalf of Blue Vine, which specializes in business funding.