Please hold. There are 12 callers ahead of you. Your business is important to us.

This scenario is still far too common in customer support, even in the B2B (business-to-business) industry where the average customer value is higher and business relationships matter more. Sometimes waiting on hold for a half hour may be because of understaffing. But, other times it’s simply due to an inefficient customer service team.

Simply put, there are many ways a team can become inefficient at service – poor channel management, bad technology, inept team members – but let’s focus on the positives instead. Businesses want to hire skilled people. They want the best technology. But, with budget and time constraints, they need to prioritize exactly what is important to their bottom line.

The real question is why should businesses place a priority on being efficient at customer service? Here are a few reasons why efficient customer service is valuable to B2B companies…

It shows customers you respect their time – The words “customer retention” are hot as fire right now in the B2B industry. Companies are doing everything in their power to keep customers happy and prevent churn. One of the best ways of doing this is by showing your customers that you respect and value their time. Customer service interactions are the perfect medium to prove your words ring true. A well-built team empowered by modern customer service technology built for their industry puts you in a great place. This combination enables agents to work through customer issues professionally and swiftly. Hearing the words “that was fast” from a customer when you solve an issue the right way is never a bad thing.

Efficient customer service directly impacts your bottom line – Outside of customer retention which obviously affects the bottom line, efficient customer service influences profits in other ways. The main one is by reducing the overhead cost of a customer service team by implementing the right technology solutions. So many great customer service agents are hindered by poor technology choices that slow down how quickly they can respond to customers. They need to hop between systems to get different information and hope that one of them has what they need. Investing in sophisticated customer service technology may require up-front hurdles (time and money), but long-term it’s a move that pays off in a major way. For businesses that process thousands of tickets each year, even 20% increase in customer service efficiency is a substantial cost savings. Seeing numbers like this more than outweighs the technology and resource investments.

It fosters an environment of internal innovation – Unlike the first two reasons, the last one worth noting doesn’t have a focus on immediate bottom line metrics. Instead, it’s more “big picture” and impacts a company at its core. Efficient customer service directly contributes to company morale and culture in a major way. How? When employees see that optimizing processes and workflows is encouraged and sticking with the “status quo” isn’t, it inspires them to think critically about how they work. These brainstorming moments are often where some of the best ideas to improve business operations start, and they rarely occur in an environment that doesn’t inspire efficiency and innovation. Provide employees with the technology and mindset needed to think critically and that’s what you’ll get.

To summarize, efficient customer service is important for B2B companies because it has a direct impact on both the bottom line and employee morale. Without an efficient working environment, companies will risk losing customers by failing to value their time. In addition, they will also lose good employees by creating an environment that discourages innovation. Becoming efficient with customer service is a goal that businesses should strive towards because the benefits are worth the effort.