You can’t be in two places at one time… or so we’ve always heard. But when it comes to your customer service strategy, the reality today is that you can’t afford not to be in two places at one time (actually, more than two). Consumers today are used to having their questions answered quickly and problems resolved immediately, so offering a customer service number as your only method of customer support just won’t cut it anymore. In fact, 72% of adults prefer digital communication with companies rather than speaking to representatives face-to-face or by phone.
Considering the importance of customer service, you’ve got to go multichannel if you want to keep up with your customers – and keep them, period. Here’s a look at a few of the key channels to implement for an effective, modern Omni-Channel approach.
What Channels Do I Need?
There are plenty of channels to choose from, but your brand may have a need for some more than others. However, the top four that are in use by most companies today are email, social, phone and live chat.
According to Forrester, email is still the most popular of all digital customer service channels, with 54% of customers having relied on it in the last year. With email, customers are interested in prompt replies and oftentimes want to be able to share detail. This is also a channel that consumers prefer when they want to have a written record of their conversation history with your brand.
In order to thrive with email support, you need to make sure you have company-wide policies in place for how to handle certain issues so everyone is aligned. These policies are easily turned into scripts and can also help agents respond uniformly and quickly to customers’ concerns. It’s also important to have enough staff to reply back to customers who email you within one to two hours, ideally.
Social media is becoming a go-to place for hostile customers to air their grievances publicly, which can wreak havoc on your brand. It’s also a place that customers go before they’re openly hostile in order to try to get attention for a question or concern they have, knowing the public nature of the medium could get them a better (or faster) response.
Your company can better serve its customers and protect its reputation by being swift and thorough in all of its customer service communications, simply because this reduces the odds of an angry customer taking their problem to social platforms. Also, consider implementing a content moderation program so you can ensure all of your profiles are kept clean, inoffensive and appropriate.
Furthermore, it’s important you put guidelines in place for your team so they know how to respond to both positive and negative feedback on social media. After all, customers who sing your praises deserve your time too; if treated well, they may just become digital advocates for your brand.
Even though there are plenty of digital options available that most people prefer, the phone still plays an important role in great customer service. This option is usually sought out by customers who have a complex question, complicated problem or really just want to speak to another human being. When someone takes the time to call your company by phone, it’s crucial that they get to speak with a person quickly, since most consumers will only wait on hold for an average of 11 minutes before hanging up.
In order to succeed with phone-based customer service, you need to have professionally trained agents who know how to lead with empathy, diffuse hostility and resolve a host of issues. You also need to make sure you have enough staff to answer calls during your peak times, so you can sufficiently handle customer service demand. If you’re looking for a business process outsourcing (BPO) partner to help you with this, make sure it’s one that prioritizes First Call Resolution (FCR) like we do at Conectys. This means your customers will have a high likelihood of having their issues resolved within their very first call, so no further calls are needed and they’re left satisfied the first time around.
Live chat has become a mainstay in customer support, and for good reason. In our society which is increasingly offering instant gratification to consumers, connecting online with a brand – instantly – sounds like a dream come true. Customers love the quick response times and conversational nature of this medium.
One word of caution, though: customer expectations for chat response times are higher than they are with email. Customers on chat will only wait for an average of 45 seconds before giving up. So you need to make sure you have enough personnel to respond via chat, very quickly.
Depending on your target demographics, you probably need to be covered in all these customer service areas – even though you may place greater emphasis on one or two. Just keep in mind how each of these channels fit together alongside the overall importance of customer service. Since 73% of consumers shop on more than one channel, being present on more than one, as well, increases your odds of keeping your customers happy for a long time to come.
And as you go about implementing multiple channels, you can easily manage them all by using our cloud-based, contact center platform ConectysOS (which we offer free of charge to all our customers). This system helps you deploy and optimize your Omni-Channel efforts, making the most of your time and resources.
Contact us to learn how we can help you implement some of these customer service channels, get started using ConectysOS and get the staff you need to be successful.