Customer service requests have grown a lot in recent years. The way with customers interact with customer support agents gets more and more interesting year by year. In olden days, there were one or two channels to communicate.
These days, the number of communication channels has grown significantly and customers are trying to contact customer support team through multiple channels. Moreover, they expect the same level of service from the customer support agents. However, it leads to a number of support difficulties for companies and result in poor customer experience.
To avoid this, companies need to recognize it support to be more like what customer expects it to be. Companies can do this by incorporating multi-channel customer service and provide customer with different options for how they would like to communicate. It is all about providing seamless experience, regardless of the channel they work on. The ideal multi-channel customer service would have the ability to track customers and purchase behavior across multiple channels.
Why multi-channel support is essential?
Multi-channel support would offer the benefit of having the ability to provide service to individual customers efficiently and enhance the targeting of marketing communications. Moreover, the customer service agents can provide great level of service, which can result in increase in customer satisfaction and higher retention.
Providing great customer experience is one of the best ways to differentiate your brand from others, especially when the prices and products are similar between competitors. Great customer service will make the customers talk about your company and recommend your company to their friends and colleagues purely on basis of receiving top quality service.
Different customer service channels
The advent of technology led to the increase in number of communication channels. Today, there are dozens of communication channels and platforms through which customers can communicate with your customer service staff. Companies will have an opportunity to create positive impression at each of these channels. Some of the popular communication channels are –
Telephone is the main point of contact for many customers, but can also be a source of frustration. When the call centers are staffed with skilled and knowledgeable agents,who have the ability to help customers effectively, you can create positive impression on customers. However, the customers get frustrated if it takes more time than expected, making the job of customer service more difficult.
Email is another best communication channel preferred by customers. There are many advantages of email communication over phone. However, the main issue arises when customers expect prompt response. Many people would prefer sending an email and wait for reply to avoid the hassle of calling. However, email customer service often fails due to huge number of mails and late response. It is estimated that 16% of customer support agents don’t respond at all, which is one reason to lose a customer.
- Live chat
These days, companies are employing instant message service on their website to give customers an alternative contact option. Customers can use this channel proactively, as the customer questions are answered promptly and the problems are resolved instantly.
- Social media
The use of social media for customer service offers great opportunities for brands to deal with the customer complaints proactively and show others that the company is listening to the customers and is likely to come up with a solution.
Tips to handle customer support across multiple channels
Providing multi-channel customer support is a massive challenge. Customer service is not a one stop destination for all problems and customers may approach the customer support team from all channels. Here is what you need to know about how to handle customer support across multiple channels and make it work well for your company –
- Provide choice in multichannel support
It would be the choice of channel that attracts customers. Customers should be able to choose the channel they want to contact the company. It should be like a little box of chocolates, and they should be given choice to pick their favorite one. This flexibility will enhance customer experience and will result in positive experience. Don’t take away the choice from your customers because it is more convenient for you.
- Treat individual channels as a whole
No matter how many channels you support, it is of no use if there is no exchange of communication between channels. The customer should not be asked to explain the whole situation again and again across different channels.The company should have different teams working on different channels with proper exchange of information. The customer information should be shared between different channels, so that every agent is aware of the issue.
- Avoid channels that you are not good at
Though it is said that companies should cover all the favorite channels of customers, it would be better if you have enough knowledge and skills. It may be difficult to work on unknown channels. However, you can begin with easier channels and work up your way to difficult ones. Live chat and social media support are best in today’s competitive world, as millions of people access internet every day. Both these channels need dedicated agents who can monitor the issue and respond quickly.
Self-service is another efficient form of customer service. Though the initial cost is a bit high, the expenditure is quickly diminished by the return you get. Each customer who can find help on their own is less likely to contact your customer support and wait for them to resolve their issue.
- Getting centralized knowledge base
The knowledge base will help customers find a solution that would have to be suggested by customer support agent. If there is an article in your knowledge base that would answer common and popular questions, imagine how many cases would be resolved in a day. Instead of calling customer support or leaving a message, customers could look at the answers in your knowledge base. Setting knowledge base is definitely a good investment, as it can act as a source of information for customer support agents.
- Don’t tie agents to a single channel
Tying agents to a single communication channel may turn out to be a bad idea. Agents who work with a single channel may burn out quickly, which will work against their effectiveness. To be more flexible and resilient, agents should be allowed to work simultaneously with multiple channels. Your support falls apart when you have dedicated agents and somebody can’t get to work.
By following the above tips, you can handle customer support in multiple channels effectively. Make sure to integrate multiple channels into your support and improve the quality of customer support. Your ultimate goal should be to serve customers effectively, regardless of the channel they pick.