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Long gone have the days when you could simply set up a phone line and have customers get in contact with you this way. In the modern world, people are expecting much more instantaneous service, and they also like to be able to get in touch via a range of different media. Of course, when you set up a customer service channel, you need to ensure that you are managing it properly. So, here are a few of the most popular customer service channels and the reasons why they work so well.
Live Web Chat
Live web chat is fast becoming the communication channel of choice for younger people. Many businesses now pre-empt customer enquiries by having a chat box pop up the moment they appear on the website. There are many alternative customer service providers out there, so you need to compare and contrast them to find one that is going to provide reliable and exemplary service. A couple of the main advantages include the convenience of the system, the fact that a record of the conversation is instantly recorded, and the fact that you can make it readily available for as many hours during the day as you would like.
Closely linked to live web chat, chat bots have the natural advantage of efficiently removing many general customer service enquiries with a set of pre-prepared responses that can be easily run through. They do not require a human being to be at the other end, and they also continue to offer service round the clock. Plus, customers do not have to wait to get their responses. Instead, they are instantaneous. Of course, they do not have the capability to deal with requests that are especially unusual, which ranks as one of their main downsides. You will need to use chatbots alongside other customer service channels to ensure that they are at their most effective.
Social media is a public customer service channel, which means that if you use it well, it can also function as a highly effective marketing tool. Customers often browse social media for answers to questions that they would have otherwise gotten in touch to ask. Since you are speaking on a highly public forum, you need to develop a brand voice that you use throughout all communication. Many brands use humor in a highly effective manner to show that the brand is more ‘human’. Of course, when you have multiple social media channels, it can be more of a tough ask to ensure that all of them are monitored and any queries are answered in a quick and effective manner.
Messenger apps differ from social media in that they are a private form of communication. These channels are often checked by users, so you can expect that people are going to want a quick response. While you do not have to worry so much about the brand voice, you do need to ensure that all of your messages are effective and to-the-point, as well as obviously being polite.
While many of the above social media channels have taken over from the traditional forms of getting in touch with a company, there are still plenty of consumers who prefer to use the humble email. Often, customers are not expecting an instant response, so you can set up an auto-response telling them how long they can expect to wait. As well as offering personalized customer support, email marketing still remains one of the most effective ways of reaching out to people. As a customer support tool on its own, it tends to be used in an auxiliary manner rather than being the main source of contact.
While the work in a similar way to emails, web forms have the crucial difference of customers not needing to leave your site to get in contact. This has the natural advantage of cutting abandonment rates right down. One of the other major plus points is that you can capture customer data using them. Customers have to fill in a number of different sections on a form in order to get in touch with your organization. Not only this, but customers also get a confirmation of receipt, which means that they know their query is being dealt with.
This most traditional of customer service contact methods still has a place to play in the modern world. Since customers are familiar with the process of phone calls, it remains a popular way of getting in touch – particularly among an older demographic of people. Customers often have to wait longer to speak to an adviser directly, which is why it is worth setting up a system that tells them if there is likely to be a delay, as well as informing them about their current position in the queue. Web calling is a sub strand of this section which has become more popular. Essentially, customers will call directly through the website by clicking on a button. A potential way of reducing that all-important abandonment rate is by offering a call back option in which customers request that the company calls them back at a time that suits.
Another common form of customer service that is favored by the younger generation in particular is video chat. Essentially, it is as close to in-person support as you are going to get, and it has been especially important as many traditional businesses have had to close their doors. When customer queries veer into becoming more complicated, this is a great way of answering questions as fully as possible. It can be an especially useful way of dealing with technical issues that otherwise would have been very tricky to solve.
There is no doubt that the future of customer service rests in a multi-channel approach, so you need to be ready to maintain and monitor as many as you can to keep your users and buyers satisfied and returning.