These days, when choosing or purchasing products or services, clients tend to identify the most appropriate platform to use. The recent ATG study reveals that 30% of consumers use three or more customer service channels for a single transaction. They always choose the ones where they feel they can get a good customer service experience as it is an important factor in their decision-making when buying.
If you want to boost your sales, it is important that you are always there for your customers. They commonly turn to customer support if they cannot locate a store, if they have inquiries, or want someone to help them with their purchases. Failing to be there when they need you may result in lost sales. With this, you might want to consider utilizing various channels since not every client has access to a specific platform. It is genuinely beneficial to your business as providing customers with several options may widen your reach.
Before we tackle different customer service channels, let us get a clear understanding of what these are.
Customer service channels are communication channels used by a business to interact with their end-users. These include, but are not limited to, phone, email, live chat, social media, community forums, and many more.
Businesses that aim to bring an exceptional experience to clients have to utilize more than one customer service channel. People seek convenience, and businesses should provide this by offering an omnichannel service.
If you are wondering if omnichannel support is worth it, then this is probably the time for you to get to know more about it. Based on research, reducing customer effort is an important factor in achieving loyalty. This means that an ideal customer care channel must be effective and accessible. Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the following customer service channels.
Talking about the most common customer service channel? Then you might have thought of a phone. This platform has been around for many years. While some people think of it as old-fashioned compared to other customer contact channels, customers still expect every business to have it, and is still considered one of the most effective tools up to date. It is for this reason why businesses still use it.
The fact is that 68% of all support interactions still account for phones. Why? Because customers commonly prefer to get a speedy and convenient way to communicate. Once they have something in mind about your products or services, they want immediate answers. In addition, talking through phone calls is also great as some queries can get more complex, which is why voice interaction is ideal. It is almost like talking to a salesperson face to face.
However, the only issue here is when a customer calls during peak hours. They will be put on hold due to call traffic. And we know that some customers do not have the luxury of time to wait for long.
Another common customer service channel that has been around for many years is the email. It has been of great help to businesses all over the world, considering that 2.6 billion people use email every day with a 6% growth per year.
In fact, 91% of consumers use email daily to get in touch with brands and companies. Many prefer this tool as they think of it as a more formal channel to use than the others. It is also considered a non-negotiable channel for most organizations.
The only downside of this, which most people are familiar with, is the fact that customers expect a response right away when they send inquiries. Yet email response sometimes slows down the interaction for about 8 hours per email. The slow response time can cause frustration to some.
As a business owner, it is important that you are aware of the differences between consumers. Not everyone is comfortable talking through the phone or has access to other great customer service channels. These are the main reasons why you need to provide them with options to choose from.
In this digital age, a huge chunk of consumers are expecting a live chat feature on your website. It has been growing massively as a support channel, especially for those who are doing their business online. In fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered immediately by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a site can offer. Plus point for live chat as customers can multitask while talking to a service agent.
However, since many users are using mobiles, the functionality of live chat becomes limited and is not as natural as it is on the computer.
As people are now spending a lot of time on social media, especially during their free time, social media platforms have become an ideal customer service channel aside from it being a great service tool for marketing, advertising, and market research. Although it still depends on who your customers are, we are still certain that they visit social networks each day.
The key here is to identify the social media platform your target market commonly uses. This way, it will be easier for you to deliver exceptional customer support. This can certainly boost your sales when done properly.
A study by Gartner found that companies that do not utilize social media for their support strategy may get an average churn rate of 15% higher than the brands who do.
Never forget that a lot of your customers share the same interest. With this, you might find shared communities online, where many of your clients are active. Utilizing these forums can help boost your business as people love connecting with others who share the same values, interests, and many more.
These forums are beneficial to your business. Having customers help each other regarding your products or services can increase the trust rate of your brand. It can also help decrease the number of clients you need to assist as their questions and other concerns were already answered by another user. It helps you to have a more cost-efficient process. Its format allows brands to offer customer service on a scale that is personalized.
Self-Service Knowledge Base
A knowledge base customer service channel offers a lot of benefits to businesses. More than being a cost-effective and convenient option, it also allows you to provide a 24/7 basic support to your clients.
Providing answers to frequently asked questions can help you operate even with a small team of customer support. According to Forrester, 67% of end-users said that they use online self-service support to get the answers they need.
However, keep in mind that the knowledge base is only an extension of your customer service channel and not a replacement to live customer support. Your end-users still need an actual person to help them at times as the knowledge base doesn’t work well with complex concerns.
On-Page Support Widget
The on-page support widget turns your website into an instant customer service channel. While browsing on your site, the consumers are given an option to submit questions, concerns, and other inquiries, which will be directed through email.
There are some well-integrated widgets that also make use of the knowledge base content. Here, the clients can get instant access to the frequently asked questions without having to navigate it.
Customers prefer to get immediate solutions or answers to their concerns. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to provide it to them, especially if you want your business to thrive.
With all of these customer service channels available to keep in touch with your clients and build better customer relationships, you might be wondering which one is best to utilize. Remember that each business is unique from the others. The answer is simple — go where your customers are. However, it is best to combine different tools based on the needs and expectations of your consumers. By doing it, you can absolutely get a high customer satisfaction rate. You can also hire a third-party company to help you achieve your goal. They have a set of processes and technology infrastructure to offer various platforms you require.
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