Customer service can be provided from a multi-channel perspective, but not all the channels are suitable for all companies. Which ones are the best for your business?
- Live Chat is the best option when an immediate answer is required with a personal approach. Online shopping customers can enquire about your website directly to a customer agent on the same platform. Furthermore, it is possible for the agent to know what steps the customer has undertaken and walk through the problem with the customer. An extra benefit from an operational point of view is the ease of having more than one conversation at the same time. This reduces the waiting time and increases sales on the site.
- Telephone provides a more personal approach since conversations are more confidential and an immediate answer is possible. Online shoppers try to avoid this channel if it is possible. Once they are on-line, they would rather Google the question, ask in forums or check in Social Media channels before picking up the phone. However, if the question is somewhat sensitive and/ or you are a leader in the sector; the phone can be your best contact channel.
- Social Media provides a personal approach; however, your answers will be read by the community. This channel requires an immediate answer and social sites should be monitored on a 24/7 basis. This channel should be used to answer general questions that can be interesting and/or relevant for your entire customer base. Sensitive questions or personal enquiries should be redirected to other channels such as e-mail or phone. Once correctly used, social media platforms are a great channel to build advocacy and show the quality of your customer care team.
- SMS can be bidirectional. This channel can be used to confirm orders and/or to reply to small questions. SMS is mostly used as a promotional tool in order to share marketing messages. However, companies are using SMS more as a tool to monitor shipping processes and transport delivery routes.
- E-mail can be sent through web forms on your site or by use of email providers such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo. This channel because it is easier to manage, it allows the customer care team to check different sources before providing an answer and it is bi-directional with a high degree of privacy. On the other hand, replies are in the medium term. The average in the industry is a maximum of 24 hours; however, this number can be reduced according to your Service Level Agreement (SLA). An increasing number of websites are providing only this channel as a contact point.
- Voice SMS and IVR allows you to send voice messages to your customers. Your message will be recorded on their voice mail if they have missed your phone call. It is a good option for sharing specific messages with a large number of customers with a more personal approach. On the other hand, you can avail of use IVR technology. Callers can listen to a number of FAQ’s before being transferred to an agent. If this exercise is done properly, the number of calls answered by customer team agents will be reduced by 45%.
- Post interactions such as letters, burofax, certified letters and postcards are decreasing as a contact channel. They provide a longer waiting time and the communication has to be transmitted through a physical third party.
Contact us if you want more information about any of these channels or if you need advise in order to outsource your customer care service.