Customer Service is a Multichannel Pursuit
December 03, 2012
Phone (News - Alert) support is no longer the only show in town, or even the most important. That’s the big takeaway from a recent consumer survey conducted by cloud-based customer experience management and interactive voice response (IVR) provider, Angel. Whereas landline phone support used to be the preferred customer support channel, now email is preferred—followed by phone, mobile services and other channels.
“One of the biggest takeaways we found is that there is no silver bullet customer service channel, even for retailers,” wrote Angel director of corporate marketing, Lisa Bonanno. “If anything, this customer service data is a good indication that we are officially in a multichannel world.” For example, a complaint may start on a social network and be resolved over the phone.
With the holiday season upon us, retailers would be keen to ensure a positive customer experience across all channels if they want to maintain their brand’s positive image.
“Customers will give points to the brand that effectively manages through their issue and even strengthen their loyalty to that brand because of it,” she noted. “Businesses need to create a system where they are not only monitoring and listening to all customer service channels, but are also taking immediate action.”
Leveraging Angel’s knowledge of effective customer experience management, Bonanno suggested five ideas for creating a good customer experience across all communication channels.
First, invest in your top communication channel.
“Timeliness wins every time,” she wrote. “Invest in your top channels customers usually use to interact and deploy the staff and resources needed to ensure any inbound customer communication is handled immediately.”
Second, create useful self-service options so customers turn to your web site first and save themselves frustration and you money on customer service. The Angel survey found that 63 percent of customers first turn to a company’s web site.
This includes automation such as effective IVR. Lists of frequently asked questions and useful self-serve automation can be a real winner if done thoughtfully.
Mobile customer support is a good option in this day and age of mobility and multichannels. Having a good mobile presence helps customers connect right away when they have a problem, especially for young customers accustomed to going to their phone’s web browser first.
Finally, Bonanno also suggested a protocol for following up on customer issues after they are resolved.
“Customers need to know that they have been heard,” she wrote. “What better way to ensure this than by deploying personalized outbound communications to follow-up with customers after an issue or complaint.”
At the end of the day, though, speed is most important. “Customer service inaction can quickly be interpreted as not caring about the customers’ needs, which can ultimately lead to a lost customer and deteriorate a brand. If a customer sees a retailer quickly and efficiently handling their complaint or fix their issue, they are more likely to build trust with the organization and become a returning customer,” she noted.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli