3 Strategies for Leaping Into Multi-Channel Support - Talkdesk - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Customer support has evolved rapidly in recent years with the surfacing of new communication channels, the rise of the on-demand economy and the birth of the empowered customer who can bash or praise brands to greater audiences through social media. It’s only natural, then, that businesses are starting to offer multi-channel support, often choosing between the classic favorites – phone, email, live chat and social.
Yet with so many options available, and with new channels like video and SMS coming onto the scene, evaluating what combination of customer support channels are right for you and your customers can be a daunting task.
Talkdesk COO, Gadi Shamia, spoke on a panel with representatives from Desk.com, Salesforce and Zendesk about the future of multi-channel support during a recent CS Lab workshop. Here are some key takeaways from the panel that will help you consider what multi-channel direction works for you:
Define what kind of relationship you want to build with your customers
Evaluating your multi-channel support strategy should not be about the brand or price points, it should be about the relationship the strategy enables you to have with your customers. It’s important to pick the right channels based on what the kind of relationship and level of intimacy you want to foster with your customers.
Do you want your support agents to behave more like an emergency response team and fix problems as quickly as they arise (which all great companies should), or do you want to take it one step further and build a special rapport with your customer base? In both of these cases, phone support is the strongest channel for establishing relationships because it’s communication in real-time, it’s more intimate than reading words on a screen, and your customers can have your undivided attention.
When a customer orders pizza, for example, if it arrives soggy and cold, they’re probably not going to want to send an email. They’ll want to call the delivery service and get an immediate solution to their problem, which is a great opportunity for the company’s support team to make the customer feel at ease and re-establish their faith in the brand. The speed of response, the negotiation that takes place and the opportunity to make the customer feel warm and fuzzy would fall flat through a text message or email.
Start with one, then expand from there
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your support channel be. The most common support channel companies start off with is email since it can be as simple as setting up an account in a few clicks, publishing it on your website and monitoring your inbox. As businesses mature, solely depending on email support tends to fall short of expectations. Phone support tends to be the natural next choice for many support representatives that hear the need for real-time communication from their customers themselves.
Note: You should only invest in more channels when you’re confident that you can deliver great customer service across all channels. If you’re in doubt and probably can only master a few channels, then you should stick to those until you are ready to expand to other support channels.
Listen to where your customers are
The beauty of having a vast array of customer support channels to choose from is that you have the ability to find the perfect channels to meet your customers’ needs. Once your support team has matured and your business has continued to grow at a healthy pace, it becomes less about finding a core channel or two, and more about trying out multiple channels and turning them on and off depending on what suits your customers best at a given point in time.
For example, if you sell children’s toys, you may get away with solely offering email and live chat support for most of the year, but as the holiday season kicks in, you should be ready to quickly turn on your phone support and then turn it off again as the holiday craze subsides. Mastering multi-channel support is about being able to change and adapt in response to customer feedback and needs.
In the end, what will drive customer loyalty is not only fixing problems in a timely and effective manner, but fostering a relationship between you and your customers. Whether you want your customers to keep coming back or renew and upgrade their monthly plans with you, creating an emotional connection is key.
We’ll be discussing the hot topic of multi-channel support and best practices at our upcoming customer communication summit, Opentalk, taking place in San Francisco on Tuesday, May 17th. There are still tickets available so save your spot here!
Publish Date: March 18, 2016 5:00 AM
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