A support channel is a medium through which you can communicate with customers to solve their queries and collect feedback. Some of the popular support channels include telephone, email, social media, live chat, and other self-service knowledge bases.
Multichannel customer support is customer support across more than two channels. A company that has multichannel support offers customers various ways to interact with them. This allows businesses to meet customers on their level.
Each support channel offers a specific type of customer communication. There are many different instances in which a phone call is preferable over text when self-service is more useful than live chat and so on. This makes it difficult to provide satisfactory service to all customers every time if your company only leverages one support channel. Multiple channel offerings show customers that you consider giving them options for how to communicate with the company.
Multichannel support still has a huge advantage, regardless of its shortcomings. The phone support team isn’t in great communication with the email support team, so customers may get a different experience when they interact with each team. This can be jarring and present a divided front to customers.
Multi-channel management is a multi-faceted discipline in which product content managers examine the who, what, where, when, and why of the company’s sales so they can optimize each others selling channel to enhance the customer experience and maximize marketing sales.
The key is to present a centralized platform for the customer. Yours may be a company with thousands of employees that sells online as well as offline, but remember that the customer just sees you as one company. No difference is made between the web part of your business, the high street store, and the call center. It’s all the same to the consumer.
In fact, they will get annoyed if they have to repeat their question that they have previously emailed when they call to follow it up.
For companies, this would offer the benefit of being able to render service to individual customers far more efficiently, as well as the data and insights to enhance the targeting of marketing communications. Most important of all, since the customer can be provided with a greater level of service, it can lead to an increase in customer satisfaction and higher retention rates. When prices and products are often alike between competitors, then the customer experience is one way to differentiate your brand from its rivals. Customers become advocates, recommending your company to friends and colleagues purely based on receiving the service you provided them with. Customer support is vital in this socially-connected digital age.
There are several touchpoints where customers can communicate with the customer support staff. With these, companies have the opportunity to create a positive impression
This is the main point of contact for many customers, but it also has the potential to become the major source of frustration. Call centers are properly staffed with knowledgeable agents who possess the ability to help customers promptly and effectively, this creates a positive impression in the eyes of the customer. When customers who have waited in call queues are finally able to speak to the agent, they are already frustrated, making the job of the customer service team more difficult than it needs to be. It’s a simple thing, though there is a cost attached to it in terms of staff and resources, the benefits received in terms of enhanced customer satisfaction, customer advocacy, retention rates, and good word of mouth may well surpass the costs.
While an urgent query is likely to prompt people to reach for the phone, many people would prefer to send an email and wait for a reply whilst avoiding the chaos of calling and getting in the waiting queue. Though the query should be answered as immediately as possible, customers aren’t expecting an instant response, so this can take the pressure off call centers, and allows companies to take time to investigate issues and provide information without keeping a customer waiting in the queue. However, email customer service is often poor.
Some customers would prefer to go to a local store or office if they had a customer service issue, to speak to someone in person. This may very well be a faster way to resolve some issues, and in the case of returns, it can be more comfortable than returning goods by post or anticipating for a courier to collect them. For companies, this kind of customer service offers a chance to provide a positive experience and have the customer leaving with a more approving opinion of the company. It may also be an opportunity to upsell. If a customer has bought an item online and has a problem with it and they want to return it in-store, then the staff should have the relevant information and authorization to take care of this request.
This is an instant messenger-style service that can be employed on websites to give customers an alternative contact option while they need assistance through a live agent.
Mostly it is more of an accompaniment as it can be shown as an option on product pages, or during the checkout process. For example, a certain pattern of behavior, such as a customer having queries entering payment details could be used as a sign to invite the customer to chat and hopefully resolve the problem, and also make sure that the transaction is successful. It can answer customer questions promptly when they most need a response with the help of a live agent attending to the customers.
The use of social media for customer service is still relatively new, but it offers a great opportunity for brands to get proactive in dealing with customer complaints. It can also show other customers that the brand is listening and willing to engage with its customers. It may not always be the best channel, as some queries may be too complex to deal with in limited characters, or a quick wall posting. But, an initial contact made with social media can always be shifted to another channel if needed. While it provides a spot to go for customers and get issues resolved, good customer service on Twitter, for example, can also help give big companies a more human/friendly face in the eyes of its customers.
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