What is multichannel support?
Multichannel support is customer support that is provided on multiple channels and touchpoints, rather than forcing customers to reach the organization over just one channel.
It includes a range of channels from phone and email support to deploying chatbots and live chat over your website, mobile app, and various social media and messaging channels.
Why is multichannel support important?
Multichannel support is important because it allows your customers to contact your customer service team on the channel they prefer.
It helps them choose the best support operation channel that they want to interact use to interact with your organization depending on how urgent their issue is. If it’s something that isn’t extremely urgent, they’d send you an email, but if it is urgent, they’d reach you over chat or a phone call.
It’s even more important when you consider that some customers are intimidated by the idea of a phone call, but they realize that emails would leave them wondering when they would get a response.
Now, they could opt for a chat session, but maybe they don’t have space in their phone to download your app, or they just don’t want to navigate to your website.
Your best bet in this situation is to provide support over the message apps and social media that they are already using regularly, eg. WhatsApp, Messenger, and Telegram.
What is the difference between multichannel support & omnichannel support?
Multichannel support involves providing customer service over multiple channels and allowing your customers to choose which channel they prefer interacting with you over.
It focuses on allowing businesses to reach customers on the platforms they are using, essentially meeting customers where they are hanging out.
Omnichannel support, however, takes this a step further. While multichannel support involves engaging customers over multiple channels, it does not integrate these channels. So if customers want to switch channels, they would have to repeat their queries as the agent on the new channel does not have context about the conversation that occurred on the previous channel.
Omnichannel support integrates these channels, allowing the conversations to flow across channels, giving the agents context about past conversations and creating a seamless experience for your customers. It eliminates the frustration involved in repeating questions to get an issue resolved.
How to provide multichannel support?
To provide multichannel support, you need to engage customers on the channels that they use the most. Here are the common channels over which they expect to be able to reach you.
1. Web chat
Customers expect to be able to get support using a chatbot or live chat on your website.
2. In-app chat
If you have a mobile app, they expect to be able to reach you using a chatbot or live chat directly from the app instead of having to visit your website.
3. Social media and messaging apps
Customers expect to be able to reach you over social media and messaging apps like WhatsApp. You can deploy a chatbot with live chat capabilities here because customers expect answers much faster on social media.
But it’s not limited only to the messaging over social media. You also need to monitor your mentions on social media, especially Twitter, where customers post customer service queries on the main feed.
While chat is important, email is not dead yet and you should be able to provide support on this channel.
This is one of the most traditional channels of customer support. While there is hold time involved, customers may still opt for it if they have extremely urgent queries or if they haven’t received an answer over other channels as quickly as they expected.