Improving customer support in your contact center begins with being active on your customers’ preferred customer service channels. It’s all about meeting people where they are.
If your customers are Twitterholics, you need to have stellar social media support. If the majority of your customer base is interested in chatting with a representative before making a purchase, your website should offer a live chat feature.
By researching and learning about preferred customer service channels, you can craft a plan and focus your limited resources on offering top-notch customer support where it’s needed most. But what’s the best strategy for pinpointing which platforms should be prioritized?
Here are the five preferred customer service channels that every business should consider:
1. Hop On The Live Chat Trend
Thanks to the immediacy it provides, live chat has quickly gained in popularity. Microsoft’s 2020 State of Multichannel Customer Service Report revealead that live chat is the second-most preferred customer service channel after telephone/voice customer service for US-based respondents.
Why is live chat such a highly used channel for customer service?
An online chat system is a convenient and instant way for customers to find out information without the pain of having to dial a number and navigate through the maze of numeric options. With a live chat option, you can tap into consumers’ pain points while simultaneously increasing sales. By making your team available to answer questions via live chat, you can eliminate bounce rates and ensure customers make it all the way to check out.
2. Email Support Is Not Dead
Despite some rumors that email is fading away, it is still very much a part of our daily lives and is a preferred customer service channel for many consumers.
According to the Microsoft report mentioned earlier, email still ranks high in terms of support satisfaction, with 64% reporting this as a key channel. When you consider that 91% of consumers use email every single day, it makes sense they would opt for that customer support channel, especially if their query is not time-sensitive.
Related Article: 8 Quick Tips to Provide Quality Email Customer Service
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3. Have A Presence On Social Media Channels
In the last decade, we have witnessed the rise of consumer support via social media. Every social platform has quickly become a preferred customer service channel. More and more, people expect to find brands on their favorite social channels and expect them to be available to answer their questions and complaints.
But just how important is it for your brand to offer social media support? Forty-two percent of consumers expect a response to social media questions and complaints within 60 minutes, and 32% expect a response within 30 minutes. And 72% of Millennials said they would be more loyal to a brand that responds to social media feedback. Those stats are a powerful reason to include social media in your customer service strategy.
For example, when Esai Velez flew JetBlue Airlines, and his seatback TV gave him nothing but static, he took to Twitter to complain. In 23 minutes, his complaint was addressed, and he tweeted out: “One of the fastest and better customer service: @JetBlue! Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving.“
By dealing with a complaint promptly, JetBlue kept a customer from straying by delighting them with stellar service. Without a customer support team checking their Twitter mentions, this story might have ended with Esai — and potentially others! — never flying JetBlue again.
4. Manage Phone Support
Customer support via the telephone might sound like an old-school method. But it’s not going anywhere. Phone-based customer support still ranks highly among consumers as a preferred customer service channel, with 71% rating it as a key preference.
The reason for its popularity? Half of consumers say they prefer a phone conversation when it comes to sensitive data such as financial or healthcare information. This is backed by Gartner, which shared that customers often turn to phone customer service after their attempts at self-service fail.
So while phone support may lose ground to other preferred customer service channels every year, it still has a place in your contact center options.
5. Forums Or Message Boards
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box preferred customer service channel, your organization might want to consider staffing forums or message boards. Online forums give your customers the ability to come together and socialize. Think of them as the coffee shops of the internet: they’re where conversation happens!
Once you have identified these shared communities, consider opening up a dedicated thread where customers can post support questions. Not only will your presence in these spaces allow you to stand apart from your competitors, but your customers will also have a more convenient way to contact you without having to email or pick up the phone.
Assigning your agents to these five preferred customer service channels will help your contact center increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. No matter which of your customers’ preferred channels you choose, your goal should be to meet them where they are to simplify their efforts and keep them moving along the buyer’s journey smoothly.
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