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Meet Your Customers On Their Terms: The Importance of Omnichannel Support

As technology has become more advanced in recent years, companies dramatically changed the way they’re handling customer support. Not so long ago, the only way for customers to reach a company was through phone or fax. Today, efficient companies also offer consumers the opportunity to get support through email, live chat, SMS, social media, apps, and within video games. As a result, customers are able to choose their preferred method for contacting support agents. To maximize your company’s success, increase ROI, and boost customer satisfaction, you need an omnichannel support strategy that’s diverse and satisfies each customer’s needs.

To keep your audience happy and satisfied, you must provide a seamless, consistent customer experience that requires little to no work on their part. If a customer uses one channel to get support, they should have the same level of service on another channel. If a customer calls in and follows up using email or social media, for example, strive to reduce the need to have them repeat their issues to multiple representatives.

Another reason to expand your support channel: Consumers use multiple devices daily to search the web, research products, make purchases, and connect with businesses. Whether a customer is using their mobile device, computer, or game console, whether they’re on the go or lounging at home, they should be able to reach your business by phone, email, through live chat, SMS, social media, or within your app.

Let’s look at these customer communication channels a bit more in-depth:

  • Text Messaging (SMS): Because most people always have their cellphones with them, it makes sense for a company to offer customer service via SMS. It’s a very versatile platform because it works for a variety of industries. Using SMS, customers can place to-go orders with restaurants, book appointments and receive reminders, respond to insurance claims, receive alerts about possible account fraud with their bank, and more. Due to the immediacy and convenience of SMS, many consumers prefer it as a channel of communication. In fact, 56% of consumers want the ability to reach out to a business via text message.
  • Live Chat: When a customer is browsing a company’s website and has a question, they need a way to access help quickly and conveniently. Live chat can improve sales by taking care of a customer’s issue while they are on the site or walking them through the purchase process. Because live chat is convenient and has no hold time, many consumers prefer it over other communication channels.
  • Social Media: Consumers hang out on social media, so it makes sense that many of them reach out to companies via these platforms. But not responding quickly enough (often within 30 minutes) can lead to a frustrated customer. Speedy support responses on social media can reduce churn and create a positive customer experience.
  • In-App/In-Game: When experiencing issues with a mobile app, some users will merely delete the app if frustrated. Avoid this harsh sentence by providing an instantly accessible help desk within your app or game, which will simplify communication between you and your customers or players seeking support. You can offer an even better experience if the user doesn’t have to leave the app or game to connect with you.

Phone and email are still critical communication channels for customer support. But in order to stay connected and retain customers, you need a more diverse approach. Omnichannel support gives businesses the chance to provide more personalized customer experiences and keep customer retention at high levels. And while you may offer support services on your website and Twitter page, if they’re not part of an interconnected, synergistic experience, you’re not serving your customers as well as you might. Each channel should complement the other, making for a support environment that meets your customers where they are.

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