Choosing The Best Mix Of Communication Channels
In the past customer support was mainly provided through call centers, but customers demanded more options. Knowing that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for great customer experiences, customer satisfaction should always be a priority. Today there is a range of communication platforms and channels to choose from.
When choosing communication channels, it is essential to consider how your customers currently communicate with you and where there might be gaps. Each customer communication channel caters to customers’ needs differently and comes with its own pros and cons.
The 8 Communication Channels For Increase Customer Satisfaction
Self-Service For Self-Reliance
With self-service, customers can find the answers to their problems without waiting for help. If done correctly, businesses can reduce the number of support requests, and customers do not need to wait around for something they can solve themselves. Studies found that 40% of consumers now prefer self-service to human contact, and 70% of customers now expect a self-service application to be available.
Self-service enables businesses to establish a set of resources that can remain evergreen and assist thousands of customers without requiring individual attention. This is in contrast to email, chat, phone, and other channels, which require a team of people to provide customers with direct attention.
Customers value self-service with 81% of customers willing to attempt to resolve their issues on their own before contacting help, according to Harvard Business Review.
There are many self-service options including video archives, blogs, recorded seminars, in-product contextual tutorials, FAQ pages, etc. Self-service can also be integrated into other types of assistance your business provides, like within your phone support system or chat messaging services.
Social Media Mega Hits
Almost 60% of a global survey respondents found that customers have a favorable view of brands that respond to customer service questions or complaints on social media. There are many famous stories of random people complaining about something; someone sees it, and magically the problem is solved.
Social media customer support can become viral and help your business’ brand image if done well. There are many different social networking platforms available. To differentiate between them, look at where your audience is already most active, engaged, and established.
Because social media is very public, how you communicate through this channel is essential. For example, highlight positive customer experiences and reply to customers knowing that their whole social network may be listening.
There are more than 4.6 billion users of email globally. It is one of the most democratic communication tools out there. Almost anyone can have a mailbox to communicate with a business within minutes and at no cost.
Email is excellent since it enables asynchronous communication, and frequently a single customer support agent can handle several cases simultaneously.
Email is suitable for various support needs, such as those which can be explained easily in writing, needs a direct answer, and does not involve the need to show emotions. However, other choices would be better suited if the issue is more technical or requires a lot of back-and-forth communication.
Chatbots are quickly taking over customer service communications used by businesses of all sizes and industries. As a result, they are currently managing a growing chunk of customer interactions worldwide.
The great thing about chatbots is that they can operate 24 hours a day and simultaneously provide speedy answers to numerous inquiries. Companies can use chatbots to respond to customers’ most frequently asked questions and combine bots and human responses for more complex queries.
There is a limit to chatbot AI technology, so businesses cannot rely totally on them. Yet, by combining human interactions where chatbots are still weak will make the overall experience more effective for both customers and the business.
Live Chat With A Real Person
Live chat is very popular due to its quick response times for customers. Customers prefer to get an answer fast instead of waiting on the phone for the next available agent or sending emails back and forth. Additionally, customers can receive prompt and personalized solutions to their inquiries.
Live chat can function as a round-the-clock help channel. Conversations can happen whenever and wherever customers see a need. Support agents can guide clients around their problems with quick messages back and forth. Also, better customer experiences can be delivered with live chat functionalities like emoticons, sending pictures, and CRM linkage.
Good Old Phones
The advantages of phone support help are extensive. First, certain people are more likely to call for assistance since they don’t feel as comfortable sending emails or chatting with chatbots. Phones access is also widely accessible to most, and the response time is faster if local time zone support is offered. And lastly, some things that are hard to describe in writing can be easier done verbally.
When the subject of the call is more personal and requires security, the conversation is more suited to be a direct phone call. This includes examples like bills, banking, and healthcare.
Video Chat – A Personal Touch
Video chat is undoubtedly one of the most popular ways to interact with customers due to its capacity to provide highly individualized services.
Businesses can employ video chats to give customers a visual perspective and a more in-person-like experience. Video chats are good for demonstrations and when visual aids are needed. It is better for resolving complex issues that chat channels cannot handle because of the lack of emotions and facial cues. In addition, customers build better rapport and trust with people they can see, at least online, if not in person.
Many video chat platforms also allow screen sharing and remote control, both excellent tools for agents to resolve issues fast while the customers are directly in front of their device.
Related Links: See how Viewabo can help
Face-to-face – The Oldest And First Choice
Nothing compares to speaking with your customers face-to-face. It will always be the preferred communication channel where customer engagement and attention can be at their highest.
Businesses worldwide place one-on-one meetings as a crucial part of a great customer interaction strategy. Many businesses still fly customer support agents worldwide to meet with customers face-to-face because of the level of interaction they get from an in-person meeting.
With face-to-face meetings, businesses can better comprehend the message from their customer’s body language, gestures, and facial expressions. As a result, problems and issues can be addressed at that moment, and the direction of the conversation can be changed to fit the present atmosphere.
Comparisons Of Different Communication Channels
Between the 8 communication channels described above, a range of differences makes each unique. The list goes from:
- Self Help
- Social Media
- Chat Bot
- Live Chat
- Video Chat
Differences – Reach, Personalization & Effectiveness
- Reach: From the first to the last, self-help has the most significant reach as all customers have universal access. Face-to-face support has the lowest reach as it requires 1-on-1 attention and is also limited to local business hours and on-site agent availability.
- Personalization: Here, the opposite is found, where the bottom of the list offers the most personalized information and customer service. Higher up on the spectrum channels provides less and less ability for customizations.
- Effectiveness: In terms of effectiveness, this depends on the customer and their needs. If a resolution is found conveniently and without friction, then any of the above communication channels are a good fit.
In conclusion, choosing communication channels will always depend on your customer and their preferences. Allowing customers to lead you in selecting the best communication channels to offer will help your business choose better and for that channel to be effective. Experiment and make changes as you try to improve your customer experience through different communication channels. More communication never hurts.
Related Links: Applying the 7 P’s of Customer Support
A Message From Viewabo
Visual support solutions, like Viewabo, can help your business see and solve problems for customers. Our solutions can be a great addition to many communication channels such as email, phone, video, and chat customer support. Contact us to find out how we can help.