Customer expectations have changed dramatically over the years. Gone are the days when it’s acceptable for a customer to have limited options when they need to inquire about a product or service, make a purchase or ask for assistance. Customers now want the ability to get in touch with you when and how they want it. As a result, a growing number of companies are offering multichannel customer support.
What is Multichannel Customer Support?
In the simplest explanation, multichannel customer support means that a company offers multiple communication channels for a customer to reach out to them. These channels typically include phone, email, live chat, SMS, social media, self-service help centers and online communities.
There are a lot of benefits in implementing a multichannel support strategy. The number one benefit is convenience to your customers. There are people who prefer talking to someone over the phone to get assistance on complex questions. On the other hand, there are those who want to have a quick chat over social media for their basic inquiries. It really depends on the nature of your customer’s needs, their habits and personal preferences.
Another benefit is enhanced efficiency. For example, a customer may be looking for an answer to a simple question like changing information in their account. Instead of dialing your customer service number and possibly waiting in queue, the customer can just do a quick search in your self-service help center to find out how to do it on their own or engage in a live chat while they’re doing other things online.
How To Implement a Multichannel Customer Support?
Before you set things in motion with a multichannel support, you must first assess your business and customer needs. Even if offering all channels seem to be a good idea, it makes more sense for you to focus on opening up communication channels where your customers are mostly active.
You can do a simple survey with your existing customers to learn about their preferred modes of communication. Another way is to study the volume of your customer interactions and find out which channels have high engagement. A combination of these fact-finding approaches will enable you to make an education decision on which communication mediums your company should offer.
Once you’ve determined the support channels needed to take your customer service to the next level, it’s paramount that they get implemented effectively. A company may have a ton of ways for their customers to contact them. However, the outcome won’t be positive if those individual channels are not effective on its own.
Here are some quick tips:
- have support hours that cover most of your customer base
- avoid having long queues or wait times
- aim for a fast response or turnaround time
- utilize a powerful ticketing software to track customer concerns from start to finish
- use chatbots when applicable for efficiency
- maintain a comprehensive, useful and up to date documentation of your knowledge base help center
- know when to switch a customer to another channel and even offline if needed
The road to serving customers across various channels can be a real challenge. Companies can either opt to do everything within their organization in-house or seek the assistance of an outsourcing agency. If you don’t have the bandwidth and core competencies to maintain a multichannel support, customer support outsourcing can help.
As products and services continue to evolve, so will your customers. Any business that provides fast, reliable and easy support to its customers will stand out from the crowd and remain to be competitive. Multichannel customer support is one of the key elements in accomplishing those goals and the number of companies embracing it will continue to rise.