When customers need assistance, they choose to get in touch through particular channels for various reasons. If you don’t offer the preferred communication channel of your target demographic, you’re creating a roadblock that could potentially affect your potential customers’ purchasing intent. Ensure you’re serving the needs of your customers by considering these communication drivers:
1. Convenience & efficiency Jeroen Lampe, Casengo user and CEO of the infant and maternity online store Ikbenmama.nl, says in his video testimonial that email is without a doubt the main communication channel used by his customers. “Mothers don’t like using the phone all that much. It’s often inconvenient with kids around, so the majority of our enquiries reach us via email.” When it comes to convenience, email and online chat are the preferred options, with Twitter starting to make an impact. Why? - You can avoid the labyrinth of phone prompts and call queues that may - or may not - route you to the right department.
- You can start an email and, if you get interrupted, resume it later rather than start at the beginning of the phone queue again.
- You can email customer support or respond to correspondence at any time of the day or night.
- Live chat allows consumers to multi-task by simply tabbing between screens. Yes, you can liaise with customer support and still get your work done. Now that’s convenience with a capital ‘C’!
- Tweet an inquiry from your smartphone and you’ve tapped into customer support whilst on-the-go, and using less than 140 characters. It hardly ever gets more efficient than that...
2. Assurance & understanding Whilst email and online chat are a boon for convenience, don’t underestimate the value of actually speaking to someone. Consumer studies have shown that the more serious the nature of the inquiry, the more likely a consumer is to pick up the telephone and speak to a customer service agent. It all comes down to trust and ensuring you’ve been understood. Explanations and conveying one’s intent over chat or email can be difficult, and in this instance, it’s best to pick up the phone, leaving nothing to chance.
3. Accessibility & usability Not everyone can freely email and chat online with customer support. Some people don’t have ready access to computers and the internet, so for these (potential) customers, phone support is essential. Conversely, a growing number of households do not have a landline phone, making the cost of calling a toll number from a mobile phone prohibitive. And whilst Twitter and Facebook are proving to reduce customer support costs for both consumers and companies, its uptake is still largely dominated by Gen Y consumers. What’s your target audience like, and what channels do you need in order to be reached by them?
4. Anonymity & discretion The increase of customer inquiries via social media goes hand in hand with the growing number of companies extending their customer support channels to Facebook, Twitter and even Quora. The public nature of social media heightens the responsiveness of companies, but consumers must be willing to sacrifice their anonymity. When discretion is important, online chat and telephone help lines are a definite must. Now, with these factors in mind, is it time to re-evaluate your support channels? Check out Casengo, the all-in-one application for handling email, live chat, phone and Twitter inquiries. If not for you, do so for your customers today...