At present, businesses, in general, are going through a type of crisis. Most companies acknowledge the need for maintaining and regularly updating their customer support program. Although when it comes to fulfilling the need and coming up with a plan within a stipulated budget to make the most positive outcome, most of these companies fall short miserably.
In fact, most businesses have described that updating their customer support program might be a huge responsibility that they find far trickier than it looks.
And the fact that customers today are well-acquainted with various communication channels makes the matter even more confusing for the companies. Should one scale back phone support to pave the way for digital channels? Should social media customer support be given prime attention? Should webchat take the center stage in the renewed customer support plan? Decision. Decision.
What furthermore worsens the situation is that the customers prefer different channels based on the nature of their transactions. At the same time, they also want to have several alternative communication channels as standbys.
As per a published study by PwC in its Customer Intelligence Series, almost 73% of customers are of opinion that every time they feel that their overall customer service experience is turning negative, they begin to think about switching communication channels for this reason. And the company should oblige by mastering a few communication channels.
However, a company must have the foresight to look beyond the propaganda. Despite the obvious hype, there are some channels that have failed to make any big difference in the life of the customers. Take the example of automated dial-in, a feature that nowadays being featured in the customer service section of different websites.
According to PwC study, automated dial-in is used and preferred by only 4% of respondents. On the other hand, it is also seen that the takers of certain social media channels are also limited. However, as these takers are wildly vocal, the channel appears to be one of the most prominent communication channels.
This leaves businesses with a tough challenge. How to look beyond the hype and opt for the customer service channel that is the most important to their customers and not for the customers in general? Investing resources behind the channels that appeal to their customers and bring about positive results is a good decision. On the other hand, being present in every channel but without any depth will only make them look like a fool. What is worse? It won’t help either the customers or the business.
While choosing channels to support, companies need to focus on lessening customer effort. As per the PwC study, consumers rate a channel poorly when it fails to offer ease and convenience of use. 28% of Channels are rated poorly for being inconvenient; 17% received a poor rating for having too many steps in issue resolution and 14% were rated for being time-consuming. If a customer has to be on the phone with the company multiple times to find a solution or face inconvenience in using the channel, it may lead to the worst customer service.
PwC analysts wrote, “Regardless of customer service channel, the best customer service practices always start with resolving customers’ problems— the faster the better the experience.” And “Other crucial drivers are convenience as well as knowledgeable, helpful customer service representatives. Strictly digital users also value speed while strictly traditional users consider a positive attitude essential to excellent customer service.”
Thus, you can very well see that customer preferences vary greatly depending on the demographics. Companies serving middle-aged people or seniors should not follow the path that some other company catering to generation Y.
There is no one size fits all approach in customer support. A company must look in the eyes of the demographic and decide on a customer support solution.