What’s the Best Channel for Communicating With Customers? Part 1
- You're chatting with a real person. In this age of texting and Facebook, people are used to holding conversations this way. It's less intimidating than talking on the phone, particularly if they have a complaint. There's no shouting; it's all very civilized.
- It's easy to use. Really, it is easy to use. Consumers just open up a dialog box and start typing their question (reactive chat) or a pop-up chat box appears asking site visitors if they'd like to start a chat session (proactive chat).
- Customers can multitask. People can ask a question via live chat and then while a customer service representative (CSR) is digging for the answer the customer can check Facebook or do their laundry.
- You don't have to talk. Live chat enables users the flexibility to deal with other issues (e.g., work) while providing a private interaction that no one else has to know about.
- It's cost effective. CSRs can chat with more than one customer at a time and the technology is cloud-based and scalable.
Of these two methods, manual online chat offers a more immediate, personalized and helpful solution. It also enables customer service on the same web pages where sales and marketing information can be found — when consumers are potentially in look-and-buy mode.
Email can be useful as a customer service tool if it's treated as "high priority" by retailers (which isn't happening at the moment) and the CSRs are dedicated to responding quickly and accurately. If this doesn't change, then over time we may see email become obsolete as a customer service channel in favor of other, more personable channels.
In the second and final part of this series, I'll focus on voice, social care, text message and mobile support, examining the benefits of using these channels to communicate with customers.