What’s the Best Channel for Communicating With Customers? Part 2
In part one of this two-part series, I analyzed the best way for retailers to communicate with their customers. This subject was prompted by STELLAService's research, which revealed that when customers emailed 25 of the largest American retailers, they only got a complete answer 54 percent of the time.
In this follow-up article, I look at voice, social media and mobile support as customer service channels and the benefits of using each.
I'll start with the telephone, the longest-standing way to communicate with customers. Voice remains popular for the following reasons:
- People like the "human touch." People like to speak to other people; it makes them feel valued.
- It's immediate. Voice offers an immediate channel to the company, so issues can be resolved quickly.
- It's convenient. Most people own a telephone (either home or mobile).
- It's expected. Consumers expect retailers to offer customer service via the phone.
Despite its longevity, voice as a customer service channel does have some drawbacks. For example, when a company is experiencing high call volumes (e.g., following an incident), customers tend to get frustrated when kept on hold.
Then there's the dreaded "press one for" menu system (also known as the interactive voice response menu, or IVR for short). All companies should make a real effort to streamline this menu to ensure customers can make quick, clear selections to reach the person or department they want.
When customers do reach the right customer service representative (CSR), the CSR needs to be empowered to deal with telephone inquiries immediately. Customers don't like to be passed between multiple departments in a contact center. The more efficiently questions are dealt with, the better.
Social Media Support
A recent whitepaper from TELUS International shows that customers are increasingly asking questions via social networks, opening a back door into customer service. This communications channel is known as 'social care' and it has numerous benefits: