Founder of iScribblers, a content writing agency for technology and SaaS. companies.
Over the years, how companies handle customer service has changed dramatically.
More than a decade ago, phones or fax were the only ways to contact a company.
Today, the list of communication channels is endless. You can choose from the phone, email, SMS, social media, live chat and video.
Companies’ challenge is not setting up these channels (which is also important), but to deliver consistent and satisfactory service across those channels.
Businesses who provide consistent customer service retain 89% of their customers. In contrast, companies with weak omnichannel customer support can retain only 33%.
70% of customers rate their experience with a brand as a deciding factor while making a purchase.
Providing consistent customer service across multiple channels will positively impact the company’s revenue.
This is the reason why an increasing number of brands are investing in an omnichannel customer service experience.
The user can contact the support team on the Samsung website on live chat, WhatsApp, email and writing to the CEO.
Source – Samsung
What does omnichannel customer service mean?
Omni-channel customer service integrates multiple channels such as text, social media, email, live chat and chatbots to provide a consistent and smooth brand experience. Customers can choose from these channels to communicate with the brand while the service quality remains the same.
For a business owner, the benefit of omnichannel customer support is the ability to serve users on different platforms. Along with being convenient and practical, they boost customer success.
Take into consideration the fact that in 2020, customer service will surpass pricing and product as differentiation between brands. With 60% of communication between brands and customers happening through online channels, perfecting omnichannel customer service is valuable for a business.
How to build an omnichannel customer service strategy – 7 best practices
This article includes the 7 omnichannel customer service best practices that are worth investing in your efforts. Instead of spreading yourself too thin by covering all the options, opt for the 3-4 communication channels that your customers usually use.
#1. People expect a good mobile-based service
It is no secret that mobile is huge.
87% of customers use mobile devices to make a purchase. They often complain about the unsatisfactory customer service through mobile.
While it is clear that they seek customer support on their mobiles, businesses are unable to keep up with efficient mobile engagement. A staggering 90% of users complain of a negative customer service experience on mobile. And a poor mobile experience makes them less inclined to do business with that brand.
Source – Software Advice
How can you excel in providing mobile-based customer service?
- Your knowledge base, blogs, documentation, FAQs and videos should be mobile-friendly.
- Display the customer service tab on your app/mobile website/landing page.
- Give your users an easy-access to communicate with you through live chat or dial-for-support, designed for mobile services. Ideally, they would not have to leave your homepage to communicate with your support team.
- Set up a tracking system for mobile-based customer support queries.
Source – Software Advice
#2. Improve your time to respond on social media
Do you know why social media is an excellent customer service tool? What’s the secret high customer satisfaction rates on social media?
Social media enables instant response from the brand owners.
Your customers expect a quick resolution to their queries. They expect companies to respond to social media mentions within 60 minutes.
However, there is a gap between customer expectations and how businesses respond. A report shows that brands are not just struggling to respond quickly; they are struggling to even respond in the first place. The highest response rate is 29%! Only 8% of businesses respond within a timeframe of 30 minutes. This shows that consumers want brands to use social as a customer care channel.
The three traits consumers prefer from brands on social media are easy for a business to replicate. They are friendliness, honesty and helpfulness.
Source – Sprout Social
How do you use social media to offer customer support?
- Train your social media team to provide quick and effective solutions when the customer raises a complaint on social media platforms.
- Respond within 60 minutes. If you cannot offer a quick resolution, acknowledge their query and reassure them of a response.
- Invest in a social media monitoring tool to ensure that you don’t miss a customer comment, even when they don’t tag your brand’s social media handle.
#3. Live chat can improve sales
Did you know that 63% of visitors are more likely to revisit a website that offers live chat? This shows the popularity of live chat as a customer service channel. Combining it with the fact that 44% of customers mention the ability to get answers to their questions during a purchase is an essential feature in an eCommerce website.
No hold time, convenience and access to help quickly reduce customer frustration. They are the top reasons why customers prefer live chat.
Source – Software Advice
Along with being an effective customer support channel, live chat can improve sales. For example, when your customer support agent helps a client with a particular issue, they can identify and sell products that would be useful to them.
Besides reducing bounce rates, live chat helps you upsell to customers. A benefit worth having!
How to use live chat support on your website?
- Install live chat software on your website and app to provide omnichannel assistance.
- Write a script that is personalized and doesn’t sound robotic. Leave room for editing based on the user’s specific requirements.
- Integrate the live chat with a CRM that stores essential information about the customer. You can refer to the data for context before or while attending the call.
- Create a user manual and resources that you can send across to the customer to solve their query during the chat.
Source – Userlike
#4. Self-service is the new customer service
More than half of your customers want to resolve their issues by themselves without reaching the customer support team. They want to answer and fix the issue at their own time. Your customers prefer using the business website to find a solution than on other channels.
The availability of reliable information facilitates customer experience. Even when they need to contact the support reps, the time it takes for the agent to solve the problem reduces. The number of times a customer has to contact the support reps decreases. Higher satisfaction and lower overall customer service costs are a result of self-service.
How would you enable self-service on your business website?
- Customers are mostly satisfied with FAQs, blogs, knowledge base and video content.
- Hire the best content writers to create diverse content formats that offer excellent customer support experience.
Source – CallHippo
#5. Email is still the customer service leader
Don’t discount email. Hand-down, email works very well. It is the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention with a 56% effectiveness.
You can use email to offer branded messages and is a secure platform that your customers trust.
Email is easy to manage and can resolve a large number of customer queries. The catch here is to reply fast, even on email.
Going a step ahead, integrate the email with the CRM. You can set email sequences in the CRM to save time and effort. The email drip campaigns are automated and can be sent out at predetermined intervals.
How to use emails for customer service?
- Personalize the name of the receiver. Add the contact details of the support agent who is replying to the email.
- Regularly optimize email drafts based on queries.
- Measure the email open rate from time to time.
Source – Hiver
#6. SMS still works across industries
For many industries, texting is a popular and preferred customer service channel. Insurance claim companies and restaurants send appointment reminders via text.
The immediacy of SMS makes it a versatile platform. Especially in the banking industry, banks rely on text messaging to send alerts about possible frauds. In urgent situations, SMS works the best, because 99% of all text messages are read.
How to use SMS text messaging for customer support?
- To improve the user experience, let the customers know that they can contact you through SMS. Promote the SMS number on email, website, and social media.
- Leverage SMS to collect customer feedback.
- Train your agents for SMS customer support.
Source – LeadSquared
#7. Phone/ Voice-based customer support
The voice-based customer support dates back to before the internet was available. The traditional phone-based customer support works because it gives an instant response. Typically, when a customer calls a company, they stay on the line until they receive a definite response.
Most of your customers own a mobile device. With little effort, the customer can find your customer-care contact number and make a call. Google has made it even easier with instant call integration.
Source – FinancesOnline
The benefit of using a VoIP phone system is that it allows calls to be recorded and tracked. At the time of a follow-up, using RingCentral alternatives, the information is readily available at their fingertips. As a result, the support agents avoid repeating the information and keep the relationship personalized.
How to boost your customer service with VoIP?
- If you have branches in different countries or time zones, use the VoIP to route the calls to the appropriate branch. As VoIP is flexible to support teams across the world, this will improve your customer retention rate.
- Allow your customers to choose the extension they want to contact through an Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
- To increase customer satisfaction, have a telecommuting policy so that no call goes unanswered. Ideally, someone from your team should always be available to respond to the calls.
The bottom line
With the right customer service technology and strategies, you can transform the performance of your business.
While setting up omnichannel customer service, don’t forget to add a human touch to tie it together.
A well-trained staff that can empathise with the customers to address their concerns and deliver a positive image is the crucial element in providing the best customer service experience.
No matter what channel you choose for customer service, provide honest and helpful support to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers and audience.
If you have any lessons to share about omnichannel customer service, let’s connect on Twitter.
Feature image courtesy – Unsplash.