If your startup is small or new, it’s understandable that you only have the basic customer support channels available to customers, such as telephone and email. While this is a good start, today’s customer wants access to a company through various channels.
Customers use different channels based on their needs. When deciding how to contact a company, customers take the following factors into account:
- Convenience. How quickly and easily can they get in touch with you? Do they struggle to find your contact details on your website? Can they reach out on social media?
- Urgency. Problems and emergencies can happen at any moment. When this happens, customers are likely to call for immediate help rather than wait for a response on email. Is your help desk available 24 hours a day? If not, do you have an after-hours number? Remember, if you can’t help a customer immediately, they’ll find someone who can.
- Complexity of the issue. A customer may use a contact form for a minor query but for a more complex issue they may call to speak to someone who can guide them through the steps to solving the problem.
Which customer support channels are a must for a growing startup?
As a new startup, you probably don’t have a large enough customer service team to support every channel available. As your business grows, you’ll need to add more channels to better serve a growing customer base.
First, choose platforms based on where your customers are. If most of your customers are on Instagram, add a contact button to your Instagram account with your phone number or email address, or both.
Second, start with the channels most customers prefer. For instance, 75% of customers say they prefer live chat over speaking to a call center agent.
Here are five customer support channels most customers expect a business to have:
Despite digital customer service channels gaining ground, 65% of respondents expect companies to have telephone support, and 28% felt it was a channel they couldn’t live without.
So, the good old-fashioned telephone is still a must. Some customers fear their email or contact form message will disappear into the cyber abyss, never to receive a response. Others are less tech savvy and simply prefer speaking to a human.
2. Live Chat
Live chat has surged in popularity in recent years. The convenience and immediacy of live chat is the reason more people are using it. The customer satisfaction rate with live chat is an impressive 83%.
Live chat also increases conversion rates. Online shoppers are three times more likely to make a purchase after a live chat, and some will increase the amount they spend by 10%.
Ninety-one percent of consumers use email every day, so it makes sense to include it as a customer support channel. However, make sure you don’t fulfill customers’ fear of the email abyss. Have enough help desk staff available to reply to email queries quickly.
Email may be the choice for those who don’t have an urgent problem and want to avoid call center queues and lengthy calls with a help desk agent.
4. Text Messaging
Whether it’s your company’s website or mobile app that features text messaging, a third-party messaging app like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, or the plain simple text (sms) message, customers want more text-based customer service options.
Texting offers busy people a chance to knock off a message quickly. In one survey, 56% of people said they would prefer to message a business than call a customer service center. On the other hand, 68% said they would take phone calls from a customer service agent in response to their text message.
5. Social Media
Social media must form part of your customer service strategy. Many customers reach out to companies on social media with customer service requests and expect a response. If they don’t get one, there’s a good chance they won’t do business with you again.
A study by Gartner found that companies who ignore support requests on social media have an average churn rate that’s 15% higher than companies who don’t.
How can you integrate multiple customer support channels in one system?
Customers expect companies to offer a blend of physical and digital communication channels. Maintaining separate customer support channels, however, isn’t efficient. When deciding on customer service software, choose one that will centralize all your support requests.
Ideally, you want a multi-channel customer support system that can feed all communications — be it a call, email, social media, text message, or live chat — into one place. Agents should be able to respond to all those channels directly from the CRM’s dashboard.
Improving your customer support service is important. Without customers, you won’t have a business. It’s as simple as that. That’s why good customer service, from the first point of contact through to after-sales support, is essential to a growing business.