The way that companies handle customer service has changed dramatically in recent years. More than a decade ago, there were only two ways to contact a company – by phone or by fax (remember fax machines?). Today, you can take your pick; phone, email, live chat, snail mail and social media. The list appears endless. The challenge for many companies is not only to be accessible in these channels, which is important, but for those channels to deliver consistent and an integrated service quality. Companies that provide a consistent service quality across multiple channels retain 89% of their customers, whereas companies that do not provide a consistent quality are only able to retain 33%. A consistent service quality across multiple channels will significantly impact company revenue. And this is why more companies are investing in Omni-channel customer service.
What is Omni-channel customer service?
Omni-channel customer service integrates phone calls, text, social, email, fax, snail mail, Live Chat and instant messaging to provide a unified brand experience so that customers can switch between multiple channels yet still experience quality of service.
Omni-channel customer support gives you the opportunity to serve your clients in a variety of ways that are not only convenient and effective, but boost your brand’s image and credibility. And when you look at stats like Accenture’s finding that 89% of consumers experience frustration at having to repeat their questions to multiple customer service reps, you see the value in perfecting Omni-channel integration.
Improve your social media response times
Social media is a great customer service tool, resulting in high customer satisfaction rates. However, many brands fail to understand customer’s expectations when it comes to providing customer service through social listening.
There’s a gap between when customers expect an answer after initiating contact and when businesses are actually responding. 32% of clients want an answer within 30 minutes. But the average response time for leading businesses is 157 minutes. The percentage of businesses who respond within the expected 30 minutes time frame is only 8%. And a full 12% of businesses don’t respond to customer messages on social media at all!
If you ignore social media communications from your customers or fail to prioritize response speed, you can expect increased churn rates of up to 15% due to customer frustration.
Slow response rates are regarded even more negatively by customers than when a business doesn’t respond at all.
Increasing speed doesn’t only reduce churn; it results in a positive experience for the customer. Reducing response times on social media and training employees to provide quick and effective solutions can significantly improve your customer relationships.
Live Chat can improve sales
Live chat is a very popular form of customer service with 63% of visitors being more likely to revisit a site that offers live chat. And 44% of consumers report that being able to get answers to their questions during a purchase is one of the most important features a website should offer.
The ability to access help quickly and conveniently alleviates customer frustration. In fact, no hold times and convenience were slated as the top two reasons customers prefer live chat in a survey by Software Advice.
Besides being an effective channel for customer service, Live Chat can improve sales. As customer support agents walk clients through a particular issue, they may be able to identify products or services that would be useful to them.
So not only does Live Chat benefit your business by reducing bounce rates, it also helps customer service reps upsell to clients.
Professional customer service agents with extensive knowledge of the brand’s products and services can use Live Chat to provide a positive customer experience and boost sales.
Phone and Email are still customer service leaders
Don’t discount the phone or email just because they’re not shiny and new. People still look to the telephone when needing assistance with purchasing decisions, because they want an answer FAST! Email also is very popular and works well as long as your response time is quick. In fact, phone calls and email win hands-down as being the most effective marketing strategies for customer retention with 56% effectiveness, compared to 37% retention effectiveness with social media marketing.
Email also gives businesses the opportunity to offer branded messages and is a secure platform that customers trust. 38% of consumers prefer communicating online or via email about simple customer service issues.
Businesses should be aware that the expectation of a fast reply still applies to calls and emails.
Always answer customers when they contact you. If you don’t respond, they are likely to spend their money elsewhere.
Omni-channel customer service is the solution for forward-thinking businesses. It’s the human touch that ties it all together. Well-trained staff can address customer concerns and deliver a positive image of your brand — it’s the key ingredient to providing top-notch customer service.
No matter which channels you choose to use in customer service, the priority is, and always will be, to provide a helpful and informed experience that will continue to grow your relationship with your customers, creating Brand Advocates- FOR LIFE!
Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound Omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.
Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to www.idea-factor.com