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Which Channel Is Right for Your Customer?


September 24, 2014

Which Channel Is Right for Your Customer?

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Quality customer service is one of the most important parts of your company’s infrastructure. A recent American Express Survey discovered that 78% of consumers decided not to go through with a purchase because of poor customer service. It’s essential to keep current customers happy; Marketing Metrics says someone who has purchased from you in the past is about three times as likely to make a purchase from you as a new prospect.

A large part of the customer service experience can be chalked up to offering service through the right channels at the right time. Which one works best?

Send an Email or Don’t?

Email has the advantage of allowing you to capture complex issues in writing. This adds clarity to a situation, plus an easy-to-follow history of the account issue. However, when time is of the essence, email can be too slow and leave customers feeling neglected.

When Text Is Best

Until recently, a company could send an SMS text message to the customer, but the customer had no way to text back. This meant that text was good for alerting customers to changes, but not good for conversations. Up-to-date technology like OneReach facilitates two-way texting conversations between customers and companies. This offers a great level of convenience when all you need is a yes, no, or a small piece of information.

Text also offers unparalleled immediacy, since most people always have their phones on hand. A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by OneReach found that 81% of Americans think it’s frustrating being tied to a phone or computer to wait for customer service help. Among those who use text messaging, 64% prefer text messaging over voice to perform some kind of customer service activities.

Web Chat Pros and Cons

In a customer service survey performed by eDigital, 77% of customers rated web chat customer service as “good” or “excellent.” They cited short wait times and quick responses as some of their reasons for liking chat

However, chat needs to be implemented well to be successful. Invasive chat pop-ups were rated negatively; instead, companies should offer clients an easy-to-find chat invitation on their screen.

Hiring knowledgeable staff to work the support desk is a critical factor. In the same eDigital survey, 92% of respondents said that a customer service agent’s knowledge of the product and policies was the most important part of a customer service web chat interaction.

In the end, the best option is the one that your customer prefers. By offering omni-channel customer service, where a client can be immediately recognized on any device, you can meet clients in their space to give them the service that will keep them happy and coming back to your business.

Photo by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications.

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