Does your company seem out of touch with your customers? Do you think your sales, retention, or conversions are lower than they should be? You may not be offering your customers the choices they prefer. It may be time to upgrade your customer support options to those that ensure your customers can reach you.

There are many disadvantages both to your customers and your company if you only offer telephone support. The main disadvantage of phone support is the wait time. Your customer service agents can only service one customer at a time by phone. This means that other customers with question must wait for an available support agent. This costs your company sales if a customer gets tired of waiting and moves on. It could also cost you more in payroll since you may have to hire additional support agents to keep up with the incoming calls.

Three other main tools for customer support are becoming important to consumers – Live Chat, Self Service, and Social Media.

Live Chat

Live Chat programs are similar to phone support but more convenient both for your customers and your agents. Live Chat programs allow your agents to chat with multiple customers simultaneously. They also offer file and link sharing that gives customers what they need without having to read long URLs to them over the phone. Most important, your agents can reach customers proactively using a chat program before the customer even realizes he/she wants to talk to a support agent.

Forrester reports that 63% of consumers used a live chat program in the past 12 months. In addition, 63% of Millennials reported that they prefer to use live chat over traditional phone support. When choosing a live chat program, several fundamentals deserve consideration.

The many live chat programs available offer different price points and features. It is important to research which live chat features your support agents and customers will want and need before making a decision. At LiveSupport.com, we offer live chat programs that contain many features expected in a live chat software program while also including the option for your customers to use the text messaging software on their phone to communicate with your CS Agents using live chat. It’s important to note that 52% of customers said they would prefer to use text messaging over a web-based, live chat program to communicate with Support agents.

Self Service

Consumers also consider Self-Service programs, such as an online FAQ, equally important. Ninety percent (90%) of responders said they prefer brands and organizations with a self-help option on the website. Forrester reports that 84% of consumers have used a website’s FAQ or other Self Service program in the last 12 months. FAQ’s and other Self-Service programs benefit the consumer because it helps them to find answers for many simple questions without the need to contact customer support directly. Offering this will lower your company costs and keep your customers happy and coming back.

Social Media

Consumers also prefer to use Social Media over traditional phone contact to interact with customer support. Today, almost everyone has a mobile device that puts access to multiple social media networks in the palm of their hands. Using Social Media for customer support is growing much faster among younger generations: 81% of Millennials said they use social media to contact a brand while only 44% of Boomers said the same. Experts suggest these numbers will show increased growth as Generation Z becomes a larger percentage of the population. You cannot afford to ignore presenting a good social media presence and a responsive social media team.

If you do not already offer these three growing methods of Customer Support, you need to make them priorities in your marketing plan. As the phone rings less frequently, it is in your best interests to insure you offer the additional avenues of contact your customers prefer to use to reach your support teams.

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