Multichannel customer service: all you need to know and more
Customers' expectations are set higher than ever. Being available on their favourite communication channels used to be a nice plus, but not a must. However, in 2020 it is.
This means that, besides email and phone, you also have to be present on channels such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. And just being there isn't going to cut it, you need the customer experience to be on the same high level throughout each channel to be effective. This is called multichannel customer service.
In this article, I will explain how your organization can benefit from a multichannel customer service approach.
What is multichannel customer service?
Multichannel customer service is a term that describes a situation where a company offers customer service via multiple channels. Via email, WhatsApp, live chat, or a help center. Customers can be found on more channels than ever and expect the same high-quality treatment throughout the entire customer journey.
Why is multichannel customer service so important?
Multichannel customer service is key for any company that is aiming for high customer satisfaction and a high number of returning customers. When competitors offer a compatible product and prices, a great customer experience can truly make the difference. A multichannel customer service strategy is essential to achieve this.
When customers are unhappy about your customer service, they can churn rather quickly. This unhappiness can be caused by multiple reasons:
- Customers have to wait hours for a reply
- Customers have to repeat themselves too often
- Your employees don't recognize the customers' value
- Customers can't reach your organization via their favourite channels
Luckily, these are all issues that can be tackled way easier by using the right multichannel customer service software.
Which are the most important multichannel customer service channels?
There are an infinite amount of communication channels, but these are the essential ones to make a high-quality customer experience possible.
Making a phone call is still one of the most used ways that customers contact organizations. For companies, it can be tough to manage this. Your staff has to be able to find the right information quickly, holding time has to be as short as possible (this is the biggest customer service frustration out there) and information about every single conversations needs to be accessible and complete.
These are big challenges, but when you pull it off, you can make a strong impression.
Email is also still going strong. This channel gives customers the space they need to ask questions without any boundaries or feeling hurried. Many organizations also like email, simply because they are usually not expected to reply as fast as via other popular channels.
However, when your customer service is even flawed via email, you're in serious trouble. There are still a lot of companies that regularly forget to reply to emails, or who have to keep asking existing customers to repeat themselves - of a simple lack of customer profiles.
Live chat is the perfect way to engage with your customer during their visit to your website. Because it is mostly offered within a widget, it feels accessible to the customer.
The customer comes here for an informal but informative conversation in which their questions are answered fast. Offering high-quality service via live chat can be quite a challenge. That's why it is advisable to set clear expectations in your opening message. You can automate the live chat by adding a chatbot.
Your customer service team also needs to be focused on what's happening on social media. Many customers tend to ask customer-related questions here. Since these conversations are being had in public, this adds a completely new dimension. Whether it's a complaint on twitter or a compliment on Instagram: being adequate, witty, or helpful scores you points in front of your entire audience.
This can be time-consuming, especially when you don't use an inbox that lets you easily monitor messages on these platforms.
Social messaging is relatively new - but definitely one of the biggest opportunities for entrepreneurs to impress their customers. Think of all the new popular channels: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WeChat, and so on. These channels used to be for private use only, but more and more people are getting comfortable with communicating with organizations on there.
Social messaging channels allow you to create an informal and personal connection with your customer. For them, it feels accessible and easy. It enables them to use their favourite channel. Since many of your competitors don't offer these channels at all, or don't know how to use them properly (long holding times), there is a big opportunity for you to make a difference here.
Last but not least: offline. For most companies out there, real life contact with customers is still the most important to communicate with customers. Especially companies such as clothing stores deal with this a lot.
At the end of the day, you need to find a healthy balance of all of the above means of communication to deliver a great CX.
Start offering multichannel customer service
When you are interested in offering multichannel customer service, there are multiple elements you have to keep in mind.
Determine the tone of voice
For an effective multichannel strategy, you need your customer service team to have the same tone of voice on each and every channel they use. In order to achieve this, you first need to think about your brand, what you stand for, and what you want your customers to think about you.
Create a document that explains this clearly and share this with your entire organization. This way, every employee knows what's expected from them when it comes to external communication.
Use multichannel customer service software
One of the biggest challenges of multichannel customer service is how time-consuming it can become. Monitoring channels, managing who answers which message, and so on.
With the right software, you collect all messages from all channels in one inbox. In here, you organize all your conversations - whether those come in via email, voice, live chat, or WhatsApp - and assign them to the right person.
Besides that, the right software allows you to create your own chatbot, without having to use code. These bots can reply to frequently asked questions. This saves your team time to really go above and beyond for your customers.
You can also create customer profiles so that you always have all the information about your customers at your fingertips. You won't have to ask your customer to reintroduce themselves or repeat their issues. This enables your team to reply faster than ever.