Customer service channels have the power to create or break a customer’s experience. As technology continues to advance, so does communication. Gone are the days when the only contact channels that customers can use to reach companies are phones and emails. Now, customers expect to get in touch with you quickly and easily through any of your available channels.
How do companies adapt to these challenges?
Several companies are now implementing and utilizing every means of communication. From the traditional phone calls and emails came live chat and chatbots, social media, and video calls. Indeed, having omnichannel customer service is both impressive and advantageous. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there remains the question of which contact channel best provides a business’s target customers?
What do you believe is the best contact channel that will highlight convenience for your customers?
In this article, we will provide you with the key elements that businesses should know so you can choose the best contact channels that suit your business structure and your clientele. We will also discuss the differences between every contact channel so you can decide if enabling multichannel assistance should be a priority in your company.
What are the key elements that businesses should focus on in choosing contact channels?
When deciding on your primary contact channel, there are several different aspects of it that must be considered. These components serve as the cornerstones of improving your existing relationship with your target customers.
Your niche is the first thing to factor in as you select the main contact channel for your business. Every company has a specialty, and sticking to what your brand does best has an impact on your communication channels as well. For example, if you have a clothing business and your niche is baby clothes, then your demographic should be mothers with infant children or toddlers.
Given that example, what do you think are the most effective contact channels to reach your target audience?
If you happen to choose social media, you have to create powerful content to showcase the quality of your product. Custom or lookalike audiences may be created on Facebook, with the help of their advertising solutions. Using lookalike audiences is useful in discovering more about your present audience and your desired audience on social media, along with other potential customers.
A target audience is the group of people who like to purchase your product or service.
For instance, if you are in the business of selling beauty products, the demographic that you should be focusing on is most likely women between the ages of 20 and 50. As most customers belonging to the said age bracket spend a significant amount of time on social media sites, several companies use them as their primary method of communication.
Meanwhile, companies that offer B2B services tend to use email to establish and maintain connections with prospects and existing clients. They create newsletters or exclusive promotions and disseminate them to contacts subscribed to their email list.
Budget and Resources
Choosing a contact channel entails investing in resources, skills, and materials. As such,your budget will also have an impact on whether your business will have a vast or limited selection of contact channels to choose from. Ask yourself: Is the channel within your company’s price range or budget? How much money are you ready to spend on each contact channel if you are going to take a multichannel strategy to the business interactions you need to have?
Your marketing efforts will be more successful if you identify the channels that your target audience uses on a daily basis. Are there ways to gain more customers and leads using your preferred channel?
Consider if you’re a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-customer or (B2C) communications. For B2B, you need to use contact channels that are both convenient while also upholding professional communication. An example of this is voice support and email. Voice support means leads and clients get to talk to representatives of your company through phone calls. Your agents must know how to convey the proper tone and be articulate when pitching your products and services or assisting customers.
In contrast, a B2C setting will have more leeway for less formal and more formal conversations. Light and casual conversations are more typical in chat-based support. Video chat or call also works because it effectively builds rapport between your agents and your target audience.
Social media is another effective contact channel, and it can be used for both B2B and B2C companies. You can use your social media page to entice people to follow you while you reply to their comments and private messages for any inquiries and feedback.
5 Contact Support Channels That Will Enhance Your Call Center
If you still have no idea what to choose as your primary communication channels, below are the five best contact channels in the market, along with their weak and strong points:
When it comes to customer service, there is no better option than call centers. Typically, call centers specialize on a single contact channel, which is voice support or calls. However, if the customer or the market demands it, then the call center service provider may employ agents who are multilingual and knowledgeable in handling multiple contact support platforms. Otherwise, they may provide training to make them more adept at handling different modes of communication.
It is possible that some contact center agents aren’t as knowledgeable about the company’s products and services. Your brand might suffer if the call center agent doesn’t know how to respond to client questions. It is imperative that you communicate effectively with them, brief them accordingly and provide the necessary training to keep your customers informed about new products, pricing changes, rules, and other important information.
Live Chat and Chatbots
Live chat uses a chat widget that’s added on a business website. It enables real-time response to queries sent by site visitors. Live chat agents are assigned to be on standby and reply to customer chats, but chatbots may also be used to boost the efficiency of live chat support.
For instance, as soon as a customer visits your website, they will see a pop-up window offering live chat support. As soon as the chatbots and live chat agent start conversing with the customer, this will demonstrate to your customers that you are there to talk to them if they run into any problems
Chatbots are best used for canned messages or to answer questions commonly raised about a company’s services. It is also ideal for businesses who do not have enough agents in place to make 24/7 assistance possible. The chatbot will then answer the questions or messages in place of the agents once a customer inquiries past the business’s work hours. In turn, it will help increase their trust in your business.
You might think that email is outdated. Email is a very effective and a frequently used channel when it comes to communication and sales. It works well in retaining professional connections and getting the brand known to prospects across the globe.
Also, unlike in live chat, emails do not have a character limit. That means you have more freedom to talk about your product and entice leads to subscribe or check out what you have in store for them.
The only downside to email support is if you are promoting your brand to a new contact list. There is a tendency that your email may end up in their Spam folder. It is crucial to create a catchy title or headline that will encapsulate the message you want to convey. It must be striking, short, yet also straight to the point. Similarly, your content must be just as engaging. Add graphics and video links if needed to keep readers interested.
Don’t forget to provide a contact person along with their position in the company and professional contact information. Giving these details at the closing part of the email makes it easier for the recipient to know how they can respond or reach out to your business.
Social media is a chameleon among contact channels. It can be used for customer support, online marketing, and even lead generation. It can also serve as an extension of your sales and after-sales assistance.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and even TikTok and Snapchat have helped humanize big and small brands. Customers were given a chance to take a quick look behind the scenes and see how products are created to suit their expectations. More importantly, social media platforms helped bridge gaps between customers and businesses. It offered multiple opportunities for these two parties to communicate and meet halfway. For instance, followers can comment on a promotional ad or an explainer video for their services, and the business can measure the success rate of their new marketing and customer service channel strategy.
It’s easy to stay updated with the trends that matter to your target market. You get to unleash your creativity by sharing engaging material and developing ad campaigns that are created precisely for them.
Meanwhile, you must be wary of the potential risks of having a social media presence. There are online trolls, fake followers who will spread false news about your services, and even competitors who sneakily copy your strategy for their selfish gain.
Hiring In-House Staff Vs. Outsourcing
Is it better to hire in-house contact center personnel or outsource the job to a more experienced company or service provider? The answer is: it depends on your business setup and the demands of your customers.
Outsourcing means hiring an external company or third party to do the job for you, while an in-house personnel is hired directly by your company to accomplish the same work. It may be more cost-effective to employ a third-party contact center rather than to build your own, particularly if you are starting from scratch.
Hiring in-house workers has the advantage of building a unique company culture and closely monitoring each of your staff’s day-to-day operations. Conducting additional training and briefing agents on new services are also easier.
As technology keeps on evolving, so do the different methods people use to keep in touch. Whether you decide to choose one of the contact channels above or implement a multichannel assistance, keep in mind that none of these will work unless you take the time to study the buying behavior and dynamics of your customers. The needs of your customers should dictate what resources to use to ensure you keep them satisfied and happy with your services.
Table of Contents
- What are the key elements that businesses should focus on in choosing contact channels?
- 5 Contact Support Channels That Will Enhance Your Call Center
- Bottom Line