Top 5 ways your customers want to contact you
You might love communicating with your customers via email or phone, but do your customers love it as much as you do? As the song goes, the times they are a-changin’: customer expectations for fast and convenient communication are growing rapidly. The average customer uses up to 6 (! different platforms to get in touch with companies). Online communication is the new standard in customer service.
So what do today’s customers want exactly? Get ready for the most compelling, successful and innovative customer support practices.
1 | Inbox kings: they want email
The first step to providing fabulous customer service still is a great email platform. Sending an email is easy, fast and effective. Customers can go along their merry way until an answer arrives (hopefully within a reasonable time). A 2012 customer preferences surveyreveals that 76% of customers prefer email when inquiring about products or service.
Flash forwarding to 2014, we estimate this trend will stand its ground: email will remain a strong customer service tool for current clients and a communication portal for potential ones. Bottom line: an email management platform is a must-have. Email is still the first channel for most customers with questions.
2 | Live on demand: they want to chat
Here’s a survey that translates our intuition into numbers: 24% of customers prefer to use live chat when they need help. As this survey dates back to 2012, we estimate that by now, well over 30% of customers expect to be offered live chat.
Live chat combines the best of two old worlds: it links the immediate human interaction of a call center to the convenience of email. Live chat allows your potential customer to contact you directly, anonymously and for free. It’s especially appealing for first time queries, as it does not create an obligation to purchase, allowing freedom to ask all sorts of questions. Bottom line: At least 1 out of 4 online visitors appreciates customer service through live chat. Not offering live chat means you’ll miss out on this group of potential customers.
3 | Fast & furious: they want to go mobile
Mobile usage for customer support is growing rapidly every year. Dedicated mobile applications and the customer service through WhatsApp are not only innovative but also convenient to today’s smartphone-addicted population. The use of mobile attracts young customers, as stuck to their phone as they are. They don’t think twice about taking pictures of a damaged product, for example, and ‘apping’ it to customer support.
Having your own mobile app is a great way to spark conversation with your potential customers whilst providing excellent service. And if customers trust you enough to give you their personal phone number - which you need for WhatsApp - you’re doing something right! Bottom line: Smartphones are part of the natural flow of daily life for customers. If you want to get close and personal with your customers, a mobile application is the way to go.
4 | The social network: they want to go public
Approximately 1 out of 4 customers require service on social media. People know that the public nature of social networks can force companies to provide better service. Twitter and Facebook have become a platform for customers to complain (and compliment). They expect companies to reply quickly with personal and effective answers. Some of the most successful companies out there get loads of positive attention thanks to their excellent social media conduct.
Worldwide fame is awaiting you, too, if you use social media in a clever manner to personally address your customers. It’s your time to shine! Bottom line: 1 out of 4 customers will seek help through social media. Twitter and Facebook provide a priceless opportunity to fix bad experiences and to benefit from positive mentions. Get involved to improve relationships - and build new ones!
5 | Old but gold: they want to call you
Customers still love talking to a real human being, and they still hate complicated automated menus that take forever to get through to the person they need. Although calling is still popular on its own, surveys find that 50% of customers choose to callif none of the other communication methods brought the desired result. Which means that communication channels don’t stand alone; they complement each other. E
xpectations of talking to customer support staff are high: right at the start of the conversation, the caller expects the representative to know everything about all past communication in all channels. Bottom line: Half of your callers call because they’re not satisfied. Once they reach you, they expect you to know the history of all previous communications immediately, so make sure you have a powerful customer service platform. There are a lot of communication channels out there. Sure, you could just stick to your good old phone, but remember this will make you miss out on a big group of potential customers.
If you are willing to implement some changes to reap big gains, then you should definitely look into finding a seamless system that facilitates multiple customer support solutions. Your customers will love you for it, and your bank account will, too.