Chief Strategist, CEO ruthhoffmann.com
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Alternatives to phone calls for customer support

27th May 2019
Chief Strategist, CEO ruthhoffmann.com
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Customer support is a critical aspect of any business, and yet it seems like many companies out there pay too little attention to it – at least until it’s too late. But scrambling to fix issues with your customer service can be extremely difficult, especially when you also have to deal with the other parts of running your company.

It doesn’t help that so many companies still rely on methods that customers have shown time and time again that they would prefer to avoid. Phone calls remain the main support channel for many businesses out there, and that’s a bigger problem than one might think.

The Problem with Phones

It turns out that customers actually have a long list of problems with having to call to get support. Long waiting times are among the most commonly cited issues – but it goes much deeper than that. It often happens that a customer might get redirected from one agent to other multiple times, sometimes even coming back to the same agent by mistake. This can be extremely unpleasant and downright motivating.

Various issues with the presentation of the service can also be problematic. From having to deal with inexperienced agents to annoying sounds and even music interrupting the conversation, there is a lot that can be improved in the typical phone support service.

Live Chat

There are many ways to ensure that customers can be supported more efficiently and that everyone gets the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Live chat sessions are among the most notable improvement that can be made to the typical setup. They’re not only convenient for users

but can also reduce the workload for the company’s own support agents.

A good thing about live chat sessions is that they can be automated to a large extent, and it doesn’t even have to degrade the overall experience for the user. People tend to be suspicious of automated support, but the reality is that it can solve a large number of issues quite efficiently.

Self-service Options

Self-service portals are another option that many customers have expressed an explicit preference in, especially when compared to phone calls. While it’s challenging to set up a self-service portal from the ground up and ensure that it makes sense, it can be extremely rewarding in the long run. This is especially true for companies that keep evolving their services and products over time, in which case a constantly growing knowledge base can be a great approach.

Social Media

It’s becoming more and more important to provide customer support over social media, especially for certain types of companies. However, it also requires a more unique approach. It’s not just about sticking a support agent in the position and calling it a day – you have to make sure that they’re actually prepared to handle that job properly.

Customer service training can be a challenging task, and one that can cost your business quite a lot, but it’s a solid investment in the future of the company. One of the worst things that can happen to a business nowadays is to have a social media blunder go viral. This has dealt a major blow to a number of companies in the past.

Unifying Everything

And with so many different support channels – some of which work in very unique ways – it’s important to ensure that everything can be managed from a centralized location as easily as possible. Solutions that unify your support systems are usually preferred in this case, as they can reduce your workload by a large margin and keep everything much more manageable.

You have to make sure that you invest in the right system though. Some of the products on the market put an emphasis on working with certain support channels that you might not offer. In other cases, the system might simply bring too much to the table for the good of your own business. Going for the most complex solution in the market is not always the best option. In fact, in many cases, it can only lead to trouble if you’re not prepared to work with that system the right way. Understand the needs of your business, and don’t go overboard in satisfying them.

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