As both a marketer and a university instructor, I’ve always strongly believed that one must meet the customer (and the student) where she or he is–not where you want them to be.
And where they are (both cohorts) is online, whether via smartphone or tablet. Yet too many “service” industries still insist on that phone call (via the “convenient” 800 number–does anyone really care anymore about 800 numbers?).
When I had to contact American Express the other day, I was pleasantly surprised to find a chat option available. It worked great, and I got my solution much faster than having to pick up a phone, punch in a bunch of numbers, security codes and wait through all the bad music and warnings that it’s all being “recorded for quality assurance” (whatever that means).
So when I had to get in touch with Amex yesterday, I looked in vain for the chat button. Turns out they’re testing the feature with a minute percentage of American Express customers and on Sunday, I wasn’t among them.
Bring it back!
And as this article states, smart companies will be using these tools NOW.
So will professors who want to truly engage their students and answer their questions quickly and completely (and chat gives a complete record for future reference).
Why Your Company Should Switch from Telephone to Live Chat and Social Media Customer Service
Customer service is all about ‘convenience.’ Whenever a question pops up about a product or service, think about how you want to be helped: in real-time and as quickly as possible. Your instant reaction isn’t to grab your telephone, your preferred ‘go to’ is the internet. In that case, live chat and social media customer service, are a company’s way to go!
In the case of Royal Bank of Scotland, that made the total switch in 2012 from telephone to live chat customer service, figures are impressive:
- The number of customers grew from 4.2 million in 2009 to 6 million in 2013
- Customer satisfaction grew from 75% in 2009 to a current 80%
- Every month, the Royal Bank of Scotland counts 44 million logins to their live chat
If your company is still lagging behind and not offering a live chat and social media customer service, time is right for a change! In the digital age, this type of customer service is the way forward. Here’s four arguments that will no doubt convince you straight away!
1. The ‘contemporary customer’ demands help via live chat and social media
Why would you grab your telephone, if nowadays all conversation and support is happening online? Customer service via live chat or social is reliable, quick and simple. You can easily include links to your company’s website for additional information. Just think of how much hassle this causes via the telephone.
If you worry your customers won’t trust it because of safety reasons, be as transparent as possible on how your company handles private information.
2. Your employees will embrace this easy-to-use communication channel
Don’t just think of how much customers will love this new approach to customer service: your employees will be just as happy! Support via live chat is a lot less time-consuming. Answering complex question will become so much easier because support agents can easily include links and direct customers to support articles.
Another plus: there’s no need to explain things twice (or more) because customers can read the conversations as much as they want!
3. Easily forward complex issues to a specialized department
Whenever customer service encounters a complex issue, they can easily forward it to a specialized department. The specialist can quickly tap into the conversation as they can read the entire chat transcript. This will save you a lot of time!
4. Expand live chat to other platforms to cover all areas of your business
Depending on what type of business your company’s in, you can add different functions to your live chat. You can not only use it for support reasons: think of other departments it could benefit from. Sales people can for example talk directly to their leads about product-related info. The overall flow of communication and customer feedback for all departments is much more streamlined.
In short, live chat comes with many benefits: it maximizes your company’s online presence, it’s a time-saver for both customers and employees and it cuts back on your company’s expenses. In comparison to telephone customer service, it can really give you an edge over your competition!
Sofie De Beule is Community Manager at Engagor, an all-in-one social media management tool for companies that want to monitor and manage their online presence. It’s is a time-saver for companies that want the all-in-one solution: useful analytics about their perception online, as well as the possibility to post on several platforms from within one tool.