Why Your Business Should Shift to Multi-Channel Customer Support

• Date: January 2018 •
People no longer stand in lines before a service counter to resolve their issue with a product or ask for help. Instead they have an opportunity to reach out to companies from the convenience of their home, office or whatever other place, using a smartphone or a laptop. It's especially great when the customer has multiple options to pick from based on their preferences or needs and get the same level of service regardless of the channel they choose. Surprisingly not, so many businesses provide this variety of communication touchpoints. However, giving the client choice is what makes great customer service and ultimately contributes to making your product or service better.

So, why don't all businesses employ multi-channel customer support if that is actually a key to great customer relationships? The thing is that is poses a number of challenges which are not easily noticeable on the surface. Let's dive into the specifics of multi-channel customer service, find out its core challenges and ways to overcome them.

What Is Multi-Channel Customer Support?

It is an array of media the client and the brand use to communicate with each other.
Today the most popular channels are the following:
  • phone calls
  • email messages
  • live chat communication
  • help desk support
  • FAQ sections
  • forums
  • SMS
  • knowledge bases
  • social media;
  • video conferencing;
  • chatbots;
  • etc.
You can hardly find a company using all of these channels, most likely it is a combination of three or four of them. Using several channels has a number of advantages, both for the client and the company.

The benefits of shifting to multi-channel customer service

Providing clients with choice. Having an opportunity to get an answer to an inquiry in a preferred way speeds up the resolution process significantly. Moreover, this doesn't simply make it easier for customers to reach you, it also shows them you care to do it. This in turn increases customer satisfaction rate, makes them loyal and willing to choose your company over others in case of a need for another purchase.
Cost-efficiency. Yes, running several channels requires resources, but it's a rare case when all inquiries can be effectively attended to using a single one of them. For example, some minor issues like order status check or signup guidance do not require personal interaction and in most situations are not worth the time of your call operators. This is clearly an issue to be resolved by a chatbot, or an FAQ.

How to Address the Major Challenges of Multi-Channel Customer Service

Live up to customer expectations

The client sees your channels as a whole, and expects them to perform in a seamless well-coordinated way. Meanwhile, you and your employees might think differently. Each customer support medium might be the responsibility of a separate designated department.
It is vital that all these teams have the same policy as for how long it takes to resolve a single issue, how inquiries are prioritized, what is the style and wording for written and spoken communication, etc.

Sync disconnected experiences

A customer might contact you via email and after failing to receive a response within an hour, they might also send you a message via online chat box to check up on the issue. Your live chat and email support teams need to coordinate their actions to make sure the customer doesn't get the same response twice, or worse – either no reply at all or two completely different replies suggesting conflicting resolutions. In some cases, the best course of action here would be to pick up the conversation on the latter channel using the information achieved from the client through the entry point.
So, making the client repeat the issue's details every time they contact you via a different channel makes the experience painful for them. So be sure to attach the information given by the client to their own profile and make it available for every agent dealing with it. This makes the customer's experience of interacting with agents truly personalized.

Make your choice of media well thought out

As a brand dedicated to your customer, you should know what your audience is. This implies you have an idea what touchpoints they prefer using.
You can get the answer by asking them in a survey, by testing out several options, and also by making notes of their preferences when they make observations on that while communicating with you about on-going inquiries.

How Salesforce Helps Implement Multi-Channel Customer Service

As a number-one customer relationship management platform, Salesforce offers a great multi-channel support solution – Service Cloud. This application allows delivering highly personalized experiences over a variety of chosen channels, providing your company and your clients with the following unmatched advantages:
  • optimized management of processes and workflow;
  • phone, email, live chat and SMS messaging channels;
  • your brand's community for self-service;
  • a synced real-time view of case details for all teams;
  • predictive analytics;
  • etc.
Let's stop on predicted analytics for a while. Thanks to the recent introduction of Einstein AI, your agents are now empowered with Service Analytics, which is accessible both through the console and on mobile devices. Now service agents can have a better understanding of the customer behavior, a full view of the customer profile, and thus are able to find solutions to clients' issues faster.
Another use of predictive analytics is case prioritization, to solve the most urgent issues faster while providing a highly personalized experience and possibly some special offers. What is more, Salesforce is looking forward to introducing a language processing app, which surely will have possible application for Service Cloud, helping agents prioritize case and possibly even suggesting them a possible course of action before they even see the email.
If you need to streamline your company's client service by implementing multi-channel customer support, we at Twistellar are happy to help you. Whether you need a customized Service Cloud solution or a visual analytics tool to optimize data processing and reporting, Twistellar's team has the right expertise to bring your idea to life.
Our Salesforce consulting company has an impressive portfolio of projects for companies from a variety of industries, providing them with CRM-specific services, such as solutions scoping, custom development, quality assurance, third-party integrations, and more.