A Tale of Two Issues With Multichannel Customer Support

Customer service meant face-to-face conversations only.  Then the phone came along with automated messaging systems bringing the joys of “press one if…”  Then the coup de grâce—the digital revolution—burst into life and nothing has been the same since. 

Customer service has become more multi-channel than ever thanks to Facebook, Twitter, smart phone apps, and web-based customer service software with tracking systems and forums.  The modern customer expects an efficient company to have all of these channels along with the automated phone system and great face-to-face service. 

Businesses that fail to offer such options risk fading away into the background while others on the forefront of the digital wave race ahead of them getting all the customers before their competitors.  However, when integrating all these channels, there are issues that pop up and pit falls that need to be avoided, like the problems of consistency and staff training.

There is nothing more frustrating than looking on a company website for answers to a simple question and then getting conflicting information which then prompts more intensive research and perhaps a 45 minute wait on the phone waiting for the next available agent. 

When customers are looking at your website, they want to find information quickly and easily.  They don’t want to waste their time wondering why your website is giving information on one page and then presenting other information that completely opposes what you said on another.  It makes you seem untrustworthy.  Whenever you put any new information up anywhere, make sure that you double check everything else, just to see if you need to adjust other things to make all your answers congruent.

Another issue that pops up when you have multiple channels is that of staffing.  Without a good staff with adequate training, your customer service will plummet and you will lose customers.  Purdue University performed a survey and discovered that 90% of customers base their choice of repeating business with a company on the customer service experience.  Half said that they would leave a business because of a bad experience with a service agent.  Makes a business owner think twice about how they train their employees. 

Your staff members are the front line of your business.  They are the face customers see and associate with the company.  If your service agents can’t keep up with the various service channels your company offers or you don’t have enough employees to handle it, your customers will notice and inevitably have bad experiences.

These are just two issues that occur with multichannel customer service.  There are most certainly others, but nevertheless, having a multichannel service is far better than not having it all.  It allows a business to make connections and help infinitely more customers than ever before with minimal inconvenience to the consumer, which is what customer service is all about.

Nowhere near…



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