Customer Phone Support. Traditional support and service desk models no longer meet the exacting standards of today’s modern consumer living in an innovative and digital age.
We have long left the era where customers were left to their own devices, or where care teams reacted only to incidents or customer issues. So, does traditional phone support still have a place in this digital era? In this article, we’re going to tell you why you should keep your phone support function.
But first, here’s the quick takeaway answer before we get into the details…
Should I remove my customer phone support? Ultimately, systems may not always be able to answer every query a customer has, and there are times when customers want personal service outside the boundaries of digital formats. For this reason, phone support plays a crucial last support option for customers and should be retained.
Your customers expect seamless delivery of help right from the browsing stage through to aftercare. The most important factor in the whole process is your customer and the relationships you’re creating with them.
Proper customer care will guarantee repeat sales and also help those purchasing from you to buy into your message and brand. Getting this relationship right is the first stage in creating loyalty… which ensures they won’t be attracted by your competitor’s offerings.
In order to help us understand a little more clearly whether, during this new technical era, it’s still important to engage with your customers via more traditional methods such as the telephone. Let’s take a look at where the relationships are created?
Where are customer relationships created?
Thankfully, most companies now realize that the support department is where relationships are created, repaired, and of course, in some cases … broken – or lost to a competitor.
However, the digital journey has changed the rules of customer and service support, dramatically, and it’s only just begun.
So, what is it that companies are doing within their support and customer service departments to make sure they’re keeping up with technological times? What do they need to do in order to give the new swathe of much more digitally-minded customers such as millennials and Gen Z?
More importantly, are this new band of time-strapped, busy new consumers feeling the need to pick up the telephone for support?
In this article we’re going to explore the kinds of new technologies that are being employed in the businesses who are creating best practices – and whether it’s important to still include telephone support as a major part of your strategy.
In order to help us understand a bit more about how the technological landscape is changing within customer support departments, contact and call centers, let’s take a look at what kind of new digital strategies are important to your customer support team.
These are the changes big players are engaging with to make sure of all-important customer retention, while ever, more importantly, growing it significantly.
How to think digitally in your support environment?
All support organizations, no matter how big or small, should now be applying digital thinking. A good starting point is to make sure that you understand the kind of service your customers will expect. Let’s see below a few tips to help you think more digitally.
- Question your customers directly by using surveys around the methods of communication they prefer when requesting support? Question your existing customers on the kinds of methods they prefer to use going forward for specific situations. You can then use this information to drive change in the kind of support channels you offer.
- Create a list of support-related situations that commonly occur.
- Make sure you’re up to date on modern technologies and innovations and other advances within the kinds of services and communication platforms you offer. this could be an interactive voice, virtual agents, guided knowledge, and any emerging new technologies that are used in the home.It’s often the kinds of communications used at home and in customers’ personal life which drives their expectations within their purchasing style.
- Inspect your responses to support requests. Analyze how you and the technologies involved interact with your customers. This can include the kinds of activities that work and of course, those that aren’t as successful.Have you noticed any specific touchpoints which create emotional responses in your customers, such as those which are likely to make them feel, impatient or angry? It could be that these points are better handled using a touch interface rather than voice.
Now we’ve seen the kinds of tech-savvy best practices are beginning to be more important within customer service environments, let’s take a look at how the landscape of support is changing and if the telephone still has a part to play.
“All support organizations, no matter how big or small,
should now be applying digital thinking.”
The rise of online businesses.
During recent times online shopping has skyrocketed in terms of growth.
Huge players such as Alibaba and Amazon are showing how online leads can totally sustain a company, albeit they’re using creative strategies to make sure they’re cornering their own niche.
It’s clear these huge players have got those customer strategies spot on!
It could be that within this new market place online anonymous online activity doesn’t require any customer relationship building, or requiring companies to use such tactics as building relationships through more traditional ways such as the telephone.
It could appear that “telephones” aren’t playing any kind of role in today’s new technological environment. However, the reality is quite the opposite.
Many studies show that with the huge use of cell phones and increasing market share of smartphones people are much more likely to use search for phone numbers in web ads than ever before.
- According to Google, a staggering 84% of consumers use their phone while surfing the net. More interestingly it appears that from those Google monitored, nearly half of those searches ended in a phone call.
- According to other industry reports, In 2016, the number of smartphones sold to consumers stood at around 1.5 billion units, a significant increase from the 680 million units sold in 2012. This means that over 28 percent of the world’s total population owned a smart device in 2016, a figure that is expected to increase to 37 percent by this year 2020.
- Experts found that 73% of all the people in the world own a cell phone, while the share of smartphones in this number is increasing rapidly.
The above facts will be a real factor in concluding that it’s still important to include a real live person for your customers to chat with.
The huge number of cell phone ownership which is steadily increasing, along with the fact much internet activity ends with a phone call shows how customers are still looking to talk in person.
Let’s look at some other important reasons below.
Why do I need to include a phone chat service to my customers?
Facebook, Twitter, Email, Skype, text, live chat, and website contact forms are all some of the huge variety of innovative ways using the latest tech where customers are able to reach a business when they require servicing.
As there are so many varieties of ways in which to greet your customers it can sometimes be easy to forget the significance of a strong telephone customer service.
While many prefer to simply open an app, or even just turn to Google to find a solution, it’s still just as important as it ever was to have a human being answer the phone when a customer calls. Here are 6 great reasons why it’s important.
1. A phone number is a sales tool
A thoughtful customer service number could make a big difference. Consider your business name and service and see what you can come up with. A unique and relevant number is easier to remember, and might even make a clever and catchy jingle possible.
Sure, it’s 2018 but not everyone is on the internet. And even some who are on the internet, would still much rather use the phone. Don’t lose these customers to bad service without a person to talk to.
Some issues your customers face are complex and unique. Even if you have an excellent FAQ page online, it’s not likely to cover all of the variables. It actually might even make a specific situation appear more confusing for your customers. Providing your customers with a phone number will sometimes help save time and confusion for you both.
Customers often call when there is an urgent matter. If you’re running a security business, no one would like their important business disclosed on Facebook if there has been a possible break-in for instance.
If you manage a property and a resident has an urgent plumbing issue, it’s not reasonable to expect your customers to fill in a contact form on the web while their kitchen fills with water. Sometimes, a number to call, with a human on the other end of the line is necessary.
Having a telephone customer service team connecting via telephone not only supports your customers but can support your bottom line as well. You can up-sell to better serve clients or even request surveys after each call to help you better understand your opportunities.
People are more likely to pick up the phone than answer an email. According to a recent study by Salesforce, phone outreach had a response rate of 8.1%, compared to .03% with email.
Most of that has to do with the fact that we simply don’t open every email we receive. Maybe we think it’s spam, or maybe we receive so many emails that it’s just not possible to read every single one. Either way, if someone calls you, chances are you’re going to pick up.
Nothing beats talking to an engaged, friendly, helpful human, right? Right!
Don’t leave customers to figure things out alone. Delight them with superior assistance, one on one. Taking a phone call with a customer will let that customer know you care.
Sending an email is easy enough, but a phone call requires real-time and commitment. It’ll also give you an opportunity to understand where the customer is coming from, making it easier to determine how happy or unhappy they are, a difficult thing to do through e-mail where attitude and tone of voice are lost.
So what kind of strategies do we need to put in place to make sure our businesses are offering the best customer phone facing service in order to strengthen relationships with anyone who wants to purchase from us? Let’s take a look below.
“As there are so many varieties of ways in which to greet your customers it can sometimes be easy to forget the significance of a strong telephone customer service.”
How do we give great telephone support?
- A great phone system In order to make sure your business is keeping up with its customers’ needs, it’s important to have a well-functioning phone system. It’s crucial that you invest in an innovative and reliable cloud-based phone system, which also offers mobile apps to help your business thrive in the digital age.
- The smile technique A voice brightened by an authentic smile sounds warmer, which will really help your customers feel special. When your agents smile their will voice sounds different to those they are speaking to on the telephone. An interesting study was undertaken by the University of Portsmouth showing that people can hear whether a person on the other end of the line is smiling.
- Stand up We think one of the most brilliant tips received for handling important calls, is to encourage your service staff to stand up and walk around when on a call where possible. When on your feet you’re naturally more energetic than when seated. This is because of the fact blood flows more quickly to the heart.
- Neutral but positive tone, In general, most support and customer service strategies encourage staff to be extremely upbeat when speaking on the phone to customers.
However, the problem when acting out enthusiasm to your customers is that it can lack authenticity which is picked up on by the caller. In the book, written by Olivia Fox Cabane The Charisma Myth, It’s suggested to pick up the phone in a neutral but positive manner.
Speaking with this kind of energy, will sound more real and give your customers a far more authentic experience, which is so important to today’s savvier generations.
To sum up…
It’s important to recognize the needs of your customers in a support situation alongside building a great new innovative strategy within this digital era. A strategy that combines a wealth of integrated support options across your business.
We hope this article has shown how important it is to maintain a great relationship with anyone purchasing from you in a multitude of channels, including new innovative ways, but it’s still vitally important to reach out to your clients and customers using the telephone.
Telephones are still an important method of communication and as a combination with new technology will make sure you have got the combination right to build your customer base and keep the most important people happy in your organization, your customers.