More and more of us are doing our shopping online, and because of that our customer support options have changed. The three main choices of using telephone support, live chats, or email options will depend upon the nature of the business, but each one presents distinct advantages for a company or service. Which one works best for you?
The most popular method of customer support is by telephone. From the moment a customer speaks to a "real" person, a friendly voice can be reassuring. Almost everyone feels comfortable speaking on the phone, and what I like best is that a phone conversation can provide immediate gratification when something has gone wrong, or a promised service is delayed. There is something about receiving help immediately that makes a customer feel appreciated. When a customer knows someone on the other end is listening, and a customer service representative performs his skills well, the angriest customer can be calmed down, and by the very virtue of the outcome can still remain a loyal customer. There are no internet skills required for telephone support.
Many of us are becoming more familiar with live chat support. For the most part the waiting time for a representative to greet a customer is very short, and representatives can handle multiple conversations at once. An organization doesn't need expensive telephone lines or sophisticated equipment, and chat support has an advantage for global industries. It is a free service for customers, and a representative can listen and ask questions easily. If the customer representative is unable to help the customer, it is very easy, and convenient to transfer the call without any interruption. Live chat support can be useful to the organization for training since conversations are easily recorded. There are no language barriers or foreign accent confusion and frustration.
The least expensive form of customer support is through emails. There are no expensive telephone lines needed, and email is free for all customers. It is ideal for global industries and does not need 24/7 coverage. Email support is excellent as long as the problem doesn't need to be solved immediately. Customer representatives are able to relay specific directions and explanations not always available to customers using phone support. Complaints, requests, and questions can easily be routed to other departments for specialized help or advice if needed. Supervisors can review conversations and use them as part of customer service training. There is no confusion or frustration with foreign accents.
It's common for organizations to employ all three methods, and personally I think the more avenues a consumer has to choose from, the more significant an impact to the quality of customer service can be realized. Explore each one, and determine which or all will work best for you.