According to Digizuite, brands that excel at multichannel (also known as omnichannel) customer engagement enjoy better annual revenue increases and lower costs per contact than other brands. The bottom line is that customers expect to be able to frictionlessly interact with your brand over multiple channels, especially when seeking support.
But what is multichannel customer support, exactly? More importantly, how can you deliver multi-channel support without compromising the quality of other customer communication channels? Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Multichannel Support?
Multichannel support is the process of delivering service and technical support to your customers through various channels, such as phone, email, social media, and live chat. It’s all about offering multiple avenues for your customers to reach you. The idea is to meet your customers where they are and remove friction from the support process by delivering help using their preferred channel.
Multichannel support requires much more than simply being available on multiple channels. You must also empower customers to transition from one channel to another as their needs evolve.
For instance, suppose that a customer is chatting with your AI bot in an attempt to resolve their problem through FAQ information on your site. If they hit a roadblock, they should be able to effortlessly connect with a live agent. Giving your customers the ability to switch channels demonstrates your responsiveness and commitment to resolving their issues.
Which Customer Communication Channels Should You Prioritize?
All of them. While that might be a slight exaggeration, you do certainly want to prioritize most channels. For instance, you need to offer customer support via phone, text, live chat on your website, social media, and self-service tools. While you don’t need to offer support on every social media channel out there, you should make it available on any channels that you are very active on.
That said, you don’t have to add all these channels to your support strategy overnight. Start with a few of the most popular, like text, email, and live chat. You should also prioritize self-service options. Allowing your customers to resolve their issues can make them feel empowered and cut down on call volume. Your agents will thank you.
The Challenge: Balancing Inbound Calls With Other Channels
You’ve got a finite number of support agents and resources at your disposal. Adding multichannel support options to the mix is a juggling act. When you add emails, social media messages, live chats, and other options to the equation, things can get overwhelming fast.
The key is to integrate all these channels so you can manage them effectively without dropping the ball on any one of them. To achieve this, you’ll need to pair great tech with well-trained agents and an adequately staffed support center. Consider these the pillars of effective multichannel support.
How to Effectively Manage Multichannel Customer Support
To effectively manage multi-channel support, you’ll need to:
Adopt a Unified System
Use a system that brings all your customer communication channels together. This way, you can keep track of conversations regardless of the channel they originated from.
Prioritize and Delegate
Not all messages require immediate attention. Learn to prioritize queries based on urgency and delegate them as needed.
Deliver Consistent Training
Ensure your team is well-trained and comfortable with handling support requests across different channels. Consistency in service quality, regardless of the channel, is key.
Monitor and Adapt
Keep an eye on the traffic each channel receives. You might need to address your resource allocation based on customer preferences.
Automate Where Possible
Use automation tools to handle routine queries so that your team can focus on more complex issues. The more you automate, the more time you’ll save. Automation also allows you to lighten your agents’ workloads.
You’ll inevitably encounter some growing pains when transitioning to a multichannel customer support model. This is perfectly normal, but the benefits to you, your agents, and the customers are well worth it.
Benefits of Multichannel Support
When you offer multi-channel support, you’ll unlock benefits such as:
- Increased Accessibility: When support is available on multiple channels, customers will easily be able to get the help they need when they need it
- Improved Customer Satisfaction: When customers can choose their preferred mode of communication, they are likely to have a better experience
- Greater Reach: Different channels cater to different demographics, expanding your customer reach
- Enhanced Reputation: Offering multi-channel support can set you apart from competitors, giving your brand reputation a boost
If your multichannel support strategy includes self-service and automation technology, you’ll also experience business benefits like improved efficiency and cost savings. Support agents will benefit, too, as they will experience a reduced workload, less friction from customers, and higher morale.
Best Practices for Optimizing Your Multichannel Support
Is your head spinning at the thought of managing a multi-channel support system? While switching to a multichannel customer support model can be a difficult task, it is certainly a worthwhile one. By adhering to the following best practices, you can leverage multichannel support to its fullest extent and avoid being overwhelmed by the process:
Maintain a Unified Tone and Brand Voice
Ensure that your brand voice remains consistent across all channels. It can be tempting for agents to be more casual when communicating via social channels, but they must maintain your brand voice.
Keep Track of Customer Interactions
Document previous interactions with customers so that the context is not lost, regardless of which channel they use. Your team can refer back to these interactions if the customers need support for the same issue.
Train Your Team in Multichannel Support
Equip your team with the skills and knowledge to handle multiple channels efficiently. A well-trained team will excel at multichannel support.
Use Analytics to Understand Channel Performance
Analyze which channels are performing well and why. You can use these insights to improve your multichannel strategy.
Additionally, identify which channels are most popular among your target audience. You may need to periodically reshuffle resources to ensure that there are enough agents assigned to each channel.
Struggling to Juggle Inbound and Outbound Communications?
Has balancing inbound and outbound communications become a recurring nightmare? If so, it may be time to outsource.
Partnering with a reputable contact center provider will help you deliver true multichannel support and reduce costs. Most importantly, though, it will also allow you to be there for your customers when they need a helping hand. The result is a near-frictionless support journey, improved retention, and stronger revenue for your brand.