In our modern world, time is a precious commodity. It can’t be exchanged or bought back once spent. For this reason, customers are ever more time-conscious when interacting with brands and businesses. In fact, research has shown that when a customer contacts a business, 77% of customers rate speed to resolution as the best indicator of good service.
They want access to solutions and services quickly and simply, and it’s imperative that businesses incorporate these into their customer service, or risk losing customers to competitors who can provide what they’re looking for.
Honing in on communication service providers, many businesses are still playing catch up when it comes to expanding and modernizing their communications strategies for customer engagement. Companies still fall back on the old tried-and-tested call center, requiring customers to go through the motions of talking to an agent to get an answer to their question or to access a service.
We need a rapid overhaul of how we enable our customers to engage with our products and services. A businesses’ communication strategy should be built around its customers, not the other way round.
The Challenge of Relying on Call Centers for Customer Engagement:
Having on or off-site assistance for customers is not a bad idea in theory, as it’s beneficial for businesses to have live assistance on hand should customers require it. However, relying on call centers as the primary point of contact between businesses and consumers is ill-advised and a bad long-term strategy for client retention. This is because:
- Relying on call centers creates high call volumes, which result in longer waiting times and greater customer frustration.
- Call centers are the most expensive and unpredictable channel, increasing support costs and generating publicity from acute customer service failures.
- A negative front-end customer experience is more likely to result in customers disconnecting from services, canceling their accounts, and seeking alternative providers.
- There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to customer communication. Your customers are diverse and you simply cannot afford to roll out the same communication strategy for all of them and expect to see results.
From the perspective of a customer, they want to feel prioritized and valued by the company with which they do business. Businesses need to place the customer at the center of their communication strategy to secure longevity. How can companies do this?
The solution lies in allowing customers to choose their preferred communication channel to make contact, buy products and services, and find help.
What are the Top Ways Customers Prefer to Contact Service Providers?
Tailoring your customer engagement requires an understanding of what popular communication channels customers opt for. Some of the top channels customers prefer to use include:
- Text messaging - Customers want to interact on their smartphones, and text messaging is one of the most popular communication channels, with 85% of smartphone users preferring to respond to businesses via text message compared to calls and emails.
- Social media - Social media platforms have enabled consumers to seamlessly integrate the management of their business and social lives. According to research, 54% of social media users use social media platforms for business purposes. This is a lot considering that approximately 3.78 billion people access social media platforms every day.
- Chat - Offering live chat in the form of a chatbot is effective for customers looking for speedy responses when accessing a website for support or purchasing. Stats show that 69% of online consumers prefer to use chatbots due to their ability to provide quick, simple answers.
- Voice - Traditional voice calling still forms an important part of customer communication for businesses. Studies have shown that even though they prefer digital, integrated experiences when it comes to engaging with businesses, customers still value talking to a person during specific instances, such as resolving an urgent query. This might be especially applicable in relation to a customer’s age and demographic.
What Does This Data Tell Us About Customer Engagement?
Customers want freedom of choice above all else when it comes to interaction with businesses. A multi-channel engagement strategy coupled with smooth transitions between platforms makes communication a more enjoyable and personalized experience for each customer, increasing their satisfaction and winning their long-term loyalty.
As a company, you might be put off at the idea of the scope of overseeing these various communication channels, but multi-channel management doesn’t need to be overly complex or tiresome. The best solution is to harness the power of the cloud and utilize cloud-based software capable of integrating with a variety of digital communication platforms.