5 Best Practices for Adding Customer Communication Channels
Here are five best practices for adding new customer channels:
1. Ask your customers how they want to communicate with you. The Harris study also found that 84 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 34 think that apps for mobile devices are an important method of communication. Yes, we're going mobile and we're going fast.
Perhaps your customers want to engage with you through a mobile app, online chat, text messaging or social media, in addition to popular methods like email and a 1-800 number. Find out what channels they prefer.
2. Harness the power of the cloud. Adding preferred channels could be an enormous effort. The power of the cloud, however, makes it easier to experiment with additional customer service channels. Rather than requiring overwhelming changes to internal infrastructure and systems, the cloud provides flexibility and future readiness.
3. Test new channels. Just as testing new marketing programs is a best practice, so is testing new customer service channels prior to a full rollout. If you're adding more than one communication channel, consider testing them one at a time or in tandem. Remember that each additional channel will impact your holistic customer service offering.
4. Listen first to social networking sites. Before adding customer service on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, listen first. Get a feel for what sort of feedback and issues are being posted and plan ways to best respond. Once you launch customer service, don't jump in and try to control what your customers say. Instead, have transparent conversations with customers in an effort to create personalized, one-to-one experiences.
5. Harmonize. Now that you've added new ways for customers to reach you, it's important to harmonize communications. There's nothing worse than a customer reaching out, say, via online chat, and then having to re-explain his or her question over the phone. Lack of integration on your end can erase the benefits of meeting the customer in their channels of choice. This is another area where the cloud can help. The cloud unites interactions, creating a single flow of information to speed resolutions and increase customer satisfaction.