Multi-channel support for Startups, is it worth?

September 8, 2015

Customer support has been a crucial part of every industry present today. It is one of those parts of an organization that everyone is fanatical about. And it is one of the major factors that differentiates you in a business vertical.

As a startup, it’s important to have an effective customer support system. Customer support is not just there to solve issues for your customers. Look at the bigger picture. Initially, your customer support is the only way you can get meaningful insights for your product, customer behavior and engagement, building a brand. A strong support infrastructure can be critical for customer satisfaction, channelizing your product development and building a business strategy for future.

For startups, support has always been a tough task to handle and it’s not taken seriously at times. Many startups implement a support system that is poorly handled or is not efficient enough leading you to get your work jumbled up. Ultimately it leads to you losing your customers and not living up to your own expectation.

What is multi-channel support and why do you need it?

Multi-channel customer support is a way of giving customers the freedom to get in touch with a brand through multiple ways of communication. It can be emails, telephonic conversations, social media, or even forums.

Multi-channel support leads to far superior customer service. It makes the whole support infrastructure seamless. A customer can mail you their issues and you can get it resolved over a telephonic conversation, or someone discusses their issues over a live chat and you can get back to them with a resolution over email. It provides both the customer and agent to be in constant touch and keep the data flowing.

These are some of the points that multi-channel support tackles brilliantly.

  1. Customers are not forced to repeat their problems and issues again and again.
  2. Your support staff has prior knowledge about the customers issues. Gone are the days they will act or confused and apologetic.
  3. They don’t have to wait too long to reach you.
  4. They don’t have to wait for days to get a resolve. Switching between channels leads to faster responses.
  5. It allows you to provide the customer with a personalized touch which helps you build a relation with the customers.
  6. And this is the most important one, instead of you dictating the medium your customers need to use, you can now reach out to the customer in a medium they’re most comfortable with.

What comprises of multi-channel supports today?

Phone support

Phone support has been the oldest kind of customer support that has ever existed. Telephone lines existed before there was the internet or any other kind of technology that could keep us connected.

It has stood the test of time and still is one of the preferred method of communications out there.

And with the advent of cloud telephony, phone support is going through a rapid change.

Exotel enables you to integrate calls  via APIs with different support channels, CRMs, and ticketing platforms. They allow you to get detailed information, recordings and data insights on each and every call.

Live Chat

Live chat has become one of the most popular channels to offer support to clients. It’s mainly due to the fact that, Live chat take nearly zero effort to be initiated. Just with 1-3 clicks a client can initiate a chat with an agent.

Live chat is implemented due to the fact it is swift and resolutions are quick. But it still has its own shortcomings like, the flow of sensitive data can never take place over Live chat as customer verification is still something that is not possible over live chat.

Email and ticket Support

Email support is one of the oldest and most secure form of support channel that is used today.

Email support is really easy to implement. You just have to provide your customer with a support email address.  You can manage it with a small team or even individually. Once you scale and you receive more emails to your support id, you could use a helpdesk software to ensure no customer query gets lost in the clutter.

FAQs & Support Articles

Have you ever been to WikiHow or other DIY websites. These websites have posts specifically helping you to a specific task in hand. Rather than making your customer call you to ask for implementing a specific function or task on your product you can write posts on frequently asked questions.

These posts just won’t take care of customer issues but also benefit you marketing your product better. It may lead to higher search rankings and better SEO visibility versus your competition. So adding support posts is not only beneficial to support but also to the brand, it’s a win-win.

Social Media

I love how Freshdesk puts this:

Sometimes customers are like little children, throwing their fists up in public just so they get their due attention. At other times, they are like the Incredible Hulk, smashing through your inventory, reputation, and pride.

If a customer is unhappy or needs something from you, chances are these days, they’re talking about it on social media instead of trying to get in touch with you. And being on social media gives you to the opportunity to be proactive and help out these guys. And we’ve noticed from experience that is one of the best ways to win people to be your brand ambassadors.

So how does multi-channel helps with respect to organisational growth?

Multi-channel support promotes better customer interactions

Providing multi-channel support can help increase customer interaction by leaps and bound. If a customer has multiple contact points with the customer care team their communication is much easier.

It allows you to build a brand

Take Amazon for example. There have been a lot of eCommerce players in the World, but why does Amazon hold the pole positions. It’s due to the fact of swift service and highly effective customer support. Due to their high rate of customer satisfaction, Amazon has always remained at the top of the chain. It has built a reputation that no one can challenge and people never think twice before using Amazon.

If your customers are always happy and satisfied with your services, it will lead to better branding.

Multi-channel support promotes swift resolutions which lead to better customer retention rates

It is obvious that a multi-channel support system allows the customers to reach us faster. If we have an efficient and more directed support team then such kind of a system works in our favor. We can get in touch with more customers simultaneously and come up with resolutions in a swifter manner.

Having a turnaround time under a few hours has a proven record of retaining customers over a long period of time. According to a report, 39% of customers stay with a product or organization if they have a good experience with customer support.

Companies which have great customer support infrastructure in place outperform those companies which don’t. They just obliterate the competition. According to Watermark case study, companies who invest more on customer support and interaction has seen an ROI of over 40%. Whereas the companies who are lagging in this department has seen their return drop to a level below 50%.

Raise the bar of quality in your field of operations

Not only does a great customer engagement guarantees you a better rate of retention and interaction but it also allows you up the ante in your niche.

Be it any business model, word of mouth has a lot of potential of bringing new customers to you and helps you build a brand. If you have a better customer engagement track record than others you are bound to be advocated positively by your existing clients.

Even Aberdeen reports that companies with an effective multi-channel support are bound to retain and get more customers and have seen and year-to-year growth in customers in comparison to companies with single or non-synchronized multi-channel support.

So in short, a better and more effective support can help your drive more sales opportunities as well as increase customer engagement rates. The more ways a customer can reach you the more you have a chance to sell to them. Having more ways for customers to reach to you will allow you to build better relations with potential clients and even with existing customers.

The bigger picture

So you can see, how very important a multi-channel support can be to you if you are just in your initial phase. Implementing a system that can cope with the growth that you expect is very crucial for your brand or organization.

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