Why should businesses understand their customers’ communication preferences?

Customers are human beings and it is only natural that human beings have a variety of preferences, and businesses should try to cater and accommodate those different needs for their customers- especially in the customer services space.

I have learned that the popularization of the internet has forever changed the way we communicate and how consumers prefer to interact with customer service employees. Most customers in 2019 live fast-paced lives and are looking for convenience more than anything and limiting how your customers communicate with your business can leave a sour experience that will lead businesses to lose valuable customers. As mentioned, customers have now different ways in which they would like to communicate with businesses. Let’s take a look at those different ways that I have learned:

– Live Chats

With a live chat – customer support agents can handle multiple requests at the same time without having to choose a priority at this very moment. Live chat also makes it possible to start the actual conversations with website visitors. This is a great way to proactively help visitors with choosing the right products or navigating through the selection of goods and services your business has to offer. The key aspect of live chat is that Instead of waiting for the response to arrive via email, people would rather chat live and have their issues addressed in a time-friendly manner (24/7).

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– Text messages rather than phone calls

Customers are on the go and live busy lives. Customers don’t have time to be on the phone for 30minutes or more trying to order, pass on a query or anything that involves speaking with agents for a while. Texting happens in various ways including live chats, SMSes or social media channels through direct messaging. Customer services/support should, therefore, find ways to put the customer’s convenience at the forefront by finding creative ways to communicate with customers in a way that suits them best and save time.

– Email

If you ever emailed a customer service centre, you are used to a slow response cycle. With a daylong response cycle, and a typical 3–4 touches to resolve, email can’t be your optimal channel when your customer could potentially be faced with an urgent matter. At the same time, email is not your best tool if the customer is stressed or upset. However, some customers today still prefer using emails as a form of communication. Other alternatives that customers may prefer can be video and phone calls. In conclusion, I would personally recommend a new way to think about omni-channel customer service: highlight the best channel to your use case, customers, or even the flow. If you are a food delivery company, you can highlight phone calls as the main option of the delivery receipt screen. After all, you don’t expect a customer that got the wrong order to email and wait until the food gets cold, right?. At the same time, you can use SMS as your main service option in the order tracking page (so customers can leave specific directions for delivery) and maybe email on your billing page. Rather than letting the customer pick a means of communication, you lead them to the option that will work best for the situation. Doing so will maximize customer satisfaction.

Article by Janet Souter (Managing Director – SSIS)

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