We are living in a multichannel world that allows us to connect with different people using the medium of our choice. How a person reaches out to us usually depends on what he or she finds to be the most convenient. The more options, the better.
The same goes for businesses. Providing customer service should not only be limited to using voice communication channels like the telephone. A recent study even revealed that 59 percent of consumers prefer customer service where no talking is involved. They are the same people who are willing to go the extra miles to contact customer service using additional channels than using voice channel options. Similarly, a 2017 report by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics showed that the use of landlines significantly decreases through the years. Last 2016, 45.9 percent of households were recorded to own a landline phone, which is lower compared to the 68.2 percent of household in 2010.
While the use of phones is still relatively high, businesses — particularly startups or small ones — must learn to get attuned to customer contact methods tailored to what their customers demand in order to provide standard customer support. One effective method is through email support.
Why email support?
The use of email continues to grow at a healthy pace, according to an email statistics report released by The Radicati Group, a technology research firm. The same report also stated that by the end of 2019, the number of email users is projected to reach up to over 2.9 billion. That is equivalent to over one-third of the worldwide population. Because there is a tremendous number of email users across the globe, it indicates that businesses should also utilize email in delivering better customer service.
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Email is a practical customer support channel because of its convenience. Anyone can send a message during the time that works for him or her. The recipient, on the other hand, can also read whenever he or she wants. As compared to voice support, email customer support lessens the time pressure for both parties because it gives them sufficient time to compose their thoughts.
An eDigital Customer Service benchmark survey showed that 61 percent of consumers get satisfaction when using email to ask for support. That is 17 percent higher from the satisfaction rating customers get when using phone.
Delivering excellent email support
For businesses, it is crucial that they take into consideration how they will deliver their support or resolution to an issue. Empathy works best. In fact, 40 percent out of the 9000 consumers Genesys has surveyed answered that better customer service is important to them when dealing with companies. Therefore, businesses must show their customers that they understand where their customers are coming from — that they care and will try to give their best service. Business owners should always bear in mind that email support is not just a transaction but a conversation aimed at building stronger relationships with customers. It is not only about problem resolution; it is also an opportunity to turn customer complaints into compliments — a perfect ingredient for word-of-mouth marketing.
When providing customer support, product knowledge is more important than speed. It is very important to answer each question correctly during the first response. This would not only save businesses a significant amount of time but will also improve the satisfaction of their customers.
But while speed is not the most important element in email support, it still matters. The acceptable email response time is 24 hours or less. Forty-one percent of consumers, however, expect a response within six hours, a Forrester Research found out.
That is quite fast, especially if a business’ inbox is flooded with messages from customers who either ask about a product, check the delivery status of their order, or post a complaint. There is a tendency that business owners will get overwhelmed.
To aid businesses in their email support, they have the option to automate some of their processes or hire a customer support provider to handle their email queries. They can choose whatever will work for them depending on their business needs. What’s important is to never overlook their customer service because it can be the make-or-break factor of their relationship with their customers.
Customer service is not just about phone or email
Phone and email are some of the traditional medium customers use when addressing their concerns to businesses. As technology continues to develop, different mediums are presented to consumers at their disposal.
Businesses, therefore, should not only rely on phone and email. They should also explore other channels and utilize it to make it easier for all their customers to contact them.