Is It Okay To Not Have Telephone Support For Your Customers?


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The two decades have seen a dramatic shift in the way human interactions work. People today are more comfortable texting or emailing their friends compared to actually talking to them – either personally or over a phone call. What does this have to do with customer service? As more and more people become comfortable with email and chat based communication systems, there is an inherent shift in the way customer service operates as well. The number of customers who would prefer to receive an email response to their problem is on the rise.

A number of businesses have lapped this opportunity up. Telephone support costs a lot more money than email or chat based support systems. That is because, unlike these non-voice support platforms, telephone requires a one-on-one communication with a customer and therefore requires a bigger workforce. Additionally, it is simpler to set up an email help-desk compared to a telephone based support infrastructure.

But is this the right thing to do? Do telephone based customer support not matter any more? As with most other things, the right answer to this is “it depends”. There are certain contexts and situations where people still prefer telephone support to the alternatives. So depending on what your business does, you may or may not need a telephone support. Here are a few points to consider before shaving off the telephone support costs from your annual budget.

Are your customers tech-savvy : You may not realize this but email does require quite a bit of tech-savviness to negotiate. Also, not everyone can crank up 60 words per minute on an email. If your average customer is not savvy with computers, it is likely that they do not prefer email/chat support either.

Does a malfunctioning product drain customers resource : Customers call support teams for a lot of things – this can be anything from knowing the latest offers to ask for help about something that stopped working or is not operating as desired. There is a level of desperation quotient that you could attach to each of these support calls. Customers often do not mind it if they have to rely on email support for the mundane requests. However, if a malfunctioning product or service is draining resource or money, then they would want to talk to a support executive right away. An example to this would be a heater that is not working during the bitter winter months. The customer would not want to lodge a request and wait for it be responded in 48 hours.

Financial institutions : If your business is in the financial industry, it is absolutely critical to have a telephone support system. It is not just the desperation part that is at play here. A human voice at the other end of the line is often an assurance to customers that they are dealing with a credible company that they can trust. Daniel El Paso, a Texas based customer of recently posted the following message on the company’s Facebook wall : “Every time I call a person answers. I like that it assures me that this company is for real.”

Do you have laws governing your industry : Depending on where you are located, there may be laws governing your industry that mandate the presence of a telephone based support system. So before you cut the plug on your company’s telephone support line, do check your local laws first.


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