There are numerous digital communication solutions available to both customers and companies. These solutions provide contact channels that can be accessed quickly, easily, and conveniently. However, when it comes to online customer service, companies are finding that along with all of that convenience, they are also facing new headaches and challenges. In fact, sometimes online customer service can be more complicated than offline customer service.
What are those challenges and how can they be handled?
Lengthy Resolution Times
According to research by Forrester, 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. While customers embrace low-effort experiences like email, they expect quick “time to resolution” when seeking out answers or solutions to their issues.
Efficient time to resolution can be difficult to achieve when communicating by email. Depending on the email-to-agent ratio, it can take days of back and forth messaging to resolve issues.
Some customers prefer to communicate with a text-based channel, and for this reason companies should consider having live chat options built within their site. This allows customers to communicate in a low-effort manner while still allowing for single contact resolution.
Empathy Can Feel Less Authentic
As Kristin Robertson of KR Consulting has pointed out, “empathy absorbs emotion.”
Talented customer service representatives know this, and they use empathy to de-escalate angry customers while resolving their problems.
With online customer service, empathy can be difficult to communicate. Chatbots are going to generate scripted answers that don’t always address more specific questions and problems that customers are looking to resolve. Even with live chat, statements like “I understand your frustration” are not going to be as impactful as they would be if spoken by an understanding voice.
For years, telemarketers have used the “smile trick.” Simply explained, it is believed that a person on the other end of a phone line can actually hear a smile in a voice over the phone, which can elevate trust and rapport. The tactic also works well for customer service representatives when dealing with escalated issues. No matter how big an agent smiles in a text chat conversation, it’s not going to translate on the screen.
Sometimes, it’s going to take a live and empathetic voice to truly resolve an issue and make the customer happy. While phone conversations are still used across the globe for customer service, companies can leverage the power of technology by offering an even better option: video chat.
To show empathy, what better way is there than a video conversation with a customer? Not only is the customer service representative able to communicate empathy auditorily, the customer also has a face to go with the voice.
Channel switching occurs when a customer must switch from one method of communication to another in order to resolve their issue.
This is frustrating to the customer as it creates a broken customer journey. In a study conducted by Dimensional Research, 1,046 customers were surveyed and 72% of them blamed their bad customer service interaction on having to explain their problem to multiple people.
Each time a customer switches to a different channel, they feel like they are starting over from square one. When a customer has a broken journey, not only is their loyalty tested, but they are also much less likely to recommend the company to friends and colleagues.
The biggest danger with channel switching is when a customer becomes so frustrated that they switch to a competitor’s channel. If the competitor creates a seamless journey for the customer, then it’s likely that the customer will continue doing business with that company.
It’s imperative that companies have their channels working in tandem. Solutions should be embedded into the company’s site with the ability to use as few or as many channels as a customer chooses. Combined channels have proven to provide a much better ROI than single channels that can only be used on a one-at-a-time basis.
According to research conducted by Glia, when live chat is combined with audio, companies experience a 28% lift in conversion. When live chat and video are combined, that number goes up to 56%.
Online customer service isn’t going anywhere, and neither are the challenges that it creates. As companies begin to experiment with advanced technology like artificial intelligence, they may be forgetting the most important part of the customer service mission: the customer’s happiness.
There has been plenty of research that points to an effortless experience being crucial to a customer’s loyalty.
In order to provide a seamless and effortless journey for the customer, not only should different channels be offered, but they should also be integrated as a singular yet multi-faceted suite of solutions.
OmniCore, Glia;s omnichannel solution, combines video, audio and chat that can be easily accessed with the use of a simple engagement button.
To learn more about Glia’s system of engagement, please request a demo to see how an all-in-one omnichannel solution can help to enhance the customer experience.