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The importance of providing multi-channel support

In a world where customers can easily switch brands, you need more than a brilliant marketing strategy to keep them from switching to a competitor. Have you ever wondered why so many companies struggle when it comes to offering a unique customer experience?  This may come down to plenty of reasons: lack of long-term strategy, poor organization, not having the right tools and so on. Imagine the following scenario: you want to buy a pair of headphones, so you go to the shop right across the street. You go there and to your chagrin there’s a long line inside the store. You have two choices: you either stand in line and wait for your turn, or you simply leave the store. Since no one has time to waste, you leave and look for another store where you can buy headphones. After all, you can easily buy your headphones elsewhere. You, the customer, care only about one thing: purchasing what you need or want without wasting time. You win either way, while the store lost a potential customer. That’s an example of bad customer service and experience.

Now imagine another scenario: say you want to buy a pair of sunglasses. You go online, find a website that sells sunglasses and see what they got. As you keep browsing the website, a small and non-intrusive pop-up shows up. The pop-up window asks you what type of sunglasses do you like. You choose the type of glasses you like, and keep on browsing. Suddenly your phone rings and you have to respond, so you close the website. You haven’t forgotten about the sunglasses, though. You haven’t forgotten the website that gently asked about  your favorite sunglasses, either. So you go to that website again, and you’re shown another non-intrusive pop-up welcoming you back; this is the power of dynamic push content.  You find the sunglasses that fit your style and proceed to ordering. The purchasing process is fast and easy, the support is great, and the sunglasses arrive earlier than expected. This is an example of excellent customer service and experience.

As you can see from the examples above, customer success is about providing constant support through multiple channels of communication. Personalized content doesn’t hurt, either. On the contrary; it can help you increase engagement and drive growth. In addition to the traditional channels of communication such as phone and email, more and more companies are now offering their support through various channels such as social media, chat, text messaging, etc. The question is: do they offer a seamless customer experience across all the support channels? Because that’s where most companies struggle, despite having multiple channels of support. Just like everything else in life, quality trumps quantity. It doesn’t matter how many channels of support you may have; what matters is their efficiency. Offering a seamless and consistent support across all touchpoints is crucial, and so is knowing how to adapt them in an ever-changing environment.

Each customer is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to offering support. What might work for a customer might not work for another. By providing multiple channels of support, you give customers the freedom of choice. Most important, when you offer an omni-channel support, amazing things happen. When all the support channels deliver a consistent customer experience, your company is in a better position to drive engagement and long-term growth. Sure, it takes time, persistence, experimenting and a lot of sheer effort, but it’s worth it. By offering support across all channels, you give more options to customers. Some people prefer to be called, others opt for text messages and some others may prefer email. Whatever their favorite channel of support, you’ve got them covered. It isn’t just the number of channels that makes for a great customer support and experience; it’s also your commitment to offering the same great experience across them.

Some companies stick to two or three channels to provide support. While this may work for some customers, it may prove to be counterproductive in the long-term. What if a customer doesn’t want to receive emails or phone calls? What if a customer’s case cannot be handled through social media? When you provide multiple support channels, the customer can choose the channel that best fits his need. It gives them flexibility and freedom of choice. Moreover, it gives you a better idea of which channel works best for a specific situation. More support channels means more opportunities to handle even the most complex cases. Because each channel has a unique nature, you can combine them to offer an even more unique experience. When customers find a solution to each and every single problem, they are more likely to stick to your company. If they stick around long enough to become your loyal customers, it means only one thing: your company is doing a great job.

The customer journey is ever-changing and at times, unpredictable. By providing a customer experience that feels the same across all support channels, you drive engagement, increase retention and may eventually turn customers into brand advocates. Just like the customer journey, the journey to success is long and ever-changing. Just like customer success, it’s worth every effort.

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