A Guide to Multi-Channel Customer Support

Introduction

Gone are the days when a customer could only communicate to your business through one-to-one channels such as mail, the phone, or in person. The conversations around your business and your customers are happening in greater numbers across an increasing number of communication channels every year. Even the channels themselves are undergoing radical change with the emergence of many more technologies like Twitter, Facebook, and customer communities that allow for many-to-many communication.

We are in a world where every business must consider the impact of offering multi-channel customer support; as well as what it means to not offer it. Multi-channel means all the various ways in which customers may reach you for service and support, including phone and email, but also newer technologies, including social media and lightweight self-service options such as knowledge bases, communities, and live chat tools. More and more customers are turning to these emerging technologies and expecting businesses to do the same. Amidst all of this, both email and phone still maintain a large portion of today's support requests.

Rather than allow the proliferation of these channels to overwhelm your customer support and service operations, you have the chance to take advantage of them; and you should. Handled appropriately, they can improve the efficiency of your support organization, greatly increase customer satisfaction, and generate new sales opportunities. Mishandled or not addressed at all, you run the risk of being out of touch with modern communication channels and at a competitive disadvantage.

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