We’ve taken five major multi-channel customer service myths and without any C4, test dummies or wind tunnels (although our product development team really wanted to use wind tunnels), we’ve come up with some busted, confirmed and plausible answers….
1. MYTH: The majority of customers use phone and email for customer service.
BUSTED. According to a recent Ovum study of 8,000 consumers from across the globe, the majority of consumers use three or more communication channels when engaging in customer service. Results show that 25% of consumers use one or two channels; 52% use three to four; and 22% use five or more. The overwhelming majority (74%) use at least three channels when interacting with an enterprise for customer related issues.
According to a recent Forrester North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, respondents said they use the telephone 50% of the time to initiate a customer support query, but more widely use the web (58%), email (61%), or searching a company’s knowledgebase or FAQ section (66%).
2. MYTH: Multi-channel customer service means more to manage.
CONFIRMED. Major customer service channels include phone, email, chat, online support portal with knowledgebase, ticketing, social media, forums, mobile – and the list continues to grow. This is why many organizations are turning to a CRM solution to centralize support across all their customer service channels and ensure they are providing a prompt and consistent response wherever and whenever their customers request service.
According to a 2011 Econsultancy Multichannel Customer Experience Survey, 90% of companies recognize the importance of providing a consistent multi-channel experience, but only 4% of companies have joined their internal systems and processes to the extent that they have a single customer view, making superior multi-channel customer service a competitive advantage.
3. MYTH: Using a CRM solution is all about cutting costs and doing more with less staff.
PLAUSIBLE: It’s true that a few of the benefits of using a CRM solution are reduced costs and increased efficiency; but most companies don’t implement a CRM solution to do more with less staff. Most companies employ a CRM solution to centralize processes and make them more efficient, so the organization can focus on better customer engagement and free staff from the monotony of repetitive calls and emails every day so that their job satisfaction is enhanced, as well.
4. MYTH: CRM makes customer service more robotic and automated, and less personal.
BUSTED: One of the major benefits of using a CRM system is to deliver more personalized service. Businesses and organizations that employ a CRM solution empower their customer service representatives with information about the products and services the customer owns, their complete service history, their previous customer feedback, how long the individual has been a valued customer and more, so customers get more personalized service no matter which channel they request service on.
In addition, organization’s that use a CRM system can route customers to the representative that can provide the best service for them based on a CSR’s product knowledge, years of experience, past experience serving the customer and more.
5. MYTH: It’s too early to invest in a customer service solution for social media.
BUSTED: According to the 2011 CMO Council Report, “Variance in the Social Brand Experience,” after liking a brand’s Facebook page, 60% of respondents want to interact with other customers and share their brand experience; 50% expect to find company or organization service and support. A recent Conversocial study found that if their questions on a brand’s page go unanswered, 88.3 percent of respondents said they would be either somewhat less likely, or far less likely, to buy from that brand.
The 2012 report, “Future of Customer Service: The Rise of the Social Customer” shares the story of cable company Comcast being alerted by a stream of customer tweets about a broadcast outage in Philadelphia during a major hockey game. Using this social media interaction from customers, they were able to add an IVR message to their telephone service line within seven minutes. It’s estimated that this saved the company more than $1 million as a result of the deflection of customer calls to CSRs at its service center.