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Many Companies Still Failing Digital Customer Support

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Many Companies Still Failing Digital Customer Support

May 31, 2016

  By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

It’s a fact that today, most customers tend to shy away from the telephone when it comes to seeking customer support. While it may be inevitable for certain transactions, it usually happens only when customers have exhausted attempts to solve the problem themselves, or via non-voice channels such as email, text, mobile app, social media or other digital channels. While it’s nice to think that a majority of customers are taking their digital channels as seriously as they do phone calls, there is evidence that it’s not true.

Recent research conducted in the U.K. by MyCustomer found that, on average, half of incoming customer service questions from online methods are never answered, and an eye-raising 61 percent of customer service emails and 59 percent of queries via Twitter (News - Alert) are left unanswered. Some companies aren’t even paying attention to queries that come from their own Web sites:  36 percent of support requests from the company website are ignored.

While the customer support industry is busy touting the benefits of an integrated omnichannel customer experience, a majority of companies are ignoring many of the channels that make customer support “omnichannel.”

What are the reasons that many companies are failing to service digital channels? In many cases, it’s because these channels simply aren’t properly integrated into the main customer support function. Companies are relying on workers to “find time” from telephone duties and seek out queries in other channels, which is why they often get pushed to the back of the line…or are ignored entirely. In an era of high customer expectations, this is a huge mistake, according to a recent blog post by customer support software solutions provider TeamSupport.

“For agents to be successful, they need the ability to respond to customers no matter how the latter chooses to contact support,” wrote TeamSupport. “Essentially, they must monitor every channel and platform and be quick to respond to customer queries. Doing so is difficult, both for agents with a heavy workload and businesses that simply don't have the resources to constantly track their social media pages.”

To do this, companies require a solution that pulls all customer queries in from all channels, and prioritizes them so agents can get to them all in a timely way. It shouldn’t matter how a customer reaches out, only that the customer did reach out. Expecting agents to cover every channel in a piecemeal fashion is a recipe for disaster. According to TeamSupport, online support software is tremendously beneficial. These solutions integrate with platforms like email clients and Facebook (News - Alert), giving customers a new way to submit tickets.

“Incoming queries are immediately cataloged with tickets from other channels, collecting them in one database all reps have access to,” wrote the TeamSupport blogger. “When support requests all come to the same place, agents can work in one system and have access to all information, making them more efficient and less likely to miss customer queries.”

It’s also important that companies do a better job supporting customers who choose self-service methods. Better knowledge bases (centralized instead of being broken up and siloed) can go a long way toward helping customers help themselves. They can also take the pressure off live agents, who frequently find their time taken up by answering the same basic questions over and over again.

Proving quality customer support must be the main goal of every contact center or help desk. Increasingly, it’s customers who are dictating the experience they want rather than conforming to the experience companies want them to have. Proper integration in the customer support software foundation is critical to achieve this. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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