Why you need a multi-channel approach to customer service

Customer service is changing. Most consumers are no longer sending letters of complaint – instead, they are turning to digital platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to praise great service as well as to vent their frustrations when they receive poor service.

With 73% of adults now using the internet every day, a multi-channel approach to customer service is becoming an increasingly necessary business strategy. Social networking sites have opened up opportunities for companies to reach large audiences faster and more effectively than ever before: at the click of a mouse you can now tweet to thousands of people across the world.

Multimedia approach

Although many consumers who have grown up immersed in technology have a ‘digital first’ approach to communication and find contacting brands through digital channels convenient and comfortable, you only have to look at statistics to understand the diverse breadth of internet users.

Internet use in the over 65s bracket has grown by almost 10% since 2013 and 66% of adults now own a social networking profile. More people than ever are choosing to communicate via online channels.

In 2013, 72% of adults bought goods or services online, which is up 19% from 2008. A third of consumers now use social media channels to complain about poor customer service. This figure is only set to rise, with 40% of those aged 16-24 using social media sites to vent their frustrations. Consumers expect to be able to contact you in the method they are most comfortable with.

Traditional methods of communication such as emails, letters and telephone helplines are still integral to every customer service strategy, but offering choice is also key.

Online models of communication are reflecting the changing landscape of consumerism, and perhaps more importantly, changing consumer expectations. The increasing reliance on technology is permeating through generations and is only set to grow.

The sheer speed of online interaction creates a unique opportunity for businesses: you can now respond within seconds to your customers. It is this speed that makes digital customer service so effective and satisfying for both the consumer and business. Questions can be answered and issues resolved within minutes, as illustrated by JetBlue Airways:

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The key is to present a unified, consistent level of service to your customers. Whether it’s a live chat message, a phone call, an email or social media comment, your response needs to be quick, personalised and consistently on brand.

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