Dazzle with Amazing Service: 3 Emerging Customer Support Channels

February 17, 2017

Whether you’re a sole proprietor or a large corporation, it shouldn’t be difficult for customers to contact you. Making it easy is paramount to maintaining customer satisfaction and building loyalty. If you’re difficult to contact, you risk alienating your customers and/or losing them to a competitor.

Here are three tools you can use to minimize customer effort while giving stellar service:

Customer Support Channel #1: Live Chat

Live chat software has been available since 2002, so it’s a familiar place for your customers to meet you. In a survey conducted by Forrester, 62% of customers were more likely to make a purchase online with the availability of live customer support, and 63% of customers would more likely return to a website offering the service.

Live chat is also easy to use: To start a chat, your customer can click an icon via your site. While larger businesses may require a developer to build the tool, your small business can easily provide this service using an app like Olark or Drift.

via Drift

Live Chat for a Small Business



via Olark

Live Chat for Your Customer



A pro for the both of you: Some apps can even translate chats back and forth for easy multi-lingual conversation.

Customer Support Channel #2: Facebook Messenger

When Facebook became a marketing tool, customer service via Facebook Messenger followed naturally. Communicating via Facebook Messenger requires little effort, and, with 1.23 billion users, your customers are likely to call Facebook home.

Website plugins and connector apps like Conversocial and Oratio have recently surfaced, allowing you to formalize a support process in a familiar place.

via Everlane

Facebook Messenger for a Small Business



via Ora.tio

Facebook Messenger for Your Customer



A pro for the both of you: Use a range of features already available through Facebook Messenger like file exchange or sending/receiving money.

Customer Support Channel #3: SMS

SMS is a very familiar form of communication to your customers. They spend 23 hours a week texting everyone but you.

A 2014 Harris Poll by OneReach found that 77% of 18–34-year-old SMS users were likely to have a positive perception of a company that offered the service. New and existing helpdesk companies like Zendesk and Mosio are introducing apps to help you streamline text-based support for your small business.

via Mosio

SMS for a Small Business



via Zendesk

SMS for Your Customer



A pro for the both of you: Both you and your customer can easily access conversation history.

A loyal customer is worth up to ten times their first purchase. Retain your customers by using a service channel that requires little effort from them. This will encourage ongoing, valuable relationships. It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. Live chat, SMS and Facebook messenger are tools that will make it easy for you to maintain stellar customer service and lay the groundwork for a loyal following.

Pick the Best Customer Support Channel for You

With these three strong options, you may be stumped with which to chose. Having years of experience providing customer service at FreshBooks, I don’t think there’s a wrong choice here. Indeed, you’ll succeed or fail on how you use the tool more than the tool itself. So it’s key to pick the option that you can most readily adopt.

If I were choosing for my own small business, I would probably opt for a live chat application directly on my website. This keeps customers on my site — where they can see. A live chat application is customizable and keeps the customer within your space at no cost to them.

As your business grows, you can’t go wrong offering additional support via Facebook Messenger and/or SMS; by answering incoming messages and offering continued contact after your customer’s initial purchase. This will allow for communication without requiring them to come back to your site.

But most importantly: Be “human” and helpful. The real difference-maker will be how you’re engaging your customers through any of the above channels.

about the author

Manager of Support, FreshBooks Colin is a Manager of Support at FreshBooks. He brings a unique perspective to the FreshBooks blog with his extensive background in people management and customer service. Fun fact: He is also a ‘serial hobbyist’ with collections ranging from taxidermy to vintage sunglasses.

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