Your customers expect to be your priority. The best way to show them they are, is by implementing a conversational support strategy.
We pride ourselves on our customer service. (If you take a look at our reviews on G2 Crowd and Capterra you’ll see it mentioned a lot.)
We’re not telling you this to brag about how great we are. Instead, we want to share with you the conversational support strategy we’ve used to build this reputation so you can too.
Think “conversational support strategy” sounds like yet another vague customer experience buzzword? Trust us, it’s not.
Here’s a real-world review that gives a big shout-out to a member of our support team.
Notice what the reviewer focuses on: “She went above and beyond, not just solving my issue but also educating me on how I can not make the same mistake twice.”
This is conversational support in a nutshell. It’s a customer service philosophy that goes beyond canned responses, SLAs, and first response time metrics. Instead, it focuses on providing personalized support through messaging channels, proactively resolving customers’ issues in the process.
Here we define what conversational support is, why your business needs it, and provide some ideas on how you can implement it.
Conversational support is message-based communication with customers that’s focused on building relationships. Without compromising on human support, it’s a personal, efficient way to engage customers and retain their loyalty.
One study found that 84% of customers want a direct solution to their problem, rather than a variety of different channels to reach out to.
Conversational support offers exactly this. It emphasizes personal support through a two-way conversation, usually in real-time.
89% of customers say they’d rather talk to businesses through messaging, and this should not come as a surprise.
We all use real-time messaging in everyday life. From Facebook Messenger to Whatsapp to Tinder, conversing through messages is a part of modern society. Building a customer support system on this model is a recognizable way for customers to chat through their problems and questions.
Your company needs to meet the customer expectations set by a world that revolves around 24/7 communication.
Re-shaping your support team so you offer conversational support is a big decision. While we’re confident that it pays off, here are some of the benefits for your business.
If your customer support team is currently run on email and phone, you know that managing more than one customer at the same time is difficult. This leads to longer waiting times for customers, which can lead to a negative brand experience. In fact, a study by Hiver found that 39% of respondents said that their biggest issue with phone call-based support is long waiting times.
With a text messaging system, customer support team members can help multiple people at once. While waiting for a reply from one, they can jump onto another chat and respond quickly to that person’s problem. The end result is a smoother operation with more customers assisted.
If team members are helping more customers, your cost per customer is lowered. The cost per contact when the phone is your main method of communication is as high as $12 per customer. When messaging is your main method of communication, it’s as low as $5.
Introducing automated messaging saved one company $400,000. Using conversational support allows you to spend money on other important areas of the business, without harming the customer experience.
When someone takes the initiative to contact customer support, they’re either a prospective customer or a current customer. You have a small window of time to handle their query and ensure they complete their purchase, and the quicker you can make that happen, the better.
Customers want to feel like they’re in good hands. When you handle their question quickly, it tells them they matter and shows you have nothing to hide. This transaction builds trust and loyalty in the business, which is a key factor in converting customers.
As Richard Branson once said, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.” As the bridge between customer and business, customer service teams often bear the brunt of unhappy customers.
It’s much easier to calmly respond to rude customers via a message than when they’re shouting down a phone. Plus your customers will have one less thing to complain about if they’re helped quickly.
The turnover of customer support teams is notoriously high at 30-45% and you’ll likely see higher staff retention as a result of implementing conversational support.
If you’re sold on using conversational support, it’s time to implement it. One of the most efficient methods of conversational support is an SMS-based customer service platform.
There are two ways you can use SMS for conversational customer support, and it all depends on whether you’re looking for a reactive or proactive support system.
Reactive customer support is when your customer service team responds to questions and issues raised by a customer.
A reactive customer support team would benefit from a click-to-text button on the website or a text message hotline to make inquiries easy for your customers.
When customers reach out via the button or hotline, they can text you straight from their native messaging app. Your SMS platform will allow you to manage these messages on your side all from one dashboard.
Proactive customer support attempts to prevent customer service issues by checking in and following up with customers along their buyer journey.
Customer service teams can send messages and surveys via SMS to identify areas for improvement and get ahead of any problems.
This method of customer support offers more control to your support team and is great to get an understanding of the client base.
As customers are more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one, prompting them to discuss their experience is a great way to get balanced feedback.
The main difference between proactive and reactive customer support is who makes the first move; the customer service team, or the customer.
With an SMS platform, you have a range of options to make the customer service process simple no matter who gets the conversation started. You can manage a large number of contacts, keep track of interactions, and assign conversations to team members.
Proactive customer support teams can benefit from scheduled texts and surveys, so you always know what your customers are thinking.
Reactive customer support teams benefit from two-way messaging and extended messaging, so the conversation never needs to be cut short.
Both offer benefits to your team and customers, but the most important element is having customer support software that is easy to run, so your customer communication is efficient.
We’ve all been on the other end of a phone line waiting for hold music to stop.
Your business and customers deserve better than that. Conversational support is one of the most effective ways to maintain customer relationships, without your support team tearing their hair out.
Don’t believe us? Implement conversational support on a 14-day free trial to see just how easy it really is.
Alice is a copywriter at SimpleTexting. When not teaching the world about the benefits of business texting, you can find her feeding family, friends and strangers with her latest baking experiment.More Posts from Alice Dodd
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