While social media has become an integral part of most websites, there are still a lot of hold-outs who don’t interact with social media directly. They’d prefer to use old fashion methods like the telephone, or need to be strongly urged before they’ll interact online. That means for you to support your entire user base, you may need to take phone calls or gently prod them into using other methods.
Phone Support Not a Thing of The Past
You know how annoying it is to deal with a big company who puts you into voice-prompt hell or otherwise makes it difficult to find your important answer or get a personalized response to a specific issue (you know which companies I’m talking about). You don’t want your customers to look at you that way. Besides, some subjects shouldn’t be addressed in public via twitter or Facebook, because they could embarrass your customer. So do something about it.
Creating a Caring Phone Environment
Start by making sure that you offer some form of personalized voice support. Depending on the demographics of your customer base and prospects, this might not need to be full time — or it may be so important that you need to offer day and evening support.
If you already use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for sales or support, check to see if there’s a support or case mode on that system that connects to voice systems. Then integrate it into your support process. This will allow you to better understand what types of support incidents are most frequent, so you can address the root cause of those calls. Perhaps the most frequent incidents are a bug on your website — or poor instructions for your customer. It also allows you to put together canned responses for those issues that crop up frequently, thereby helping your team handle them quickly and easily.
If your product or service requires you to handle sensitive information — such as financial account, medical or social security numbers of your customers, doing phone support becomes a bit more complex — because verifying the caller becomes more critical. It also bothers your customers when you have to ask lots of verification questions before you address their issues. For these situations, using a verification service like TRUSTID, for example, will help you service all your customers faster and still adequately address the security issue unobtrusively. TRUSTID verifies the phone of the caller in the background, and using proprietary algorithms, can determine whether the caller ID has been spoofed, thereby reducing identity-interrogation, making your security stronger, and letting you concentrate on getting to the caller’s reason for calling. And you’ll be saving time for all your callers and your staff, thereby reducing employee cost as well.
Once you have your voice support in place, don’t forget to prominently display the phone number that they should call and the hours that you take phone calls. If you have an after-hours call-back policy, include that as well.
Click-to-Chat To Make Support Even Easier
Some users will be happy to click-to-chat instead of calling by phone, because it lets them reach you for customized support, but doesn’t subject them to the scrutiny of prying eyes that would see their request on Twitter.
Click-to-chat software is widely available and varies in price from a few dollars a month to a few hundred a month. Suppliers include LivePerson, LiveChat, 7, Moxie, and Velaro (a few of these suppliers also provide click-to-call). An advantage of click-to-chat is that a support person who is chatting with customers can take multiple calls concurrently, thereby decreasing your cost of support.
Your Powerful Message
While the metrics of phone and chat support will differ from website to website, doing them right can give you a powerful message to include in your social media outreach, and can help you put your growth on a higher curve.