The way we communicate with customers has dramatically changed over the years. Whereas our customer support teams used to rely solely on phone calls and email, we’ve now added a variety of helpdesk and messaging tools to make customer care better, faster, and easier than ever before.
But, as technology continues to evolve and new options emerge, it can be difficult to know which communication tools are the best option for customer support. So, to help you prepare for the holiday craze and the new year, we’ve identified 5 communication trends you can capitalize on right now to improve your customer care.
While texting isn’t a new phenomenon, the concept of using text messages to communicate with customers is still relatively new. In fact, today, only about 39% of companies actively use texting to communicate with their customers in any capacity.
But given the fact that roughly 72% of customers prefer to receive text messages from businesses instead of phone calls or emails, and that those text messages are opened 95% of the time, SMS offers a great opportunity to retail and eCommerce businesses. Not only by enabling them to reach customers more quickly, but also by minimizing friction and frustration for customers.
Customers use social media for everything. They socialize, share, and shop. And nearly 80% use it to connect with the brands they buy from — either by posting reviews and tagging the business or by asking questions in the comments section.
As a result, social media has become a powerful option for customer care, as retail and eCommerce businesses can respond to public comments and message individual customers directly in a matter of minutes. And they can do so for one-sixth the cost of a customer service phone call.
But as you might expect, customers expect to see a quick turnaround from businesses that use social media. So, when using social media for customer care, your team needs to respond quickly every time.
Live chat is a fast and easy way to help customers before and during their purchase. From answering questions about product sizes and return policies to solving problems with payment forms, nearly everything can be dealt with from a single chat bar in just a few minutes.
As a result, live chat has quickly become one of the most popular methods of communication for customers, as nearly 42% prefer to live chat with businesses, instead of emailing, making a phone call, and reaching out via social media.
Given that, it should come as no surprise that live chat is expected to grow 87% over the next 12-18 months and that the retail and eCommerce businesses that adopt it will be better able to connect with and convert customers.
Self-Service Knowledge Centers
While some customers are willing to wait for a customer care representative to pick up the phone, answer a social media comment, or respond to an email, many prefer to find answers and solutions themselves.
The problem is, most of the time self-serve options aren’t quite up to par. In some cases, websites and apps are missing crucial answers (even with an FAQ section). And in others, chatbots are unable to hunt down the answers customers need to solve their own problems.
Looking to the end of 2020 — with eCommerce sales predicted to rise over 25% during the holidays and customer care needs rising along with it — self-serve options will become a non-negotiable for many businesses.
Omnichannel is the Future
With many good options available, it can be difficult for retail and eCommerce businesses to know which approach to take. And realistically, no one communication channel works best.
That’s why many have opted to go the route of omnichannel — as it allows customer care teams to capitalize on the benefits of multiple communication channels without getting overwhelmed.
As we head into 2021, our suggestion is to select the channels that align with your customers’ preferences and combine them into an omnichannel strategy that allows you to care for all of your customers before, during, and after their purchase.