It's kind of ironic how customers always want to talk directly to companies they buy services from, but most companies shy away from offering phone support. Instead, they increasingly hide their contact number (if they even have one) and reply on chat bots or live agents manning their chat stations. Does it need to be this way and what is the best way to manage customer issues, provide a superior customer experience AND manage the volume and flow of contact? Let's take a look.
Phone support, live chat and email from a customer perspective.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words:
This question should be familiar to all of us, and if you search 'why COMPANY NAME doesn't provide phone support' you'll be amazed at the results you'll find.
As a business owner or executive, have you ever been in a position where you have to explain a customer why you don't offer phone support? Does your response ever work? Are clients satisfied that you're addressing their concerns?
Customers often wonder why it's so difficult to reach a company on the phone. When they have an urgent or complex issue to deal with, why is it so difficult for businesses to provide their customers with legitimate issues with phone support?
Why don't more companies offer phone support?
We've gathered all the reasons why companies choose to shy away from this support channel, and how it may be possible to address the concerns they have through new voice technology:
#1 Not knowing the customer identity beforehand
Example: Kinsta, a premium managed WordPress solution, only offers customer support through their online messaging system located via their dashboard. One of the reasons is that, within their online chat they can allocate the agent with customer data through ticket information immediately. They argue that they can't do this with phone support.
Solution: long gone are the days where phone support remains a separate channel from ticketing tools. Using the SnapCall widget on Zendesk support, each time an agent receives a call, customer information pops up (even before picking up the call) and the entire ticket history is at the agent's fingertips:
Agents reaction when they stop receiving anonymous and non-contextual calls
#2 Not having enough detail about customers during the call
Example: SquareSpace, the no-code website builder and hosting platform, says their online-only support allows their team to allocate information about customer's accounts more efficiently.
Solution: phone support can be easily integrated with support platforms, meaning each call is an automatic ticket with all the information immediately in front of agents. With simple customizations, the SnapCall widget on Zendesk can instantly push customer data in a call along with key information about their account.
Customers reaction when agents don't ask their personal information but instead focus on solving their issues
#3 Difficulty taking over conversation handed on by another agent
Example: Kinsta says they prefer online messaging tools so they can view previous details when several agents interact with the same customer. This avoids repetition and reduces time for both parties.
Solution: one call = one ticket. When a customer calls an automatic ticket is created thanks to the SnapCall app on Zendesk. This means agents can go see phone interactions as they would see a regular ticket. All the information is available and they can even play the call recording located on each ticket:
#4 Calls demanding instant attention affect productivity
Example: Barn2plugins, a software plugin builder, thinks unplanned calls quickly cause too many interruptions. Calls demand instant attention, hurting productivity when time could be spent on other tasks and can be dealt with as messages or emails all at once.
Solution: wwith Snapcall, phone channel hours can be limited according to preferences, like blocks of time or specific days. This gives maximum flexibilty, and the power to define when are the best moments to receive calls.
Here's an example of setting the hours of phone support:
Schedule creation per call button on SnapCall dashboard
Here's also an example of an agent turning off availability:
Agent setting availability off - SnapCall App on Zendesk
When there are no available agents, the call button simply isn't displayed to the customer.
#5 Difficult to create workarounds with chat or email channels
Example: HAAS Avocats, a french platform to find certified lawyers was cautious about opening phone support for their services, since the agents are actually lawyers who shouldn't spend time solving trivial inquiries. They didn't have a scalable and smooth workflow where relevant, verified customer who wanted more specific information could be helped over the phone.
Solution: It is now possible to offer many kinds of support to the same customers in a smooth workflow operation. Let's use the example of support workflow which HAAS Avocats put in place.
- The hellomybot chatbot solves most asked queries immediately.
- The hellomybot chatbot qualifies web visitors according to defined criteria.
- The hellomybot chatbot triggers a SnapCall call button, offering only qualified web visitors an option to talk to a lawyer.
- The SnapCall call button is activated, and the web visitor places a call within the live chat.
- The lawyer from HASS Avocats receives the pre-qualified call.
- The web visitor has a smooth journey where general queries are answered quickly, and a specialist addresses, specific qualified issues.
#6 Distributed teams or remote workers
Example: Barn2plugins provides specialized services to customers through a distributed team. They say that this makes a phone system tricky to implement.
Solution: digital phone solutions allow companies like Barn2plugins to respond to customer inquiries no matter where their teams are located. Flexibility means calls can be distributed anywhere in the world according to agent availability:
#7 Phone support is expensive
Example: $$$. Phone systems and offering phone support can involve high set-up, call and managent costs, in technology and human resources.
Solution: SnapCall pricing starts at 30 USD per month. Yes, 30. A month. With this you receive access to digital calls, data & analytics, and smart plugs. With agent availability, you don't need to start with a big team or to make it grow uncontrollably. Actually the opposite, since from the beginning you can limit how many calls you want to receive and from who and when, which allows companies to grow their support at a manageable pace.
#8 An unmanageably high volume of calls
Example: From the moment phone support is available, there will be a crazy amount of incoming calls from everywhere in the world. This will require more resources and a complex process to deal effectively with urgent requests.
Solution: companies have a multitude of possibilities in the way their phone support can be offered. Flexibility for agents, pre-qualified calls and smarter escalations are examples of what is possible with a digital call-solution like SnapCall.
Here are some use cases:
- Phone support only for high-value clients.
- Phone support only for customers on paid plans.
- Phone support only for pre-qualified leads.
- Phone support only for shoppers with high-value shopping carts.
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Download SnapCall app for Zendesk here and these solutions can become reality..