This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Adam Rogers writes about the growth of multichannel support and how to focus on providing effective support wherever the customer is asking for it. It is important to provide customers with a consistent, predictable experience when they reach out. – Shep Hyken
For many companies today, going above and beyond and achieving customer delight is at the top of the agenda for their support teams. But is this sustainable, or even an effective, use of support efforts?
The arrival of multichannel support is beginning to see customers’ priorities change, from seeking delight to wanting a response “here, and now.” And this should impact the way that companies look to deliver support.
A new study by Kayako on the state of the customer support profession in 2016 looked into the priorities and challenges that support professionals face. It found that support teams currently prioritize customer delight over multichannel support, but find their workloads difficult to manage.
It’s predicted that multichannel support will be the biggest change to hit the support profession in 2016. Support teams are going to face even heavier workloads as they have more channels to manage and higher expectations from customers to match.
Now is the time for business leaders to let go of the idea of customer delight and free up their support teams to focus their efforts on multichannel support.
Customer delight is unnecessary
With multichannel support taking off in 2016, now is the perfect time to recognize that customer delight is not a scalable option.
Research supports this too: aiming to exceed the customer’s expectation during a service interaction only makes them marginally more loyal than simply meeting their needs. Shep Hyken echoed this sentiment as a guest on the Crack the Customer Code podcast:
“You can’t wait for problems to happen to be amazing all of the time. For the occasional problems; the bumps in the road, the opportunities you find to go over the top – seize those. But for the other 98% of the time you should be operating a little above average. The consistent, predictable experiences is what makes great companies amazing.”
Soul of Brand’s 2012 research found that more consumers would recommend a brand that provides a quick but ineffective response over a brand that provides a slow but effective solution.
This shows that support teams should stick with providing customers with the support they require in good time, rather than aiming for delight in every interaction.
Delivering customer happiness is easy
According to Kayako’s study, 73% of support professionals already find managing time and workload the most challenging part of their role. That’s without the full force of multichannel support added to their workload.
Multichannel support is being able to provide support in more than one channel from a single helpdesk. This makes sure that all conversations are tracked and converted to tickets when necessary. This means if a customer is on the phone, and has previously emailed about the same issue before, it will be really easy for the agents to pull up your inquiry.
The main support channels are email and telephone, with live chat and self-service (help centers, FAQs and forums) rising in popularity in recent years as customers seek lower effort options.
Now, customers see Facebook and Twitter as support channels too, and social media support comes at a price. Research by Edison found that, 42% of consumers expect a response on social media within one hour, and 32% think it should be within 30 minutes.
Imagine the backlog of support inquiries this would produce if support agents aimed for delight in every interaction. This would only add to the growing challenge of managing their time and workload.
Prepare your support team for multichannel support
Expecting your support team to aim for perfection in every interaction while increasing the number of ways your customers can seek help is unrealistic, and will likely lead to burnout in your support team. Instead, investment into the right areas of customer support is vital.
There are ways to reduce the impending load that will hit front-line support professionals this year. Create an excellent self-service offering, so busy customers can help themselves. This takes extra pressure off your support team by reducing the volume of requests that come in.
Invest in things that can reduce the workload for your support team like hiring more support agents, and training and coaching your team. Consider investing in better helpdesk software, because a truly multichannel helpdesk will bring everything together and make support easier for the agents and your customers.
This is where business leaders need to take note, and recognize that it maybe time to adjust their expectations for customer support. With the sheer amount of support interactions set to increase this year, customer delight will only become more time consuming. Under the added workload and backlog of support interactions, your support team may end up burned out.
With multichannel support on the horizon, customer interactions will grow and the quality of support could suffer. Business leaders can take action now by reducing customer effort, and focus on delivering customer delight on a larger scale, rather than an individual customer basis.
Take a look at the four new facts about the customer support industry in the slideshare below, and you can read the full 30-page report here.
Adam Rogers is a writer, digital marketer for Kayako. He loves helping customers get better at customer service. All of Adam’s writing on customer service and startups is available on the Kayako blog. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter @adamrogersuk and his personal site.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: