Thoughts from Answers’ CEO: What the support industry gets wrong about phones
By Elad Eran, Founder and CEO of Wix Answers
We’re living in a golden age of customer support.
In the past five years alone, support capabilities have taken a giant leap forward. With AI, automation, and real-time analytics, companies today can offer an unprecedented degree of fast, personalized care. And yet, many organizations still rely heavily on phone support.
While phones are an important piece of a support organization’s toolkit, they shouldn’t be your primary option.
Customers are demanding faster support
Today’s consumers want everything now. They’re used to instant messaging, instant transactions, and instant deliveries…so naturally they expect instant customer service.
The problem with phones is that they’re not always instant, and they don’t provide a good customer experience 95% of the time. Most customers spend minutes or sometimes hours waiting to get in touch with support. And once they do get a hold of someone, they’ll likely be transferred between multiple agents.
So, the question for support leaders is how do we help every customer without talking to every customer?
Going beyond the phones
When I joined Wix.com in 2008 to build their customer care team, the company was experiencing fast growth. We knew we needed to meet this rapid growth head-on with a proactive approach to support.
For a support department, business growth can be overwhelming. We want our company to succeed and scale, but when it does, that can only mean one thing: longer queues.
Or does it?
With a fast-growing customer base, obviously we weren’t only going to offer phone support for all of our users – even the best agents in the world couldn’t do that! So, instead of buying more phones, we expanded into other support channels.
Providing better support with fewer calls
Extending support across other channels allowed us to provide our customers with many different resolution paths. Rather than one ‘line of defense’ in place we had several to resolve each type of case as efficiently as possible. Here are some of the ways you can enhance your support and start taking fewer inbound calls.
Self-service is an effective way to quickly support customers and also reduce call volume. Self-service solutions like help centers and widgets minimize the number of ‘one-touch’ tickets that often fill up call queues. They empower customers to resolve issues on their own instead of calling and eating up several minutes of an agent's time. This ticket deflection is a win-win for both customers and agents – since most customers simply want to find answers in the shortest amount of time and agents want to focus more on complex issues.
2. Digital channels
If a customer can’t find the answer to their problem through self-service, digital channels like live chat and social media, are your next line of defense. Considering we live in a heavily digital world, these real-time support channels are crucial to have. In fact, 33% of consumers expect to see live chat on every website, and 70% of people expect to message businesses over social for customer service questions.
It’s important to meet customers where they are, and with a solution like Wix Answers, you can. Our platform seamlessly integrates with Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. We also offer advanced chat capabilities including auto-routing chat tickets, automating personalized responses, and providing knowledge base article recommendations.
Even with self-service and digital channels available, there are still some instances when troubleshooting an issue over the phone really is the fastest way to fix a problem. But, instead of customers navigating your IVR flow or waiting on the phone listening to your smooth jazz, they can request a callback.
Callbacks reduce frustration because it means your customers do literally anything else while waiting to speak with you. And agents love them because it allows you to regulate the pace of calls – taking a minute to prepare and gather context, rather than being thrown into the ring.
There are better ways to help customers than answering calls
It’s going to sound cynical, but both customers and agents want the same thing – anything but talking to each other. As I said earlier, phones are an important part of support, but they shouldn’t be your only type of support. Putting down the phones will not only improve operational efficiency, but also have a significant impact on your customer experience.
So, what are you waiting for?