Here's Why Phone Support is Still A Great Option for Customer Service Teams

December 10, 2019

Customer support isn't just about the phone anymore. Companies have realized that they need to meet their customers where they are in order to provide the best experiences. That means adding new support channels like live chat, and being able to respond quickly to social media mentions.

While it may seem like the availability of multiple support channels would make phone support less important, the reality is that most customers still prefer it. And even those who try other channels first know they have a fallback if they're not getting the answers they need or want to communicate something in more detail.

This isn't to say that the alternatives to phone support aren't important - just that there are plenty of instances where having a conversation creates additional value for customers and helps your reputation as a result. Here's a few of them.

Helping customers with more complex issues

Not complex as in "code red," but in the sense that the issue isn't common and requires additional attention. When a support request falls outside quick-fixes and traditional FAQs, it's usually a good time to open a dialogue.

Providing phone support in this situation is the right move for a few reasons. For one, prolonged back-and-forth over digital channels can get frustrating fast. If a rep has been emailing or chatting with a customer for an extended time without finding a resolution, there's a good chance that customer will begin to feel like their issue isn't a priority.

Switching the conversation to the phone shows that you're committed to helping.

Early on in a customer relationship

While self-service is becoming increasingly important, you still need to develop human relationships with customers - especially when they're new. When you're onboarding a new customer or handling an early support ticket, you have a great opportunity to validate someone's decision to buy from you.

Customers that haven't done business with you before are bound to have questions about your product or service, whether they're related to basic use or how to get the most value out of it. If your first move is to direct them to online resources or FAQs, you risk making them feel like you're already blowing them off, which isn't a great way to build trust.

On the other hand, giving someone a call to resolve an open ticket doesn't just show that you're taking accountability - it puts a voice behind your brand. While self-service is a great option for quick-fixes, it really does its' job when once a customer has been with you for a while and knows that if they need additional help, it's just a phone call away.

When you're looking for detailed customer feedback

No matter what business you're in, there's a good chance that you'll need to proactively seek customer feedback. It's not common for people to reach out unsolicited to tell you how great you are - it's also challenging to get valuable feedback by reaching out to a customer cold, because there's not much incentive for them to provide it for you when they have their own businesses to worry about.

That's where having a productive, human interaction over the phone can help you. When you take ownership of a customer's problem in real-time and talk it through with them as you solve it, they'll likely be more appreciative than if you had sent them a link to instructions on a web page.

Once you've provided additional value, you've not only earned the right to ask for feedback, you're doing so at a time that it's convenient for the customer. In this instance, phone support doesn't just make your company more human - it helps you collect valuable information that you can use to continually improve your support experience.

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