15 July 2014
Online Chat Software - The Pros and Cons of 24 Hour Support
Limiting your customer support to certain hours of the day can have a detrimental effect, especially if you run an international business. The busy 21st century customer expects assistance to be available at their convenience and it’s important that your business is ready to step up.
Many blue chip companies have already recognised the importance of ubiquitous connectivity and introduced 24 hour support. In order to remain competitive, it’s vital to implement a range of customer support tools.
Many businesses invest in customer support begrudgingly; others try to find shortcuts. But it’s important to look upon it as a long-term investment. A strong support platform will give your customers confidence in your company and give even the largest company a human veneer.
But how can smaller companies offer this level of support? Below are some examples of 24 hour customer support that we have discovered whilst implementing online chat software.
The Last Line
As mentioned, sometimes customers just want reassurance that they are talking to another human being. This is especially important for big companies that could come across as faceless. Even if you can’t offer comprehensive 24 hour customer support, you should at least provide an emergency contact number so that you can be there when they need you the most.
Make sure that the number or live chat button is clearly visible on your website so that it’s easily found. Hopefully, most customers’ will refrain from calling the number unless there is a genuine emergency. As a result, it may not be necessary to always man the line.
For smaller organisations it is more sensible to divert the call to a senior employee who can deal with the request even when they are away from their desk. When adopting this tactic, ensure that there is a rota in place to distribute workload evenly. The management and relative importance of this contact should be relative to the size and nature of the company.
Unfortunately not all customers will be able to speak English, some will be shy or otherwise hesitant to call a number
It is important to offer a dedicated online chat solution to cater for this customer base.
Online chat software is a great tool for after-hours support as it is much easier to use a remote assistant to manage the chat. Your regular employees will be grateful that they don’t have to work a late shift. Click4Assistance is also constantly evolving its mobile app solution, so that team members can talk to customers while away from their desks.
When operating a limited team, it may be worthwhile to identify the busiest times and create a schedule around them.
Home or Away
From the point of view of a frustrated or confused customer, there’s nothing worse than phoning a number on a website to only sit through hours of tinny on-hold music.
It’s understandable that these customers then feel neglected and may even channel their dissatisfaction with the lack of support through social media, turning into a marketing nightmare. Ironically, many of these customers could have helped themselves by referring to self-help tools or a FAQ section. As a rule, always provide a link to these resources alongside contact numbers.
Another option to consider is outsourcing the 24 hours support. There are many companies trained in call management that can provide real people to help your customers but, if this option is chosen, researching all the available companies should be a top priority. For example, the call management company needs to be aware of your company’s voice and tone, and be briefed on the services/products your company provides.
Aside from not having to staff the customer support channels all the time, a third party service has the added benefit of letting your employees deal with only the most critical customer complaints.
At the end of the day customer service is all about assurance, whether you choose phone, live chat or email as a primary means of contact. Even though customers may not be dependent on after-hours service, it’s something that can distinguish you from the competition (especially for UK businesses that operate globally). Being there for your customers is critical when trying to nurture a long-term relationship. At Click4Assistance we are available to provide consultation on the optimum level of support for your online chat software implementation. Simply contact us on 0845 123 5871, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or initiate a chat with us right here on our website.