To Live Chat, or Not to Live Chat? That is the Customer Care Question

The combination of multi-channel marketing solutions you choose to implement in your customer care strategy weighs heavily on your customers’ preferences.

That’s right, it’s up to your customers to shape your contact center’s use of preferred communications methods. After all, if you don’t heed the clues your customers offer you each day you are probably making more missteps than achievements. For example, it’s true that many consumers appreciate a Web-based live chat option for customer care inquiries, but no two consumers are the same and oftentimes communication preferences vary by age group and other important demographic and situational specificities.

In fact, a recent survey from the online CRM review firm Software Advice titled “The Impact of Demographics on Live Chat Customer Service” revealed that 49 percent of respondents prefer using live chat for online shopping questions, while 74 percent prefer telephone for complex financial questions. Furthermore, the survey also revealed that regardless of the nature of the inquiry, 56 percent of those aged 18 to 34 prefer live chat to phone, while only 27 percent of those aged 35 and older share  that same preference.

Case in point: it’s essential that contact centers provide a multitude of options for their customers while remaining attentive to age or industry-defined preferences. And while it will undoubtedly prove difficult to gauge an overall consensus of your customers’ preferences simply from their interactions, it is advantageous to leverage data analytics to glean more accurate conclusions.

For instance, your contact center should compile a complete customer profile database. By analyzing this information with data analytics you can gain more insights about the demographic makeup of your consumer base. As well, it’s important to have a database of customers’ transactional history, this way you can also understand which customers made contact with your business over which channels.

So, do your research first, then decide whether certain solutions make sense for your business or not.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Three Reasons Why You Need to Broaden Your Customer Care Horizons

Communicating with consumers in the customer care space isn’t a one way street anymore. What I mean is that consumers need you to communicate with them as much as they need a way to contact you—like through your contact center services. As such, now is the time to explore new customer care communication options and perhaps consider implementing multichannel marketing services.

Industry analysts all seem to concur that today’s consumer is digitally inclined; however, we believe that the modern consumer is actually rather diverse and therefore requires a myriad of communication avenues—whether it’s traditional telephony, direct mail or digital channels.

Broadening your points of contact with your consumers will allow you to:

  • Reach more audiences: The channels your business leverages to interact with your consumers may be more or less attractive to certain demographics. As such, understanding what types of consumers prefer which types of customer care options can help you expand your business’s audience reach. For example, millennials tend to be more autonomous in their customer care inquiries—they’d prefer a Web chat or a text messaging service. Conversely, more senior demographics may appreciate contact through direct mail—like newsletters. Segmenting your channels to satisfy the specific preferences of your diverse consumers will help you satisfy the needs of a larger audience.
  • Provide more convenience: Even if millennials prefer Internet-based service, there are times when calling the customer care hotline can’t be avoided. In contrast, consumers that usually prefer speaking over the phone may find themselves pressed for time or on-the go and prefer to interact with your business through a text or instant messaging service. Offering your customers with more than one avenue of communication is practical and convenient as it shows that your business understands the busy lifestyles of your audience.
  • Gain more metrics: The more channels you use, the more valuable information you can aggregate. Compiling data from your contact center services—whether its customer satisfaction with agents or demographic engagement through certain channels—you can gain actionable insights about your consumer base. You can then apply this data to your Business Intelligence strategy—which can involve such things as customer profiling and predictive analysis—to respond more strategically towards certain consumer groups in the future.

It’s time to start getting comfortable with multichannel marketing services— it just might be what gives your brand that extra boost it needs!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Understanding Your Audience: The Differences between Millennials and Baby Boomers

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. What do these platforms have in common? They are the vehicles Millennials use to communicate and the reason your business needs to reconfigure its customer service practices to embrace 21st century multichannel marketing solutions.

Though a number of decision-makers you target may represent the Baby Boomer generation, an overwhelming number of executive and mid-manager positions are now being held by this younger generation, meaning you have to find a way to appeal to them in B2B sales as well.  At the same time, as a result of their rising status in the business world, millennials now also have more money to spend as consumers. So whether you operate B2B or B2C, reaching this younger generation is paramount to business success.

So how do you target this market? For starters, consider how to use the technologies they frequent. When Pew Research conducted a survey in 2010 on the chief differences between Baby Boomers and Millennials, the study revealed that millennials feel their incessant use of technology makes their generation unique. You can only imagine how much stronger this relationship with technology has become in the last five years with the ramping up of social media.

In addition to leveraging modern technologies to target your millennial audience, you must also take into account how they shop. Millennials tend to shop online, for instance, rather than head to the shopping mall like the Baby Boomer generation. As such, your brand has to be available across a myriad of retail channels in order to catch the attention of a media-driven generation. A strong reliance on the online market also warrants higher online customer service expectations. A Baby Boomer might tell his or her friends and family about a customer service experience, however, millennials posses the potential to influence a greater span of consumers by sharing their reviews online, according to an article written by the Boston Consulting Group.

InfoCision helps our customers augment their demographic outreach by offering strategic multichannel marketing solutions. Our business intelligence services allow us to pinpoint which channels will provide the most success for your target audience. If expanding your market potential is on your agenda for this year, why not add an email marketing campaign? Ever consider text message response to service inquiries?

Millennials can be a puzzling generation from the perspective of a Baby Boomer. Taking advantage of multichannel marketing solutions can help you solve the consumer behavior riddle.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.