My favorite ways to talk to customers, ranked

We like to get some different perspectives on the blog when we can, from employees, customers and more. What follows is a guest post from our Customer Support Representative Betsy (you might know her from our office hours on Instagram and Facebook Live). If you’ve ever chatted with us on Olark or called our customer support line, then you’ve most likely talked with Betsy! 

Here’s her take on how she likes talking to customers best, in her own voice and with stage direction included for easier visualization. 

Hello sports fans. It is I, Betsy, from customer support. You may know me from such award-winning interactions as “Oops, I forgot to run a report for that”, “Dude, where’s my tweet”, or “Logins: The misspelled email story”. (Moves from stage right to center, leans on podium, casually.)

Here at Union Metrics we pride ourselves on fast, informative, and friendly customer support. We engage in hundreds of interactions with customers on a weekly basis through several channels.

Here is my ranking of these channels based on their effectiveness in resolving customer questions.

4. Phone

Phone calls are great ways to provide a personal touch, but in the long term, they just aren’t optimal for helping customers with complex issues. Don’t get me wrong; I like you, let’s chat and we’re always here to answer the phone when you call, but if we have anything we need to resolve that is more complex than a yes/no question we’re just going to end up in an email anyway.

3. Twitter

We love to talk with customers on Twitter, but there are some drawbacks when supporting your product. 140-280 characters is just too dang short to explain anything in a sufficient manner. Privacy issues abound if someone has specific questions about their account. And of course everything is public and subject to a peanut gallery of Twitter.

[Editor's note: You're also most likely talking to our Social Media Manager Sarah on Twitter, who may need to connect you with customer support in order to access your full customer history so your issues can be fixed as quickly and painlessly as possible.]

2. Email

This is the bread and butter of our daily customer support. Emails are a written record you can fill with links to help docs, in-depth explanations, and additional information, and should be treated as a one-stop identification, resolution, and post-mortem on any customer issue. While that it’s not always possible, and doesn’t always happen, one-touch resolution is always the goal here.

Customers can return to emails weeks and months later to remind themselves of how they resolved an issue in the past, or to learn more in their free time (it’s happened I swear). It takes more time to craft an email than a quick phone call or online chat, but the amount of reference-able information you can present to a customer is invaluable.

1. Live chat

Anonymous, immediate, and efficient, live chat has reduced email load on our support team while increasing customer interactions. I can’t estimate how many long and rambling email chains our chat tool has avoided. From many pages of our site, folks can type one sentence questions and get a quick human answer. Another question? Type that one in too.

Our live chats have lead to sales, helped avert costly confusion, and delivered instant satisfaction to customers who likely wouldn’t have taken the time to email. We can answer quick chat questions with 2-4 customers simultaneously while working on other daily tasks (I’ve been training for this type of multitasking since AOL dial-up, brah).

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash