When it comes to excellent customer service, should brands focus on email or calls?
See, customer service is the cornerstone of any business worth its salt, so it’s pretty essential to get this right. And today, we’re here to answer the above question.
Should you call, mail, or text them?
Each method of customer communication has its strengths, and the best approach is to implement a mix of them.
Today, we’ll be talking about that mix, where each communication channel works best, and how to communicate in a way that builds crucial brand trust between you and your customers.
So let’s get to it.
Building Trust Through Outstanding Customer Service
Without a loyal following that trusts and keeps coming back, a business is dead in the water.
And the only way to ensure customers return after their first experience with you is by building trust and making sure that they walk away 100% satisfied in the first place.
And creating that trust isn’t a set-and-forget process; it’s an ongoing effort that you’ll need to keep to outshine the competition.
But how do you start?
There are plenty of things you can do to improve customer retention rates.
But one of the first steps you need to take is establishing lines of communication with your customers to kick things off.
Email or Call-Focused Customer Service | Pros & Cons
The last thing any customer wants to do is put in tons of effort just to contact the company they’ve purchased from.
And it makes sense. Why would a trustworthy company put up hurdles between them and the customers in the first place?
Rather than making it difficult for customers to get in touch, it should be your goal to give as many options as possible for each customer to contact you.
But that still leaves us with a question: Is there a “best” way to communicate with customers?
Well, there are certainly quite a few options, and most of them have their own merits. So today, we’ll discuss the ups and downs of each.
The Strengths & Weaknesses of Email-Based Customer Support
Email-based customer service has a few things going for it:
- It’s an accessible, low-barrier communication channel
- It’s incredibly low-cost to implement for any business
- Practically everyone has an email address
Taking these into account, email’s a great channel for establishing contact for your customers. But there are a few critical flaws that you should keep in mind.
The biggest of which is that email is slow — at least compared to other channels.
If a customer has a problem that needs an urgent fix, email isn’t ideal because it can often take hours or days for that customer to see a response.
When it comes to customer service, anything short of instant is too long.
So where does that put email?
Email is a great way to alleviate non-urgent customer matters, but customers often want their problems solved quickly.
For cases like those, email isn’t the ideal solution for customer support.
The Strengths & Weaknesses of Phone-Based Customer Support
Phone calls are great ways to handle issues and customer concerns quickly and effectively.
With phone support, it’s much easier to get to the root cause of a problem because it’s a more hands-on approach.
To add to that, speaking with a rep on the phone is a bit more personal than emailing back and forth, which goes a long way in that trust-building process.
Setting up a phone line purely for customer support is expensive and complicated — or at least, it used to be.
Luckily, it’s become more accessible than ever to set up your own line of communication via phone. (That’s where we come in!)
EasyCall makes it easy to set up a low-cost call center no matter where your business is based.
The Strengths & Weaknesses of Chat-Based Customer Support
Live chat support is the happy medium between email and phone communication.
It offers the speed of phone calls but the low barrier to entry like email. It’s often less of a hassle to type in a live chat than to hop on the phone — though it does lack some of the personal touches.
It also allows for automation; using chatbots to handle simpler customer cases is another way to use your resources more efficiently.
Want to implement a live chat for your own business website? Check out our list of the best Shopify live chat tools here.
Which Communication Channel is the Best: Email or Call?
There is no best when it comes to customer support.
Each channel has its own strengths and weaknesses — which is why, ideally, you should implement each of them individually.
Each new method for a customer to contact you will only make it easier for customers to trust your brand.
5 Tips for Effectively Communicating with Customers
That’s the rundown on effective channels for customer communication, but that still begs the question:
What are the best methods for communicating?
Let’s go over some of the top tips for interacting in a way that builds trust and loyalty.
1: Create & Use Email or Call Scripts to Deal with Common Cases
While chat scripts tend to get written off by many because of their “unnaturalness,” they can be vital tools to improve the customer experience — if used correctly.
Once you’ve dealt with enough customer concerns, a few trends will start to emerge, and many of your cases will fall into one of them.
For these common concerns and problems, create basic scripts that your customer support team can use as a reference.
2: Automate Parts of the Process to Save Resources
While automation certainly has the potential to be overused, it can serve as a valuable way for you to free up resources where they can be better utilized, including other customer cases.
A few common use cases for automation in customer service are the previously-mentioned chatbots or email autoresponders.
The critical thing to remember is that while automation can save resources, customers should always have the option to ask for another human on the end of the line.
Another great way to alleviate resources for your customer support team is by building a FAQ or helpdesk section, here’s an example from a company called Tushy.
3: Ensure Every Customer Walks Away 100% Satisfied
Referral & return business is the name of the game, especially for smaller, up-and-coming companies.
But the only way to ensure that you can consistently bring returning and referral customers is by ensuring that any interaction someone has with your brand is a good one.
If customers aren’t consistently walking away from each interaction happy, whether it’s from an email or call with one of your reps, then it’s time to reevaluate your approach.
And how do you find out whether they’re satisfied? That leads us to our next point.
4: Ask for Feedback & Use it to Optimize Your Strategy
Whether it’s your marketing efforts or the way you connect with customers, in business, your approach should always be informed by data.
And some of the best data is the information you get from customers themselves.
At the end of every interaction with customers, ask for feedback. You’ve probably seen something that looks like this:
And that’s for a good reason. The feedback customers provide is invaluable to businesses in any sector.
While you won’t always get an answer, the information you do get will help you optimize your strategy going forward.
This feedback can be in the form of post-purchase surveys, asking for a rating at the end of a live chat, like in our above example, or any other manner of asking without being too pushy.
5: Reduce All Barriers to Entry for Customers
When interacting with your business, the last thing you want customers to feel is confusion or difficulty.
Removing any barriers between you and them should be one of your top priorities.
Everything from the purchase to getting an agent on the phone should be easy and straightforward.
Just look at how many ways PayPal provides for customers to get in touch.
Implementing Both Email and Call-Based Support for Stellar Customer Service
So there you have it.
There’s no best way to contact customers, and if there is a “best” way — it’s implementing all of the communication channels.
Whether a customer wants to pick up the phone and speak with a human or send a quick email and get on with their day, it’s your job to make sure they can do just that.
Found this guide helpful? Make sure to check out more of the content on our blog!
Like this guide on Customer Feedback Management, for instance.