Your customer support service will be the bridge between your company and users interested in doing business with you.
This bridge will be vital in resolving potential incidents and establishing a link that will add value to the products or services you are selling.
On the other hand, your customer service will affect your brand image, as satisfied users will love you, while angry users will hate your business.
Your customer support service will be, in other words, the face of your business.
- 1 · Customer Service Tools and Options
- 2 3. New technologies
- 3 4. Comparison: features and prices
- 3.1 – Select the features you really need,
- 3.2 – Wait for them to call you, sometimes you might even bargain for the price.
- 3.3 – Use comparative pages.
- 3.4 – Sometimes you will be interested in various features.
- 3.5 – Calculate prices and advantages, but don’t forget your budget.
- 3.6 – Filter by opinions.
- 3.7 – Compare prices and reviews.
- 3.8 – Remember that the customer service you will pay for will reflect directly on the image of your business.
- 4 5. Reduction of alternatives to the best option
- 5 Review total cost including taxes, extra fees, and limitations
· Customer Service Tools and Options
Customer service departments took longer to evolve, mainly because many companies chose to invest first in other areas such as marketing and sales.
However, in the 21st century, this has changed dramatically, with different systems and options depending on the niche market the company wants to reach.
The first thing that comes to mind when hearing “customer service” is an employee with an earphone answering calls from customers who need pricing, technical support, or any other information.
However, there are several customer services for different goals: We can work to capture leads, build trust, or provide technical support. It all depends on the intention of the company.
Phone customer service is perhaps the longest used option by companies around the world. Moreover, by integrating landline solutions, companies can even connect with different departments within.
It’s still very popular because many people feel more comfortable when they can call a phone number and talk to someone. This direct contact builds trust, and especially for older people it can be a very relevant options for your company.
It is still the most commonly used medium for business purposes or for solving more specific and urgent problems.
While many users hate to receive business calls, many companies use the phone as one of their primary customer service channels.
On the other hand, we should point out that mobile telephony has revolutionized this industry, changing the way we use the telephone commercially.
We can surely say that this is one of the safest ways to offer customer support to companies of all sizes.
The main difference between email support and phone support is that we can help more customers at the same time. A phone call takes time; an operator will likely have to keep in touch with the same customer for several minutes, while by email, he could reply to multiple messages during the same period.
In short, you can reply to your email from anywhere in the world and from any device with an Internet connection.
In addition to that, both parties can track the conversation in real-time; you can read messages exchanged with your customers whenever you need to clarify a point or confirm previously sent information.
However, it could be a slower, less accurate, and time-consuming channel to solve an urgent problem.
2.3. Other Channels
On the other hand, some companies still work with postal mail.
The main problem with this communication channel is the fact that it is extremely slow, unreliable, and expensive. You could send a letter with confidential or technical information to a customer who purchased from you, but why would you force your customer to wait several days to receive information that could be sent immediately?
However, we should not forget that its use is mandatory for specific legal purposes, such as notifications, charges, and other situations.
3. New technologies
If you think about how things have changed in recent years, you can probably list several tools that can be used as a customer service channel in your company.
Today we have so many options that, in many cases, we can even build integrated support systems with real-time information and technical material to help customers when we are not available.
Some companies are already offering a la carte customer service. Their main task is to identify the contracting company’s communication problem or how they can adapt their existing system to changing needs. These are usually services embedded in an already formed business structure.
As you know, many have modified their work tools for coworking platforms, such as Office 365, Drive, or Trello.
They enable work optimization and remove many barriers by unifying multiple applications such as Word, Email, PPT, or Excel into a single system. But they don’t offer voice call options.
Although some have functions to communicate internally with other colleagues, it is difficult to adjust this system to the optimization offered by other methods, such as call centers.
What is remarkable about these services is that by combining most of the functions mentioned above, they provide a customer service that includes intelligent monitoring and options for managing several calls at the same time.
They use specific software to make and receive Internet calls, transcribe calls, or use performance meters.
As you can see, the technological evolution available for a service that was initially very primary launches a variety of features that reshape the concept of customer service.
In short, the options are multiple; the next step is to find and make a good comparison that leads us to choose the possibilities offered by one service or another.
4. Comparison: features and prices
It’s not easy to compare a multitude of options, let alone the nature of advertising from many of the companies you’re interested in.
However, you can hire one service or another more accurately if you are guided by a series of simple guidelines:
– Select the features you really need,
Even if they offer discounts if you hire additional services. Ask yourself if you really think you will use this service in the medium or long term. You can always add other features later, but wait until you really need them.
– Wait for them to call you, sometimes you might even bargain for the price.
But you shouldn’t pay for services you will rarely use.
– Use comparative pages.
Usually, you can find a list of features or FAQ page with details about the product and the different packages. Or, they also add the experience of users who have already subscribed to these services.
– Sometimes you will be interested in various features.
They are usually grouped in packs. Typically, these packages contain features you don’t need that make the total price more expensive.
Try to reduce the cost by removing features that don’t interest you, and if they don’t offer changes to your plan, you should look for cheaper alternatives.
This would not be the first time someone had benefited from a counterproposal when a salesperson didn’t want to lose a customer at the last moment.
– Calculate prices and advantages, but don’t forget your budget.
Setting your budget will be vital when selecting companies that offer services you can afford.
– Filter by opinions.
This information will tell you a lot about the quality of the service you are hiring. Try to find real opinions and reviews. Occasionally, many of the comments are posted by members of the company. You can usually spot fake reviews.
– Compare prices and reviews.
Maximize the best balance between the two and define what you want to offer your customers. Balancing these two defining factors will be critical in determining your market space. It will also depend on the type of audience that you are targeting.
– Remember that the customer service you will pay for will reflect directly on the image of your business.
Investing more in this type of service can drive customer loyalty.
Group the offers you are most interested in before choosing the company you will hire.
Examine which service will be best for you.
5. Reduction of alternatives to the best option
After grouping the most interesting offers, you will end up with fewer options. This will be important for keeping in touch only with companies you truly want to work with; If you contact the same company multiple times, they may end up believing that you are not a serious customer.
It is crucial to play an altruistic role when talking to the agent, even when you know you probably will hire his services.
Also, it is important to analyze all the features you are hiring; You need to make sure that you really know how to work with the service you have chosen. The following information may serve as an example.
Factors you should consider:
What do you offer your customers?
If you are one of the leading companies in your industry, you should undoubtedly consider offering the best customer support service platform. After all, quality costs money.
If, on the other hand, your budget is tighter, consider a cheaper service. Let’s focus on the latter case.
Distinguishing a variety of factors, as well as prioritizing them according to your own choice, should be a painstaking task, as it can alter your business’s view of public opinion.
If you have to reduce costs, the counterpart may mean putting the truth of your business values at a disadvantage. If we reverse the order of preference above, it is more likely that to secure and defend your values, expenses will increase considerably, as the pursuit of particular ends entails more expensive routes.
What do you need?
If, for example, you only need three characteristics, you should try to negotiate to contract a custom plan, with advantages for both parties.
Generally, they always try to sell the package as it is more advantageous for them. But this is where you should clarify that if they can’t offer you a custom package, you will not sign the contract.
Another alternative is to contact only a few companies and try to pay for features separately.
If one of them offers this option, it could help you create custom packages or even work with more than one company.
Review total cost including taxes, extra fees, and limitations
Some customer support systems offer cheaper plans, but you will only be able to work with a limited number of customers per month.
If you are running a small business, this could be your best bet; you will probably spend a lot less, and when you need to upgrade your plan, you can contact the company or migrate to another system.
Now is the time to evaluate the annual flow of customers. However, it would be best to ensure that if you need to pay for more features, the additional fees will not be too high; Initial low cost doesn’t necessarily mean an advantage, so it is always best to revise the fine print of the contract.
Also, you could opt for free services, at least initially; When you have more money to invest, you will also have more experience and know precisely what you will need to purchase to offer better customer support.
Agustín Fernández, director of marketing at centralita-virtual.org.
Online Marketing Consultant Web services comparator and responsible for writing digital content.