To tackle rapid expansion your company needs effective communications channels, particularly for customer support. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. It’s all about finding the right combinations of voice, SMS and other messaging capabilities that give you an advantage in the markets you serve.
If you want to dominate in a fighting video game, for example, you need to know the combos. These are a specific succession of kicks, punches and lunges that activate your character’s special moves and give you an advantage over your opponents, whether they be a green mutant, a hovering yogi, or caped crime lord. Not a Street Fighter fan? I’ll get to the point.
Knowing customer demographics and intentions can help you offer the most satisfying support experience possible. According to ICMI, 74% of customers use three or more channels for customer-service-related issues. So having the right capabilities in place for the right situation is key.
Pieces of the puzzle
If you haven’t already, check out our guide explaining the ways global e-commerce companies can act local. Now let’s look at options for your customer support channels based on some basic criteria.
SMS usage is a good example of geographic differences in communication preferences. A McKinsey Digital Customer Experience Survey showed that Europeans used texting as a customer support channel more than their US counterparts–5 times more, actually. ICMI research found that in developing countries, mobile phones are used for texting more so than any other feature.
Research from Microsoft concludes that 64% of consumers between the ages of 18-34 think that social media is an effective customer service channel, with 52% of this age group having asked a support question using this method. Overall, 45% of consumers considered social media to be a good support channel with 31% of them reaching out in this way. It looks like the younger your customer base, the more active your customer service agents will be on Facebook or Twitter. The study also found that 81% of millennials have a more favorable view of a brand or organization if their customer service portal is mobile-responsive.
We’ve mentioned before that millennials look more favorably on companies that offer customer service via SMS. If this is the demographic your business is targeting, it’s time to get texting.
Despite age or country of origin, a major factor in the channels your customers choose for support depends on the nature of their requests or issues. According to Verint, phone calls are the most popular option for any scenario, but digital options are more likely to be used for simple requests or support questions.
Compare 33% of respondents who turn to voice for complex issues with only 22% who call when the request is less complicated. For more simple customer support queries, email and SMS both come in a strong second with 19% each.
A study by Interactions found that the type of business customers interact with did play a role in the way in the ways they reached out. For example, 11% of those surveyed used web chat in their most recent customer service interaction–22% of them used this method to contact a communications company. In addition, while 17% of respondents used email for customer support, 30% of them used the channel to contact a retailer and 24% used it to reach a travel company.
Finishing moves for international expansion
Once you know the individual categories for supporting the most effective customer service, it’s time to mix and match. If you’re a retailer with a presence in France that targets millennials, you may want to focus on email and SMS for customer support in the region. If most of your customers are over the age of 35 and live in the US, voice calls may be where you want to step up your game.
This is where Voxbone’s coverage and services can make a big difference. It’s no longer a secret that we’re the communications provider behind the pros, and for good reason. Voxbone runs the commmunications gamut with offerings like landline and toll-free numbers in Brazil, or SMS and outbound calling in Australia. And don’t forget about local Poland numbers with both voice and SMS capabilities (a recently “unlocked move”). Check out the full coverage details and see how Voxbone can take your global customer service to the next level.