startup-for-business

Startups: 4 Important Customer Service Channels

This April, Google launched their Startup School for businesses across Ireland. The interactive courses are free every Wednesday and Thursday for the next five weeks and will cover the Google platform and its tools and provide important advice for potential startups.

Communication is a necessary tool for every business. You need prospects and customers to be able to communicate with your business. Every communication opportunity allows you to build reputation, and brand loyalty and provides an open window to promote your goods or services.

In this article, we’ll focus on inbound communication. This is when a customer makes the first move in attempting to reach out to your business.

Below, we’ve listed four communication channels all startups should consider.

 

1. Phone

There is now many technologies business use to support customers, however, a phone call is still favoured over forms of communication in many scenarios. People like human interaction when it comes to asking for support, or handling sensitive issues.

While a phone system may be an unnecessary purchase for a startup. Having a business phone number and tools such as call recording will most likely be an immediate requirement.

Email and phone are still the two preferred customer support channels by customers. Customers will expect to see these channels heavily visible and easy to locate on your website, marketing material, and any business documentation you send out.

Phone numbers can be used to target a country, a county, or free human interaction. There are several variations in Ireland including national, local area, and freephone numbers.

A tool such as a call recording or phone menu system (IVR) may be required for compliance depending on your business’ industry.

 

2. Email

Emails provide a free method of communication that also provides a record. Customers and businesses often like to send and receive emails, so that if there is a dispute between the two parties, an email can be referred to with a verified date and time.

Rather than using personal emails, businesses often prefer to use group mailboxes such as sales@yourbusiness.ie or support@yourbusiness.ie. These group mailboxes are easy for customers to remember, and make providing customer service easier with multiple staff members being able to view and respond.

Email services may be provided by Microsoft, Gmail, or through your website hosting.

 

3. Live chat and messaging

While live chat may seem a heavy resource on staff, Kayako suggests that 79% of businesses now say it has a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty. 38% of customers are more likely to buy from a business that offers a live chat feature.

The in2tel website currently offers a live chat feature from Zoho. The business has found the tool easy to use amongst staff and out of all the website’s contact options, it currently has the highest engagement rate.

Instant messaging is another tool that can be very successful due to the continuing use of smartphones. There are now over 6 billion users globally, and this is predicted to increase over the next five years.

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and SMS services can offer personalised experiences for customers that suit startups. Customers may be more willing to agree to messenger contact from small businesses rather than large corporations.

 

4. Social media

Social media has been an active form of marketing and support for the last 10 years. While it may seem unnecessary for B2B businesses, B2C businesses can find it a cost-effective way to advertise and support customers.

All social media platforms have smartphone apps, similarly to messaging and texts, this channel targets the customers’ reliance on their mobiles. Social media offers the chance to interact with specific people, group certain demographics, and a platform to express a brand’s personality that may not always be possible over a website.

Social media strategy is very important, as engagements are often more public than other customer support channels. There have been countless incidents where a single message, has been published online, where a brand is scrutinised for a single person’s actions.

If you’re going to take on social media as a channel, don’t rush it, and allocate the correct people to be in charge of what’s published.

 

Conclusion

Founders looking to take on Google’s Startup School will be in a great position to accommodate online trends, adopt new technologies and tackle customer behaviours’ that have appeared on the other side of the pandemic.

The pandemic has accelerated some of the biggest changes witnessed in customer behaviour. Since 2020, 57% of consumers have admitted that they have changed the way they engage with businesses since the pandemic.

Startups may have an advantageous position due to the l they can adopt new strategies at a faster pace compared to big corporations. In 2022, startups should be adapting a multi-channel customer service strategy early, to promote a brand image that meets modern customer demands.