Coming off of a brief beach vacation from work, I’m feeling pretty nautical. Of course, now that I’m back at my desk, I feel flooded by the tide of emails that have come into my inbox.
These days, providing great customer service for your business means being a contact center, not just a call center. This is achieved by using contact center software to provide multichannel accessibility to your customers through voice, chat, text, and social media. Your customers want to be able to access your business at their preference. Make sure that your contact center software solution offers multi-channel capabilities so that your customers can contact you through their preferred channels of communication. And, while the text channel could include SMS, it also means opening the channel of communication for email.
Email is just another way to describe a “text” communication channel. Customers who prefer email tend to be a little bit phone-shy. And that’s okay! We can all be a little shy at times, or maybe just dislike interactions on voice channels. Political Comedian Bill Maher joked in his HBO special that people are so used to the busy nature of mobile communication that it is almost shocking to speak live with a person rather than leave a voicemail or just communicate digitally. He jokes that it’s almost rude to pick up the phone because callers no longer expect it!
Of course, phone and voice interaction is still a welcome staple of the contact center industry, but some customers do prefer to engage in emails rather than
A contact center solution that incorporates and develops email as a channel of communication can really utilize it as an asset for building customer relationships. But what are some of the best uses of email in the contact center?
Email is versatile when it comes to timing. Customers can respond to emails on their own time, rather than feeling the pressure that comes from the immediacy of answering a voicemail. They may not perceive their interaction with your company as a pressing engagement, whether it's an email to schedule a sales call or they are emailing you about a service issue that isn’t necessarily urgent.
You also don’t have to schedule an email the way you do a phone call. So, if a customer or potential lead is busy, they won’t have to reserve time out of their day and can get a better grasp of the information that you are trying to relay.
Although it’s not pressing, email is also instantaneous. Unless there is an error, emails are sent the moment that your contact center representatives click send. The customer can get to it at their convenience and can reread as many times as they like.
Catch the email wave and you’ll be surfing on top of the world!
Email is also a great way to reach out to customers without being obtrusive. An email blast is a great way to send out a company newsletter or announcement of a sales promotion, without being pushy or in their faces about it.
Clearly no customer wants to feel rushed or bothered by a sales call. Email gives them to option to investigate your business in their own time after receiving an email. They’ll respond to you when they are ready to know more and curious to find out how your product or service is right for them, which means they will be coming to your contact center representatives as a more qualified lead.
The unobtrusiveness of email is more like a day floating in the pool, rather than catching waves in the ocean of phone interaction. Your customers can dip their toes in the water without being overwhelmed.
Staying in Touch
You can use email as a means to keep in touch with customers even when you have no pressing reason to engage with them. Send them habitual updates with limited frequency so that you’re still on their mind, but not competing for their time.
I like keeping sea shells in my glove box to remind me of good times at the shore almost as much as I like reminder emails. Out of the way and easily disposable, but there if I want to keep them.
Emails allow you to engage with customers in totally different ways than voice channels.
Like voicemail, emails can be saved and referred to over and over. However, emails can include links to content, video, and photos. Video and photos are shown to grab way more attention because they are visual means of communication. Include links for social sharing on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. to get customers further engaged. You should also include several links to your business’s website in your email formatting, just to make sure those customers and potential leads that want to connect further are able to.
All those little streams ultimately become rivers to the sea.
Fax is incredibly outdated at this point, but customers might need to send in a physical order form or wish to receive a printable copy of an invoice for their records. Email is the easy way to do this without being time-comsuming when you need to submit multiple pages. Plus, many email platforms can save vast amounts of history, so customers can save past emails for reference. Email ensures that you and your customer are seeing the same invoice visually and that it can be transmitted instantaneously for both digital and hard copy usage.
Sounds like email as a communication channel is smooth sailing for everyone involved!
If you want to make the most out of a multichannel software solution, then be a contact center, not just a call center. For full potency, utilize all channels of communication; voice, chat, text, social media, AND email!