The 5 Essential Support Channels for Your Business

support channels

Soon after you make your first sale, you’re guaranteed to have a buyer with a question or an issue they need help solving. The tricky part is deciding where you’ll meet your clients and the way you’ll support them if you get there. When beginning out, some support channels for your business are manageable without the need for additional tools or process. Arrange an email address. Reserve an enterprise phone number. Create social media accounts. Now, you can now accept incoming messages through email, phone, and social without including any tools to your repertoire.

But your incoming customer support workload will eventually develop, and your team could develop with it. At that point, you’ll need a deliberate strategy, and a more potent set of tools, to make sure you maintain your support standards high and your response times reasonably low. Let’s run via the most common support channels for your business, tips for getting began on them, and the tools to consider using to make it simpler to handle along the way.

1. Email: Provide fast, asynchronous support

When you select just one channel to support your clients, this should most likely be it, email is one of the best support channels for your business. People are already comfortable sending emails to get help, and many consumers expect an online store to have an email address or contact form on their website.

Email is also asynchronous, and comparatively simple to handle versus live support channels for your business where somebody on your team has to be present and solve issues in real-time. Your ability to set reasonable expectations is an additional advantage: When you take a few hours to reply to incoming emails or don’t reply to messages on weekends, including a note on your contact page can establish that before clients get in touch.

On the measurement front, the record of discussion available with email allows you to conduct a fairly simple health check for buyer happiness because it’s simple to ask for feedback and maintain track of your conversations.

The last benefit is that beginning with email is as easy as opening up a new inbox. While there are several nice tools for managing a queue of emails, when you’re a small enterprise with one person handling support, replying from a standard inbox is usually plenty to get began.

Tools for email support

When you outgrow a single inbox—usually because of volume or as a result of your team is struggling to collaborate in one shared space—you’ll need to improve to a help desk tool or equivalent to organize, assign, and track incoming emails.

  • Zendesk SupportZendesk is utilized by many large support teams, so it could easily scale with your enterprise. It has products for email, as well as phone, chat, and social media. It’s an excellent solution for those who’re looking to handle several support channels for your business in one workspace.
  • Gorgias: Like Zendesk, Gorgias additionally includes support for email, chat, phone, and social media all in one dashboard. The Shopify integration permits you to view, cancel, and refund order details right in the app.
  • xSellco: With xSellco you may mix buyer queries from several sources, including Shopify, Amazon, eBay, and more. Buyer details, including their orders and delivery info, are built into each message.

2. Help content: Equip your customers with answers

When clients contact you it’s often because something went wrong or they’re unable to seek out the information they want. Equipping your clients with the right info, and making it simple to seek out, actually helps them change into “better” clients, long before they reach your support inbox.

So before the questions begin rolling in, take the time to create an FAQ page or other support documentation that shares your basic policies and answers the questions most likely to be asked. It will save you valuable time in the long run, as you won’t end up responding to questions that clients would have been happy to figure out on their own. Keep in mind that for many questions, clients don’t want to contact you because the problem is minor and self-service is faster.

Your help content material should develop and change as your store evolves and provides new merchandise. Make sure to stay on top of updating the information there, because it’s better not to give details on something than to confuse and frustrate people with the wrong info. To this end, be careful of not including help content material too liberally, as every answer offered becomes something you eventually have to maintain—otherwise, the answer could become out of date.

For inspiration, check out the MeUndies FAQ page. From the search at the top to the organized display of the most popular questions, it’s a fantastic instance of the way to provide self-service assist content. Be aware of the information at the bottom of the page too: They’ve included methods to achieve their group if the client needs more help, and the hours they’re available are listed right there too.

Example of help content and FAQ page.

When you haven’t been open quite long enough to reply “frequent” questions, consider proactively offering answers around these key areas:

  • Billing
  • Order processing
  • Shipping
  • Returns
  • Customer accounts

In case your services or products have any particular instructions that might be helpful for a buyer to know, include those too.

Tools for creating help content

Unless your documentation is extensive, a particular instrument is probably not crucial. Create a page in your Shopify retailer and begin writing. As your assist content material grows, you may break it up over separate pages and add a desk of contents to assist people to navigate to the knowledge they want or think about using a tool that’ll permit you to create a neat, organized accordion-style FAQ page.

  • EasySlide: Installs automatically and features lots of customization choices.
  • FAQ: Similar to EasySlide. Beyond easy text answers, you may also add photos and videos.

3. Phone support: Provide a direct line to your business

For some companies, offering phone support is a good way to go. Many customers still like phone calls for urgent, time-sensitive issues. And when you sell merchandise at a high value, your clients will likely need to reach you by phone if something goes wrong.

When you’re able, set up a phone number where they could reach you directly or leave a voicemail so you may return their call. Although the phone line can stay on all the time, it’s rare that clients expect 24/7 phone access to a small enterprise. When you’re not able to answer the phone around the clock, provide limited hours and post the hours of operation clearly so clients know what to expect. When you go this route, when phone support is not active, remind clients of the other methods they can reach you, too.

Tools for phone support

Whenever you’re just starting out, offering buyer support over the phone could be as simple as getting a phone number through Google Voice and having one person answer the calls and check voicemails as needed. For more options as your phone help grows, consider one of the following tools:

  • YouMail: Like Google Voice, YouMail creates a phone number with voicemail, and consists of visual voicemail. With the low-cost professional plan, you may set up an auto-reply to respond to missed calls immediately, route calls to other lines, and more.
  • Aircall: Aircall won’t only help with the logistics of having a phone line by permitting unlimited inbound calls, however, it could also queue calls, route calls between phone agents, and track team performance. Plus, Aircall integrates with others tools you could be utilizing like Slack, Intercom, Zendesk, and Zoho.

4. Live chat: Fix customer issues in real-time

Live chat is a fantastic method to offer quick, simply accessible support to your current and potential clients. As you consider launching live chat, think about where you need clients to access chat and what you’re hoping to accomplish with it.

You might want to invite potential clients who’re browsing, however, haven’t finished an order to begin a live chat conversation or allow live chat for customers after they’ve made a purchase to help rapidly resolve any issues.

Example of live chat on a homepage.

Bellroy gives live chat on their homepage to help clients locate exactly what they want. They’ve additionally opted to show a “typically replies in”time-based on historical data—this may help reassure clients that somebody will be with them soon to lend a hand, however, that a reply might not be instant.

Beyond who can access live chat, think about when it needs to be available. It doesn’t have to be around the clock. You may set hours to open live chat and post those on your site so your clients know when they’ll find you there. Alternatively, you can provide live chat based on your highest-traffic times, like during a promotion or immediately after sending an email to your list.

Tools for live chat support

There are an ever-increasing number chat and messaging tools out there, so for ease of setup and use, we’ve included two top choices that combine with Shopify here, and you may search the Shopify App Store for all of the chat integration choices available.

  • Olark: Olark is quick to install, has a free trial, and features a low-cost plan choice. You may customize the chat widget appearance, pick and select which pages live chat is available, store pre-written responses, and more.
  • Tidio: Tidio installs on your website in 20 seconds and features a free plan. It has choices for automatic messages, an offline contact kind, multi-language support, and more.

5. Social media: Support your customers in public

Social support differs from the other channels in one fundamental method: It’s visible to anybody who needs to see it. Every interaction with a customer over social is an opportunity to show people who you’re, and that can make or break a potential relationship with each person who comes across the conversation.

You probably can’t cover every social media platform, so a great way to narrow your choices is to support current clients where you’ll already be marketing to future clients. To decide, make sure you not only consider which channels you need to spend time on but also which ones your clients like the most.

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