The Importance of Integrated Customer Service
Brands are everywhere. In addition to the traditional customer service hotline, brands also offer other customer service channels such as email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and others. Meaning not only brands have more platforms to deliver content but also more channels for consumers to get in touch. However, a common mistake many brands make with their abundance of platforms is an “extensive but shallow” strategy, which ultimately makes the communication not more convenient, but on the contrary, frustrating for consumers.
Imagine, when we reach out to a brand with a query and are left on hold forever on the phone, or Facebook message that is left unread for one week, what do we usually do? Many will try another platform, trying to seek the fastest route to an answer. Sometimes we get told, “we are a separate business from them”, hence any problem with an online purchase, will not get any help from the physical stores. In other cases, once the shipment is in the delivery vendor’s hand, whoever sells them has zero control over the timing of the delivery or any problem that comes with it. Sometimes even the answer given via Facebook is invalidated by the call center because “they are just the social team”.
One thing that brands should constantly keep in mind is that customers don’t see your business the way you see it yourself. Different departments, internal or outsourced, are irrelevant to the people who pay for your product or service. So, despite the reality of the logistics, better control over the whole distribution network, and quality control over all vendors – be it shipment or social platforms – are vital for providing satisfactory integrated customer service. Slow responses, inconsistency, or communication that can be taken as pushing away responsibilities, besides potentially breaching consumer protection regulations, will generally harm the consumer’s appreciation for a brand.
Why is this interesting?
Ultimately, customer satisfaction impacts loyalty towards a brand. In today’s reality of a more chaotic customer journey, it may be challenging for brands to deliver positive customer engagement throughout all their touchpoints.
Understanding each component of the purchase journey and how important each component is for different customer profiles is key.