💡 New report dropped: 2024 Customer Service Statistics. Grab this free ebook now.

How to excel at multichannel customer service

multichannel support featured image

Is your multichannel customer service all over the place?

Being on too many channels or noticing slower reply rates on some of them are common challenges you’ll come across.

We want you to run the best possible multichannel customer service process. So here are the best tips to help you improve your customer support game. Plus, we’re digging into how to use ticket filtering to focus on crucial information early on.

But let’s first clarify one thing…

What is multichannel customer service really?

Multichannel customer service is the process of using multiple distinct channels to deliver support services or information to customers. Keep in mind these channels aren’t limited to virtual ones like social media platforms or email as they can expand into the physical space as well.

A multichannel approach is best suited for businesses looking to increase the efficiency of their support services as well as lower their time-to-reply rate. Multichannel customer service also lets you deliver personalized support services, communications, and even marketing offers for every individual’s needs.

But why is multichannel customer service important?

The benefits of multichannel customer service expand beyond just the needs of your support team. 

On one hand, this approach leads to higher customer satisfaction, reduced call volumes, and an overall improved customer experience.

Besides higher retention rates and extra sales, implementing and managing multiple customer service channels means you’ll be present in more places. This increases your exposure to new audiences and can even strengthen your brand and thought leadership in the field. 

Omnichannel vs. multichannel customer service

multichannel vs omnichannel customer support

But just how is a multichannel approach different from an omnichannel one?

Here’s the clearest distinction between multichannel and omnichannel customer support.

Multichannel support refers to using multiple channels to offer customer assistance. Meanwhile, omnichannel support is a complex process. It provides an integrated experience across those channels to make sure support stays consistent.

Omnichannel customer service keeps conversations cohesive. You have a plan for each channel independently, but you’re also keeping all channels connected. 

This means all customer touchpoints will be synchronized. Customers can then switch between channels without having to explain their queries again. Agents also get access to previous conversations so they can solve issues faster and without the back-and-forths of multichannel support.

On the other hand, with multichannel customer support, you’re offering assistance on several channels such as your social networks, email, website live chat, and others. You have a dedicated plan to tackle support for each of these channels but you’re not keeping interactions connected. 

For instance, if a customer first reaches out to you via phone and you don’t reply, they might have to re-contact you through email. They’d have to go through the entire process all over again. Plus, if you’ve got multiple agents handling the tickets, there might be confusion or missing information between these channels.

How to improve your multichannel customer service

To get things right on all channels, here are our best tips for improving your multichannel customer support + a couple of insights from support experts.

Use ticket filtering to focus on what matters

Avoid getting lost in all your data or missing important tickets by narrowing down your options.

Kaizo’s ticket filtering allows you to filter out cases that don’t match your pre-set criteria, displaying only those tickets that do.

With this Tickets Funnel, you can specify the type of tickets that require QA attention and the number of evaluations per agent per week. You can choose to include resolved cases or ongoing conversations in the QA review. Additionally, you can narrow down the selection using filters such as tags, channels, and metrics.

By setting up these filters, you ensure that only relevant and significant tickets are reviewed, saving your QA experts time and effort. The filters help you focus on specific tags, channel groups, and preferred criteria, ensuring a targeted evaluation process. The system suggests tickets for QA rating based on the defined filters, including tickets that meet at least one of the selected metrics and values.

To broaden the selection, add more tags and channels or select a wider range for your chosen chat or experience metric.

In the following example, Annette would have 100 possible tickets to be QA evaluated with the currently selected filter. However, since the QA rating limit is set to 5, we will propose only 5 tickets out of the possible 100.

Ticket funnel setup in Kaizo

Read more on how you can validate your ticket funnel setup and make sure your filters will work for everyone.

Know when a channel is right for you

It’s important to note that channels are commonly picked based on customers’ preferences. For example, a person shopping online might want to simply get in touch with an agent via a live chat pop-up to quickly fix an issue in the shopping cart. Yet, you’ll want to consider your resources and goals when prioritizing which channels to focus on first. 

Here are some of the most common channels used for multichannel customer service:

  • Phone calls: People still rely on phone calls to get important issues fixed as soon as possible. 88% of people prefer speaking to a live customer service agent, so businesses are still offering this type of support. Particularly when selling products and services where quick fixes are a must (e.g. financial services, health consultancy). 
  • Email: Email gives customers an asynchronous way to contact your agents. This is best suited for situations where you want to share highly-detailed instructions with your customers but their request doesn’t require an immediate reply. 
  • Website chat: A must for any website as it allows customers to have an immediate conversation with an agent. Live chat apps are often used together with a sales team so a person with a pricing or demo-related question can be re-routed properly. 
  • Social media: Few businesses use social networks for support efforts right now. Yet, the companies that do (e.g. Twitter, Twitch, Riot Games) are a perfect example of how you can effectively use social to grow and even protect your brand. 

Nicole Bulman, Customer Support Leader, recommends making sure your customer service is consistent and smooth across all channels. This helps guarantee that your customers get awesome service no matter how they reach out to you:

multichannel customer support testimonial 1

She also notes how valuable it is for customer support teams to be proficient in handling interactions across various channels:

“Each member should be able to answer phone calls, work chats, monitor social media requests, or answer emails. By training your team to have the skills to work all of your support offerings, your customers will be saved from being transferred or redirected multiple times, which can be frustrating.”

Neal Travis, Customer Support & Admissions Manager at AIHR | Academy to Innovate, says that it’s important to ensure good collaboration and communication across all channels not only within teams but also the tools and systems:

multichannel customer support testimonial 2

Next steps

Make sure your support management software gives you a holistic view of all channels you’re using for customer service. This solution should allow you to monitor for quality and filter tickets from multiple channels at once. Note this tool and its functionalities should be fully customizable so they’ll work for each of your agents.

Try ticket filtering to narrow down your selection of tickets that are ready for QA. Focus on what matters most every step of the way. 

New call-to-action

Love this post? Join us for expert advice, battle-tested techniques, and inspiring support team stories

Try Kaizo on...