In today’s competitive business landscape, providing exceptional customer service has become increasingly important to the success of any small business. From the early days of telephone support to the adoption of innovative technologies like Live Chat and the ConvertMore callback widget, customer support has come a long way. In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of customer support. Consequently, we will dive deeper into the role of these tools in helping emerging businesses succeed, along with the advantages and drawbacks associated with their use. So, let’s begin!
The importance of customer support for small business sales success
According to research published by HubSpot, 93% of customers are more likely to give their money to a company that prides itself on delivering exceptional customer service. At the same time, companies that routinely mistreat their clientele will find it challenging to retain them, let alone further expand. That’s why we cannot neglect the importance of adequate customer support! As a small business, you may not constantly have the steady resources to attract new customers. However, you may have what it takes to keep your current ones happy — customer support-wise. The more comfortable they are, the more value they will bring. After all, satisfied customers are like walking billboards – spreading the good word about your business left and right without the added cost of investing in one.
When employees go above and beyond what is expected of them, it is clear to customers that they are dealing with a company that cares about their satisfaction. But if it were that easy, why do businesses fail to provide adequate support experience? Well, mainly because their leaders are motivated by nothing but sheer greed. Their primary goal is to generate profit, and they don’t care how they do it or how their clientele feels. However, they don’t realize that not paying attention to their customers is the recipe for failure. They would be much better off showing them the appreciation they deserve.
The evolution of customer support: early customer support channels in sales
Over the years, customer support has drastically changed. It continues to adjust to this very day, or rather improve. While the methods once used are still in use, modern, better means of support have emerged. With that in mind, the following section aims to take you down memory lane and introduce you to how today’s customer support came to be!
Before the emergence of contemporary support channels, there was old-fashioned phone support. Although most businesses today view it as an antiqued customer service form, phones are still in use. The personalization factor associated with them is hard to match. And if we are being sincere, telephone assistance is the next best thing to face-to-face conversation. It makes it simpler for the agent to interpret the customer’s emotions and, thus, reduce miscommunications. Furthermore, those who aren’t tech-savvy may prefer calling a customer service representative instead of navigating through complex menus on the company website.
The advantage phone support has over email is real-time assistance. But that’s not to say that email support has no advantages. Many customers prefer reaching out over email simply because they are too busy to wait for an agent to pick up and then engage in a lengthy conversation with them. They would much rather check their emails at their own convenience, and the thought of their problem not being solved immediately seems like a fair price.
Social media support
And that brings us to the newest of the three channels: social media. While not all companies immediately think of platforms like Facebook or Twitter as a way to communicate with their customers, they are indeed untapped resources that businesses should better look at if their goal is to boost website sales. Those that don’t do so risk having higher churn rates, as even reports published by Invesp suggest that 33% of customers prefer doing business with companies with a solid customer support presence on these mediums.
Advantages and limitations of early customer support channels
No channel is the same, meaning it doesn’t offer the same benefits to all customers. While the pros of using them all prevail, they each come with limitations that, if used individually, can wreak havoc on your business. With that in mind, let us first introduce you to the good things they may bring:
- Personalization. This is especially true for phone and social media channels. They allow for a more personalized connection. By engaging with customers in real-time, agents can better grasp their emotions. As a result, interactions flow more naturally, which helps foster better relationships with clients and provides them a better experience.
- Ease of use. Anyone with a phone can get in touch with customer support. All it takes to get a phone number is a simple Google search. Similarly, reaching out over social media requires just a few clicks/swipes. Company email addresses should also be easy to obtain. Reputable companies typically include them within their Google My Business (GMB) profiles, although one should be able to find them on their websites and socials.
- Easy-to-track metrics. Since agents cannot handle multiple inquiries simultaneously, early support channels essentially allow for easier metrics tracking.
Of course, not everything is perfect, including these types of support. In that name, the following are the disadvantages of providing support through phone, email, and/or social media.
- Cost. Companies providing support across different mediums have higher prices to worry about. Those associated with employee training, software to make it all possible, and also costs of hiring additional staff.
- Time. Specific interactions can last for hours. Customers can hold agents on the line or continue messaging them. At the same time, they may send multiple emails, resulting in queries that seemingly have no end.
- They may ruin the reputation. This stands especially true for social media, although unsatisfied clientele can drag brands through the mud regardless of the channel they reach out on. Social media has made it possible for everyone to express themselves. That said, should representatives fail to address customers’ concerns adequately, the chances of them spreading the negative word about the business increase.
The emergence of Live Chat for sales
Tracing the evolution of customer support, we have now come to Live Chat – one of its newest forms. At the time of its release in 2002, everyone was skeptical about it. People were still relying primarily on phone support, with few individuals reaching out over email. As a result, businesses regarded it as something that was not worth the effort, let alone the cost. Fast forward to 2023, Live Chat has been considered one of the primary support means.
How Live Chat works
Live Chat is a tool that focuses on written correspondence. It connects customers with representatives in real-time, allowing for a faster resolution. This tool is usually embedded on the website as a pop-up widget, which connects visitors with agents once they click on it and type in their query within the chat window.
Benefits of Live Chat for small business sales
There are multiple benefits the implementation of the Live Chat feature can bring to your small business. Let’s mention a few!
#1 Improved lead generation
If you were wondering how to increase user engagement on website, Live Chat might hold the answer. Lead generation is a sore spot for businesses with high site traffic. After all, what good are all those visits if none of them leads to a sale? That said, how does Live Chat aid the process of generating prospects? Well, by increasing interactions and boosting engagement.
#2 Increased conversion rates
Live Chat helps you sell. It’s that simple. According to data published by Forrester, prospects that reach out through this medium are 2.8 times more likely to become actual customers than those that don’t. Its ease of use and convenience make getting answers rather straightforward, thus shortening the sales process.
#3 Real-time sales assistance
By using Live Chat, existing customers, and hopefully those soon-to-be, can have their queries solved in real-time. They don’t have to wait for an email to arrive for days just because there’s a queue to clean out.
Challenges of Live Chat Implementation
Of course, not everything about Live Chat is perfect. Some of the common challenges associated with it are listed below.
#1 Staffing requirements
Depending on the business’s popularity and the number of chats coming into the queue, hiring additional staff might be necessary. There are only so many chats a few individuals can handle.
#2 Limited availability
Certain businesses offer 24/7 chat support. In most cases, however, Live Chat operates under a strict schedule. That means those trying to reach out during off hours won’t be able to do so.
#3 Potential missed opportunities
The remainder is put on hold if there are more chats than representatives can handle. Wait times can vary from a couple of minutes to hours! Someone looking to purchase after getting several answers might get discouraged to do so, having been kept on hold for such a long time, resulting in the business missing out on a conversion.
The evolution of customer support: The rise of CallBack Widgets in sales
The wonderful thing about the evolution of customer support is that it brought us the CallBack widgets. CallBack widgets are, much like Live Chat, embedded on the company website. Only they don’t let the customer do most of the work.
How CallBack widgets work
CallBack widgets rely on the premise that a customer would click on them. Once they do, they are given a form requiring them to fill in their phone number. Then, the software places an automatic call to the company while calling the customer simultaneously, making it seem as if the company is the one to call. Once both parties answer, the connection is established, and the call continues as usual.
Advantages of CallBack Widgets over Live Chat
Most businesses today consider Live Chat an excellent customer support tool. However, many don’t know that CallBack Widgets are superior to the latter in several situations. Let’s investigate which ones!
#1 Better lead capture
The primary role of CallBack tools is to initiate calls, but that is not all they are good at. They provide valuable data that businesses can use to capture leads. In addition to the phone numbers that customers need to leave, companies may also get their email addresses. On the other hand, it’s common for people using Live Chat to provide useless fake email addresses.
#2 Faster response times
Everyone types slower than they talk. With a CallBack, customers don’t need to wait for a response to get their answers.
#3 Personalized sales approach
Written words will never be able to convey emotions like spoken ones. While conversing over the phone, reps can listen to the customer’s voice. By doing so, they can understand how they feel and, thus, adjust the sales talk to fit them. Each call is unique, which, as a result, fosters better relationships and builds trust.
#4 Enhanced lead nurturing
Not all prospects are ready to buy the second a CallBack widget establishes the call. And that’s ok. Some require more effort to get converted, known as lead nurturing. With a CallBack tool, businesses can schedule sales phone calls. Yes, multiple calls, not just one. In the meantime, representatives can gather more information on prospects to appeal to their interests and, thus, close the sale.
#5 Streamlined sales process
The Callback widgets simplify the entire sales process, from lead generation to conversion. Businesses can get prospect information without much effort, which leads to faster sales. But it’s not only businesses that benefit from CallBack implementation. It’s the customers, as well! They can get what they need with only a few clicks. Yet, they don’t have to wait for a reply.
Best practices for using CallBack Widgets in sales
To reap the full benefits of the CallBack feature, businesses need to employ the best practices for using it. These include sales staff training. It’s necessary to get employees acquainted with the notion of CallBack widgets. Explain how the tool works, what options it has, and what benefits it brings. Discuss the situations they can use it in, but remember that it’s also vital to role-play them to demonstrate the tool in action. Once the representatives become familiar with the CallBack widget, have them use it. Of course, as technology develops, you’ll need to provide subsequent training.
A system for tracking metrics is a standard component of CallBack software. Ones that businesses can use to measure sales success and, thus, adjust their strategies accordingly. This data can help them identify patterns, analyze abandonment rates, and optimize resources.
Now that you understand the evolution of customer support, you understand how we have come from Live Chat to CallBack widgets. We hope you also understand why this tool can be a game-changer for your business. The decision of whether to implement it or not is solely yours. But know that if you do so, you’ll surely be able to create a successful and lasting customer experience.
Redbord, M. (2022, June 24). The Hard Truth About Acquisition Costs (and How Your Customers Can Save You). https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-acquisition-study?__hstc=238111519.5250f99ddf7008ac109f18643683df4f.1680468957837.1680468957837.1680564050771.2&__hssc=238111519.1.1680564050771&__hsfp=2393286400
Leggett, K. (2020, August 31). Retailers Without Chat: A Missed Opportunity. Forrester. https://www.forrester.com/blogs/retailers-without-chat-a-missed-opportunity/#:~:text=On%20the%20sales%20front%2C%20Forrester,chats%20will%20spend%2060%25%20more
Ross, L. (2022, April 18). The State of Social Media Customer Support – Statistics and Trends. . . Invesp. https://www.invespcro.com/blog/social-media-customer-support/
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