Customer Management

What Is Multichannel Customer Support? Benefits and Challenges

Content Writer
February 5, 2024

Here’s a hard truth: a staggering 93% of customers have a clear message for businesses—they want customer support tailored to their preferences. What does this mean?

Well, they're not just looking for assistance; they're willing to spend more with companies that offer support through their preferred channels.

Now, these channels can be as diverse as the customers themselves—ranging from traditional web forms and emails to more modern platforms like Slack and social media. So, in response to this growing demand for personalized support, companies are increasingly adopting multichannel customer service strategies.

Without embracing this shift, there's a real risk of losing valuable customers.

So, what exactly is multichannel customer support? What are its advantages, and where does it face challenges? Is it the optimal solution for modern businesses?

Stick with us as we explore these questions and provide the insights you need.

What is multichannel support?

In a nutshell, multichannel support refers to the practice of providing customer assistance through various communication channels. This strategy encompasses a mix of direct and indirect contact options, including email, live chat, social media, messaging apps, and self-service portals. The goal is to meet customers where they are, offering support in a way that’s most convenient and preferred by them.

Examples of multichannel customer support

In practice, multichannel support might look something like the following scenario.

Imagine you are a SaaS company that offers project management solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises. You utilize the following channels to provide support:

  • Email: This channel is used for detailed inquiries, troubleshooting, and feedback, allowing for comprehensive conversations and documentation of interactions.
  • Live chat: Integrated directly into your SaaS platform, live chat offers instant assistance during business hours, facilitating quick responses to operational questions.
  • Slack Connect: A dedicated channel for each client within the Slack workspace, enabling fast communication, request management, and updates.
  • Self-service portal: A comprehensive knowledge base that includes articles, video tutorials, and FAQs for DIY troubleshooting and learning, accessible 24/7.

These varied channels offer multiple ways for your customers to reach you, enabling your clients to choose the mode of communication that best suits their preferences.

Advantages of multichannel customer support

As we just mentioned, multichannel customer support is what’s expected. If you care about cohesive and positive customer experience, providing multichannel support is not a choice.

There are other benefits to multichannel customer service. Let’s take a look at some:

Increased sales and revenue

A positive customer service experience can directly impact sales. One study found that 58% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Multichannel support can be a key factor in providing this superior experience.

Customer retention and lifetime value

Furthermore, multichannel support enhances customer retention by providing more touchpoints for engagement, resolving issues efficiently, and meeting customers on their preferred platforms. Happy customers are more likely to remain loyal, increasing their lifetime value to the company. Studies have shown that improving customer retention by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.

Proactive service opportunities

Multichannel support isn't just reactive; it allows businesses to be proactive in addressing customer needs. For example, noticing a trend in inquiries about a specific issue on social media can prompt a company to create and distribute helpful content across channels, preventing future inquiries and demonstrating attentiveness to customer needs.

Operational efficiency

Lastly, with the right tools, multichannel support can streamline customer service operations. Automated responses, chatbots, and self-service options can handle routine inquiries, freeing up human agents to tackle more complex issues. This can lead to faster resolution times and reduced operational costs.

But there are some challenges, too

While multichannel support offers numerous benefits, it also comes with its own set of challenges that businesses need to navigate carefully:

Integration and coordination

Seamlessly integrating various support channels demands substantial effort and investment in technology. Without effective integration, customer information may end up isolated in silos, resulting in fragmented customer experiences and operational inefficiencies. This issue frequently arises in companies offering multichannel support, as opposed to omnichannel customer support, because the former often fails to consolidate data across all channels.

Measuring performance

Siloed channels and data make tracking performance and measuring customer satisfaction across multiple channels difficult, too.

For this reason, businesses need to implement comprehensive analytics and reporting tools to gain insights into customer interactions and the effectiveness of their support strategies. This might require additional financial resources and human capital to ensure you can derive valuable insights from multiple sources.

Risk of channel overload

Lastly, spreading your support across various channels might create a scenario where the influx of customer inquiries surpasses what your team can handle. It's tricky to pinpoint exactly which channels will be in high demand at any given moment.

Getting caught off guard by unexpected spikes in queries is a headache for your business. And, it's also a letdown for your customers. When they can't get through to you or face delays in responses, their experience takes a hit. No one wants to feel left hanging, especially when they need support the most.

What’s next?

When your customers have a problem, they expect you to be available on multiple channels to help them out. That said, having multiple channels might not be that good after all if none of the data from these channels gets centralized.

If you’re forcing your customers to repeat information every time they speak to somebody via email or live chat, they aren’t going to be happy with this. Equally important are the insights you can draw from customer interactions. With multiple channels that don’t speak to each other, you can’t run an effective customer service department.  This is precisely where the beauty of omnichannel customer support shines through.

It allows you to be present across your customers' preferred channels while offering a unified view of data. This approach streamlines the management and analysis of customer interactions, ensuring a smooth, personalized experience. Ultimately, omnichannel support enhances customer satisfaction and fosters loyalty by making every interaction count.

Are you a B2B business looking for a user-friendly solution to provide your omnichannel customer support? Thena might be the tool you need.

‍Thena is a B2B customer engagement solution designed to help businesses provide omnichannel customer support through Slack, offering a comprehensive solution for managing customer interactions across various channels such as Slack, email, and web chat.

Our tool uses AI to identify customer requests and prioritize messages in Slack, ensuring you never miss an important request with smart notifications. It seamlessly connects with popular ticketing systems and CRM tools, transforming conversations into tickets for better tracking. The best part is that it organizes all the important customer service data, allowing you to make business decisions with confidence.

‍Want to see how it works? Schedule a free demo today.

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