Twenty years ago, all a B2B company needed was an easy-to-find phone number and people to answer the phone, and the customer service strategy was solved.
Now, however, there are countless online and offline channels for prospects and customers to connect with a B2B company – email, social media, chatbots, and online contact forms, in addition to phone calls.
Visual Objects recently conducted a survey of more than 500 social media users from across the U.S. to discover how people contact businesses and found that businesses need to be reachable on a variety of mediums in order to have a successful customer service and inbound lead management strategy.
How Do People Prefer to Connect with a Brand or Business?
People rarely think to make a phone call when they want to contact a business. Now, most people prefer to contact a business online.
The top 5 channels people use to contact businesses are:
- Email (31 percent)
- Social media (21 percent)
- Contact form (19 percent)
- Phone call (16 percent)
- Chatbot (9 percent)
Technology has made it increasingly difficult for B2B companies to have a comprehensive customer service strategy. Today, businesses need to have people to not only answer phones but also to reply to emails, answer social media messages and comments, respond to contact form inquiries, and monitor chatbots.
How to Monitor Your Business’ Customer Service Channels
B2B companies must not only offer multiple channels of communication with customers, but they need to be responsive on all communication channels.
For example, if customers and prospects send a Facebook message to a business, they expect a response – and soon. They expect to have their questions answered quickly. If they don’t, they will likely go to your competitor, who may have better a customer service or sales team that responds promptly to inquiries.
In addition, it’s critical that companies understand their customers’ demographics. If a B2B firm’s target audience consists of mainly millennials of Gen Z, it must be active and responsive on social media. Similarly, businesses that target Gen X or Baby Boomers should make sure to pay close attention to contact form entries.
If a B2B firm offers a particular means of communication, it must be responsive. Why offer a contact form if someone’s request will sit unanswered for days? All B2B website form submissions must be answered within 24 hour business hours (or less).
To monitor your communication channels, make sure to have a dedicated employee for each channel and they clearly understand what is expected of their responses and response times. For many B2B firms, it’s not practical to designate a single employee for all customer service inquiries. Ideally, a company will have several team members monitoring each channel to ensure prompt, professional responses that let the prospect or customer know they are valued.
However, within the team, it’s OK to segment duties. For example, the employee in charge of social media should also be responsible for handling any social media comments, mentions, or messages. The employee who creates your business’ newsletter should also manage your business’ email inbox.
Having several employees each in charge of one method of communication ensures the employees can still focus on other tasks.
How you handle leads impacts revenue.
To monitor your customer service channels in a timely manner, make sure it becomes part of the employee’s day – if an employee is in charge of email, he or she should always have the inbox open during work; if an employee is in charge of social media, he or she can receive emails with every new social media notification or message; and if an employee is in charge of responding to contact forms, he or she can receive an email each time a customer fills one out.
It’s essential to make it easy for prospects and customers to reach your business. However, it’s pointless to have multiple means of communication if your business isn’t responsive.
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Kristen is a senior content writer and marketer at Clutch, a B2B research firm in the heart of Washington, D.C., and its sister website, The Manifest.