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At the onset, let’s understand that Real-time support is no longer a luxury, it is an expectation. 

Consumer patience is getting shorter and if you snooze, you truly lose! Not only the current dispute or squabble, but possibly the prospect of sales, now or forever. Though your product or service may be exceptional and one of its kind, it is still more expensive to make a new customer than retain an existing one. 

So, what do quick real-time responses do? 

Of course, they keep your customers happy. But more importantly, they encourage them to enquire further. This organically leads to deeper customer engagement and triggers them to convert into long term customers or those who may be willing to pay more with time. Which is why rapid real time resolutions from your customer support team holds the potential to convert into profitable revenue drivers. 

Related blog: Why Timely Responses Should Be a Priority For Your Contact Centre

What is Real-Time Customer Support?

The origin of real-time responses do not necessarily lie in modern technology-led times. Every customer that has ever shopped in a store is used to being catered and attended to, right then and there. The traditional brick and mortar business model was all in real-time if you truly analyze it. A buyer selects, compares, enquires and purchases, all one after the other in true real time. 

So, when we speak about real-time customer support, just like a live interaction, it needs to be personal, simplified and instant. The most obvious method of real-time support is over the phone. Today, this has developed into audio and video calling. Human plus AI live chat outsourcing is another popular real-time support channel that is favoured by a large percentage of consumers. 

Another popular trend of real time support is via social media. A good customer support company should be able to interact with your customers via post threads and private messaging, depending on where the queries appear.  The quicker you respond, the better are your chances of nipping any dispute in the bud. 

Incidentally, an omnichannel system enables up-to-date and informed real time responses, that take into consideration every piece of communication sent by a particular customer. For example, imagine that a customer sends an elaborate email on a particular issue and then decides to follow up with a chat message. An agent operating via a unified omnichannel set-up, will be aware of any issues expressed via the email and additional queries sent in the latest chat messages, to be able to respond accordingly.  

This level of expertise leads to an amazing customer experience and is guaranteed to result in a long term engagement and sales.

Real time touch points across the customer journey 

Initial responses under 5 minutes are considered to be a good response time. After which, the customer expects a steady flow of communication till resolution. 

But apart from being quick, it is important to offer instant assistance across the customer journey. This begins with the signing up, onboarding process, purchase, payment and continues much after the product is delivered to the consumer.  Assistance with refunds, exchanges and add on product suggestions via real time support channels is a vital component of real time support.

New customers tend to need more attention. Once they receive it, the process begins – further questions, better engagement, product trials, and finally conversion and retention. 

Real-time Customer Data

A top differentiator that separates a winning real time support mechanism with a struggling one is the ability to collate and sort customer data in real time and hence, respond to it, in real time. 

If you are not informed, it makes it impossible to offer real time assistance. 

Data is great but can you filter, assess, compare with historical facts and then act on it within minutes? 

Here are some characteristics of right data collection for real-time customer support:

1) Context is important

By this, we mean that truly accurate data is a mix of current and historical information. A unified customer data platform can collect data from various sources and compare it for more realistic, long term solutions. 

2) Don’t ignore social media

Social platforms offer deep insight into current consumer moods, preferences, events, habits and behaviour.  Apart from offering proactive support, they are also ideal in directing which products to push, when and how far.  These insights can also assist in planning your brand and marketing activities. 

Also read: How Does First Call Resolution Enhance Your Brand Image

3) Don’t delay

Once you have the data, there is no point in waiting. If you don’t provide the support, someone else will. It’s a competitive cut throat environment indeed and those who can keep up with constructive timely responses will succeed.

4) Get smart

Create a predictive, holistic real time support strategy. It should be able to anticipate your customers’ issues and preferences for unsurpassed CX. 

How should your real time support make your customers feel?

Acknowledged – When a customer reaches out to your brand, he or she needs to know that you are aware of their communication and presence. Often, automated responses are utilised to greet a customer’s first connection. The trick is in knowing when to switch to humanized responses. Short welcome emails following purchases are also a good way to acknowledge your customers. 

Special yet individualistic – Almost every customer today knows the difference between an automated response and a human one. Addressing customers in a personalised manner has many positive effects. But most of all, it makes them feel special and worthy enough to be addressed by another human.  

Valuable – Real time responses project that we are here, we are listening and you matter to us. Whether you’re a massive corporation or a fresh Startup, your customers want the same thing – to feel valued and cared for. Sales are secondary. 

We are living in times that allow us to match consumer expectations using data and technology.  It is however your brand that needs to develop a personal connection across its positioning, marketing and support channels., in a cohesive manner.  No one aspect can function in isolation. But together, they are equipped to grow your revenue. 

If you need to know how to combine your real-time support with your current marketing, contact us today. 

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