Would you ditch phone support in your contact center?

For us in the contact center world, we know it’s expensive to run a full time phone support contact center. It’s even more expensive when that contact center is 24/7.

Phone support is a channel we’ve all known over the years and grown to hate. We’re stuck on long IVR menus, waiting to speak with a real human only to get another robot on the line. Even those with a call back feature are not always the most functional or efficient.

Tack on social media support, chat support, email support, video chat support and even support via SMS – there’s a multitude of channels to communicate. When it comes to support channels, it’s not about how many you have, it is more about how well you use the channels.

I’ve seen some companies have major “support channel FOMO”, enable any and every option on their website then provide less than stellar support on each one.

Customers don’t care about what goes on behind the scenes – they just want to communicate with someone and resolve their issue on a channel that fits conveniently into their lives.

I work for NumberBarn. We’re a phone number management startup. We help people port, park, find and forward phone numbers. We also have a cute pig as a mascot!

So instantly, you’d think we have phone support.

Nope, we don’t.

We’re honest and transparent with our customers on not offering phone support and simply say:

NumberBarn does not offer phone support so we can pass the savings on to our customers. It is extremely expensive to house and run a full-time call center. With our industry-low prices, we know after 16 years in the business, customers prefer to have the savings passed on to them.

About 99% of our customers, once they understand why we don’t offer phone support, are accepting and understanding.

So, how do we communicate with our customers?

  • Email
  • Chat
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

We’re a fun team of intelligent individuals who wear many (cowboy) hats. In fact, even the two co-founders and owners of the company do support tickets on a daily basis.

We may not have phone support, but what we do have, we do it well.

We strive to reply to customer emails within an hour during the weekdays and within 3 hours on weekends and holidays.

Chat support response time is within 5 seconds.

We showcase our brand voice on social media, replying to any direct messages or comments left from customers.

We’re not perfect, of course, we’re human! But we do our absolute best to ensure that our customers are supported. And, we have the feedback that proves we’re doing something right!

In this article from JoinRelate titled, Weaning customers off of the call center, they state:

Here’s the thing—phone support offers a great way to make a human connection. Chances are there are times or types of customer issues that would benefit from personal, human, one-on-one help. The question is: Is your business designing phone support around those scenarios or fielding expanding call volume because care in other channels isn’t up to the mark?

The article then discusses how having an omnichannel mindset could actually benefit your contact center and move interactions from phone to digital for quicker, seamless communication.

Would your contact center ever consider not doing phone support? If so, what would you do instead? Share with me in the comments or over on Twitter!

Jenny Dempsey is currently the the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. She has worked at tech startups since 2005. She's the co-founder and regular contributor over at CustomerServiceLife.com. She's a certified health coach, but not the kind that forces you to only eat cardboard and deprive yourself of ice cream. JennyDempseyWellness.com, the company she started, was designed to bring a new type of wellness into the workplace, one that gives you permission to look deeper into yourself, rather than just on the healthy snacks in the break room. She is the mother to a toothless rescue cat named Chompers. Avocados and veggie tacos are the way to her heart. She's also a Hanson fan for life.

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