3 Rules For Respecting A Customer’s Support Channel Preference

multichannelIt’s pet peeve time!  There’s a company I frequently contact for support.  Given the nature of the issues and my busy schedule, I typically opt to send a quick email hoping for a simple response.  It’s never a time sensitive issue so I am fine with a delayed reply.

Without fail I receive a phone call in response within thirty minutes.  I continue to get peppered with phone calls and if I don’t call back, they close the ticket without so much as an attempt to resolve my issue via email.

I know I must sound awfully petty right now.  In a day and age where good customer service is difficult to come by, there are worse things than a company not respecting a customer’s channel preference, but here goes.  Unless I indicate otherwise, I expect a company to reply to me via the support channel I contacted them on!  

Now in customer service, the best way to stay on a customer’s good side is to understand and set clear expectations with them.  Escalations and service failures are almost always the result of unclear and/or unmet expectations.  This certainly goes for the way in which customers reach out to us for customer service.  I’d like to clear the air and share my simple rules for customer support channel preferences.

Rule #1- If a customer requests a call back, call them back–no questions asked! Regardless of the support channel a customer chooses, it’s essential to call them back if they ask for a call back.  No substitute will do.  If a timeframe is agreed upon for that call, it is critical to adhere to that.

Rule #2- It’s ok to switch channels for security reasons, but… Especially in the case of SMS, email or social media support, security is of the utmost importance.  You should never share sensitive account information via a public channel.  You should however tell the customer you will be switching channels on them so they know to expect contact from you on another channel.

Rule #3- Otherwise, stick with the current support channel!  It’s totally and completely ok if a customer contacts you via email, to reply via email.  This goes for all support channels.  If they are contacting you via a certain channel, reply via that channel unless they indicate otherwise.  If they want a phone call, they will tell you they want a phone call.

I am incredibly curious to find out what the customer service community thinks about this.  Does your company have a policy about customer support channel preference that differs from this?  Should I stop complaining and simply be grateful that I’m getting such a quick call back?  What is your channel of choice and why?  Please share your thoughts and ask all of your customer service friends to chime in as well.


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