Whether you run your business online or offline, customer service is (and always has been!) an essential component that contributes to success. How do you keep customers happy? How do you ensure that all customers have an opportunity to reach out to you with any questions, concerns, or issues? In truth, technology has made this much easier in recent years and it’s eliminated the need for hand-written letters. However, which should you be choosing between email and messenger?
Email - When electronic mail burst onto the scene in the 1990s, we couldn't believe our luck. What is this magic that we could now send mail electronically without even leaving the house? Of course, we would normally follow the email up with a phone call just to make sure they received it as expected but the system kicked off what would be more than two decades filled with technological advancements.
Even today, email remains valuable because it’s an improved system of the snail mail system we relied upon for so long. If customers have questions or need assistance, they can send your store an email for you to reply as soon as possible. With an email, they can write it in their own time and send it regardless of time zones and whether or not you’re open for business. Once the email is sent, they feel confident a reply is just around the corner.
For many years, this was an efficient system but the needs of the consumer are quickly changing. While it was enough to send an email in years gone by, consumers are now looking for quicker resolutions and this is coming with the likes of live chat and messenger.
Messenger - As long as you have the team to deal with the messages that come your way, messenger can be a great way to deal with customers. Firstly, it allows for an instant reply and this benefits both you and the customer. Not only can you ease concerns and push sales through faster, customers are getting the service they need efficiently.
What’s more, messenger also allows customers to see when the message has been opened and this is another key factor as to why more businesses are choosing this route. If you’ve looked at the message and not sent a reply, this isn't going to look good for your business and the customer will take their question (and their money!) elsewhere. However, we assume you want to help customers wherever possible which eliminates this issue somewhat.
Despite all the positives, messenger does have its drawbacks and this starts with the fact that not all your customers will have access to it. In addition to this, it doesn’t allow for attachments and this is one of the biggest negatives of all. Of course, pictures and videos can be sent with the messages but this doesn’t help with documents and more complex queries. With an email, customers can attach whatever files they wish without it becoming a messy affair. What’s more, they can take their time to compose a message and ensure everything is in place before hitting the ‘Send’ button.
Which Is Best? - Ultimately, this isn't an answer we can provide because there are many considerations you need to make before deciding on one. For example, which is going to be the better solution for your customers? Are the majority of interactions short or long? Do you have the staffing to reply to messenger interactions quickly? If most of the interactions you have are long-winded and you can’t support a messenger system, there’s little point in introducing it at all.
For many businesses, they find a use in combining the two so you don’t necessarily need to choose one or the other. When you become available on both messenger and email, you leave it up to the customer to decide and this is always going to gain popularity for your brand. As long as you consider your business when making the decision, and only your business, then you’re placed perfectly to see what your customers need.
Also, don’t be afraid to assess what you have right now. If your customer service team has been working with emails for many years and everybody is happy with the system, there’s no need to change the formula!
"Targeting without technology is like Driving without Wheels”