Article | 3 min read

Multi-channel customer service, made-to-order

By Suzanne Barnecut

Last updated June 1, 2017


“People remember how you make them feel,” said restaurateur Danny Meyer at a retail trade show earlier this year. Your product has to be great—but so, too, does your hospitality. Meyer urged retailers in the food industry to try offering less and make what they do offer, better. Including their service.

In fact, for so many restaurant chains, service is the only thing that differentiates the experience from location to location. Without great service, the experience stops feeling special and customers don’t feel valued.

Put yourself in a multi-channel mindset

We may not all be in the restaurant business but across industries, we share a commitment to providing great customer service. A key ingredient to great service is to offer customers an opportunity to connect with your business on the right channels. This is where companies sometimes bite off more than they can chew, however.

For many years now, businesses have been pressed to offer multi-channel customer service and to meet customers in every possible channel. This is commendable, but trying to be everything to everyone can water down your service efforts when not properly executed. Without appropriate staffing, service managers run the risk of spreading their team thin or slowing productivity by forcing agents to move between tools. It also becomes easy to lose sight of customer inquiries as customers move from social media to email to the phone.

So, adopting a multi-channel mindset isn’t about adopting every channel. Instead, it’s about thinking through the right support channels for your customers, whatever those might be, and providing the best service you can through those channels. (And only those channels.)

Choose the right channel mix

Choosing the right channels for your business is just as important as providing great support through those channels. In our new guide, Multi-channel support made-to-order with Zendesk, we consider channel selection in terms of context, convenience, and issue complexity.

How easy it is for customers to access each channel you offer? When are your customers most likely to contact support? What types of issues do they most frequently have, and how urgent are those issues? Could they be handled by a self-service offering that customers can access anytime, or do customers need a way to connect with a live person, fast?

There’s yet another way to think about channel selection—what are your service goals? If you’re trying to raise your org’s customer satisfaction, for example, are you offering the channels that typically rank highest in customer satisfaction?

Food for thought

Also paramount to great multi-channel customer service is ensuring that your tools aren’t getting in the way of your success. Multi-channel support relies on your ability to see when customers have contacted you in one more than way. That’s why the Zendesk product family was designed to work seamlessly together. Zendesk Support functions as a central ticketing hub and you can easily turn other channels on and off as you need, but always retain the customer’s support record.

When agents can focus on the channels that make the most sense, and work from a single toolset, they can respond to customers quickly and without having to request duplicate information. This leaves everyone, in turn, feeling more satisfied.