If I have to pick up the phone to do something with you, you’ve already lost. I know that’s not everyone, but it’s me. As a customer, any but the most dire/important/life-threatening transactions that require me to call you is already broken. There’s a 90% chance I’ve already told you this. You’ve probably spent untold hours of effort and precious budget optimizing a funnel to acquire me as a customer in the first place. Consider the level of frustration and hate that rises in me when during the interminable hold, you repeatedly tell me all the great things I can do if I only go to your website (bonus points for spelling out “WWW” in your address).
Now, of course, this is sarcasm and hyperbole, kind of. You can do quite well to steer customers to the right channel for help with their problems and inquiries. You also have to balance your resources against an often fluctuating and sometimes unpredictable demand (more on this in a future post). However, using what you know about your customers, and what only you know, is key to making each very glad to have you in their corner. Using communication and other channel preferences from your customers should be more than avoiding postage. This is an important data point to keep in your hip pocket and pull out at the opportune time to delight and create not just satisfaction but real advocacy for you.
But you have to ask and listen first and then empathetically leverage that knowledge. That information, combined with the context, informs the right action at the right time. This separates a relationship from just another transaction, no matter how much money is involved.