Customers communicate with your company in a multitude of ways. Over the last 25 years more than 10 new forms of communication have launched, making it even easier for customers to communicate, but more difficult for businesses to stay up to date. Below is a brief timeline of the release of popular customer communication channels:
Similar to other forms of technology, the ways in which customers communicate with companies will continue to grow and change. The timeline above doesn’t even include all the variations of each technology, i.e. app chat, Apple business chat, Facebook messenger, IVR, bots, etc. As long as customers want to voice their feelings, concerns, and frustrations, it is the job of any company to ensure they have a platform to do it with.
With all these channels comes a ton of new data. New data that needs to be analyzed to better understand who your customers are, how they feel, and why they feel the way they do. The only way to truly answer these questions is to listen to all your customers across all channels. I don’t mean only your phone calls and chats, I mean every channel your customers talk with, at, or about your company. You can’t be selective when it comes to analyzing your customers by channel. All customers are important, and they may have different ways of communicating with you.
Imagine if I only listened to my wife in the family room and kitchen. Those are the rooms where we spend the majority of our time, and I would probably have a good understand of our conversations (similar to a company only reviewing calls, chats, and social); however, ignoring her in the dining room, bedroom, kids’ rooms, and backyard, would inevitably lead to serious communication problems.
I understand that phone, chat, and social data is extremely rich, accessible, and popular, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to ignore other customers. Some of your most valuable customers may be communicating with you through an obscure channel you don’t even know about. The web is a massive place and it may be difficult to find those channels, so I’m here to give you some starting points. Below is a list of some less talked about sites where customers passionately communicate with and about the companies in their lives.
Google Business – Always a great place to start, and continues to be a growing platform for customers
Better Business Bureau – Not always the rosiest reviews, but still an excellent source of data that identifies the most frustrating customer experiences
Reddit and other blogs – Blogs are a fantastic place to see how customers view your newest products and services. It’s also a great place to analyze any PR issues
Glassdoor – The companies with the best customer experience also offer the best employee experience
Analyzing all this data can help you identify channels of customer communication for specific business cases. You may find a certain cohort of customers prefer one channel, or that customers gravitate to a channel for specific issues. Building an omni-view of your customers and how they communicate with you is a great step towards a holistic view of the customer experience.
Our Topbox customer experience analytics platform was built to be able to analyze any communication channel your customers may use. In short, Topbox is an “agnostic aggregator,” which is one of its greatest advantages. As customer channels continue to evolve and change, you’ll want a solution that is not committed to a single channel, but to your customers and what they have to say.