Is Phone Support Really the Best Type of Support For Your Business?

August 30, 2016


As you may or may not know, Tailor Brands does not offer phone support. It is one question that we’re often asked, and understandably can be frustrating when a customer has an issue or concern that they would like immediately resolved and they’re unable to find a phone number. This is a conscious decision on our end, however unpopular this may seem. For many people, we’re used to using phone support to address our needs. We call up, speak with a person, and have the problem resolved. Phone support once took the place of walking into a business and troubleshooting in person and live chat and email support are increasingly taking the place of phone support. But why? Why is this the next wave of technologically-based products shifting away from phone support and relying on other forms of assistance? Is phone support really always the best option?

Considering Different Types of Customer Support

There are a few different kinds of customer support to consider for your small business. Phone, email, live chat, and social media are some of the most common ways for a business to interface with their customers. We’re comparing some major pros and cons so you can make the best choice for you!

Phone Support

Pros:

  • Reassuring to clients
  • Very accessible
  • Easy to track length of request time
  • People speak quicker than they type

Cons:

  • Time-consuming
  • Unable to account for information that needs to be handled online
  • Can increase the amount of time that someone is on hold
  • More expensive than other forms of support in terms of person/hr costs

Email Support

Pros:

  • No need for additional software
  • Most people have access to email
  • Able to provide clear instructions for users
  • Higher likelihood to be able to fulfill a request if fully answered
  • Gives a customer a reference point at a later time

Cons:

  • Harder to track requests
  • Requests may not go through
  • Harder to tell how long it takes to handle a request
  • Requests can build up so support handles more, less often
  • Customer may expect more of an answer with a longer reply
  • Unable to ask immediate, clarifying questions

Social Support

Pros:

  • Very quickly respond to customers
  • Helpful to address unhappy customers that may not contact support

Cons:

  • Can be a means to simply vent about a business
  • Difficult to deal with account information and requests

Live Chat Support

Pros:

  • Address pre-sale concerns
  • Quickly answer questions
  • No background noise
  • Increase the amounts of people you’re able to help at once

Cons:

  • Limiting for long answers or more custom options
  • Requires constant availability
  • Customers expect an instant response

There is no best type of support for all businesses, and sometimes combining different support options works best for you. At Tailor Brands, we limit the number of support options that we provide for our customers, for a reason!

The Support We Offer at Tailor Brands

We offer chat support and email support for customers. For our business, chat support is implemented on a more superficial level – assisting customers looking for specific features or attempting to answer questions that can be found elsewhere on the website. We use this as the first and quickest way for a user to get immediate assistance. For anything more in depth, we use email support with a longer turnaround time. We do get comments every once in awhile from people expressing dissatisfaction, but our reasoning for providing this kind of support is as follows:

  1. By limiting access to your personal account, we’re ensuring that the information on file is in as little hands as possible. It’s a little more inconvenience for a lot more privacy!
  2. In many cases, it’s not a simple, one-click solution. Edits, changes, subscription, and payment issues take more work and creativity than can be completed on the phone, and one seemingly simple request can be sent to tech, design, and billing before it’s resolved. With different hands on deck, with varying degrees of availability, absolutely instantaneous results are not possible with our service.
  3. As a small team working with many clients, spending all of the time of the phone can seriously impact other elements of our business- we multitask support with other elements. Remember, customer support is one part of a well-rounded business, and even the most well-staffed of support departments need to handle phone, chat, and email support for many customers. We prefer getting support handled well rather than providing a quick fix.
  4. All users have different computers, mobile phones, tablets, operating systems, browsers, computer programs, and more than can make diagnosing an issue a little more complex, and oftentimes, more time consuming than what someone may have to spend on their phone.
  5. Email support can be accessed 24/7, while we would have to limit phone support to our operating hours. Since we serve customers around the world but operate from New York City, there is a small window that would allow full access for phone support.

Sometimes the best customer support is not the quickest customer support, and that’s the decision that you need to make as a business owner. Many people are used to phone support, which is great for some businesses, but it is not the only kind of way to provide service. Are you able to handle immediate requests for potentially angry customers and/or is the product or service you offer better handled through email or chat support? You alone will have the best answer for your business, but don’t be afraid of limiting the kind of help that you offer!