September 22, 2020

Before you kill your email channel, consider 3 reasons your customers love it

We’ve all been that customer. We scour a company’s website searching for an email address, a phone number, anything on how to contact their support team. 

After clicking through a maze of links,  we finally arrive at a partial answer. Whatever happened to the email address? Why can’t we just state our problem simply?

To a consumer, it can feel like customer support teams are trying to make it more difficult for you to contact support!

But the reality is far less sinister.

Customer support leaders like you are constantly fighting to give customers the best experience. 

And there are a number of reasons that email just has not delivered that best experience for CS teams or their customers: 

Asynchronous email messages go to the bottom of the priority list 

With high ticket-volumes and not enough staff, agents tend to prioritize “live” channels like phone and chat, which require immediate responses, instead of emails that can be responded to “later”.

It feels nearly impossible to organize emails as they come in

When a ticket comes in through unstructured channels like email, it becomes very difficult to capture metadata like the case reason, category, ticket priority, or agent skills needed to solve it.

Because of the lack of responsiveness and no ability to auto-categorize emails to the right agents, customers often report lower customer satisfaction scores in email

So then, what happens to that email channel? You shut it down.

But by doing this, your customer support team is missing out on some powerful benefits of email that can add core strength to your service.

According to Zendesk’s 2020 CX Trends Report, nearly half (49%) of customers typically resolve their support issues via email (this is second only to phone at 66%). 

Why is this? What’s working with email ticket resolution?

As a preferred method of communication for the customer, Customer Experience leaders benefit from having an email channel for three reasons:

1. More detail

Because email supports free-form text, customers tend to describe their problems more clearly and accurately, which make it easier for agents to resolve the issue correctly in one-touch, achieving that first contact resolution.

2. Increased flexibility

According to McKinsey, the average professional spends at least 28% of the work day in email. With all this time spent in email, it’s much easier for consumers to fire off a support ticket from their email client than it is to navigate through a support website to find a form. This leads to a better experience overall.

3. More issues captured

Since email is so ubiquitous and easy to use, customers who don’t find a support email can often get frustrated and give up without filing a ticket at all. This doesn’t make the customer any happier, but leads to your organization missing valuable feedback from your important customers.

Leaders are attempting to buy responsiveness, ease of triage, and CSAT by sacrificing ticket detail, flexibility, and issue coverage.

But what if I told you that this is a “false dichotomy”. What if you could have one, without giving up the other?

What’s missing?

At Forethought, we believe you should meet your customers where they are. Whether they want to email, call, chat, or tweet at you, we believe your company’s customer experience team can provide top-tier support to all customers. 

Far too often we see Customer Experience leaders shutting off vital channels like email, in order to put a band-aid on the problems of responsiveness, triage, and CSAT.

But what if you could get responsiveness, easy triage, and high CSAT, without sacrificing the ease-of-use, detail, and coverage that comes with free-form email?

This is where Agatha comes in.

Industry-leading customer support teams like MasterClass and Instacart use Agatha Solve as the “first-response” to support tickets across any channel, whether email or within a knowledge base web widget, at any time of day. With Solve, customers immediately receive an accurate, well-crafted email response based on company macros/templates, knowledge articles, or past conversations. This can typically resolve 10 to 20% of support tickets in minutes. 

The best part? Agatha only responds when she has a confident answer, so she’s upwards of 95% accurate on responses and otherwise leaves the customer experience unaltered. Unlike clunky automation of the past, Agatha actually increases customer satisfaction scores by 3%+, while giving your agents more time to spend on more complex tickets.

And if Agatha takes care of responsiveness, what about getting those emails to the right place for resolution? Agatha can do that too. Agatha Triage will use natural language understanding to determine the intent behind a ticket. One local services marketplace company found our triage to be 85% accurate from the get-go.

Before you turn off your email channel, let's talk about how Agatha can get you quick responses, easy categorization, and high CSAT, without sacrificing flexibility and ease-of-use.
We know customer support teams are battling a plethora of problems when it comes to email communication with customers.