Why You Can't Afford to Ignore Conversational Support

Aug 10, 2022

MeTime - Why You Can't Afford to Ignore Conversational Support

When you're in the aesthetics business (or any healthcare business for that matter), providing great customer support is not an option, it's essential to your survival and growth. With patients being spoiled for choice and armed with information from the internet, now more than ever, customer support can make or break your business.

But how do you keep your support team (office manager and admin staff) from drowning in a deluge of queries, while meeting customer expectations? The answer lies in conversational support. Please continue reading to learn more about the conversational support funnel and why it is such a critical element to the success of your healthcare business.

What is conversational support?

Conversational support is a new-age method of resolving customer or patient queries through digital message-based interactions. You can think of it as a cross between phone support and e-mail support. Patients (customers) and your staff (support agents) are connected both in real-time like phone support and asynchronously like e-mail support.

A conversational support funnel gives customers the option to start, stop, and restart the conversation at their convenience, while maintaining context. Because the support is instant, it allows fast, efficient answers without making a call to your clinic. But there's added convenience for the patients because conversational support can be asynchronous, meaning the conversation can be stopped and resumed at any time.

Essentially, conversational support combines the best of both - the real-time answers of phone support and the asynchronous communication and written record of e-mail support - and delivers something that's superior to both.

Why is a conversational customer support funnel important?

In a day and age when customer expectations are sky high, a conversational support funnel allows you to provide seamless, scalable support to every customer, which is essential for driving business growth. For your support team, it is a way to get off the treadmill of patient enquiries (customer calls and e-mails). The digital messenger model combines automated and human support to answer common questions with a chatbot, get ahead of problems, and resolve more complex issues by connecting customers to team members, i.e., patients to your admin staff (more on this later in the article).

Multi-Tasking

One of the key advantages of conversational support is that it allows both customers and the support team to multi-task. The funnel does not demand an agent's complete attention and does not force customers to wait in long queues when agents are busy. Also, the conversations become a written record of the customer's history with your clinic, which can serve as a reference point to build a personal relationship with every customer or patient.

Chatbots

What's more, the addition of features like custom chatbots and saved replies can make your customer support workflow faster, more efficient, and productive, resulting in not only a great customer experience but also a happy support team. A chatbot on your aesthetic clinic's website, for instance, can answer commonly asked questions and make it easier for patients to book appointments without your staff needing to answer questions on the phone.

Proactive solutions

A conversational support funnel is a proactive and efficient way to provide personalized support to your customers. Customers get the answers they want, when and where they want. Your support team has the right tools at its disposal to maximize resources, solve complex queries, and build long-term customer relationships.

Benefits across the board

A clinic that takes advantage of conversational support channels can expect enhanced clinic workflow and business efficiency, increased customer acquisition (new patients), improved customer satisfaction (happy patients), and better customer retention (existing patients stay with you), not to mention happy support teams (clinic admin staff).

What are the different types of conversational support?

There are three separate modes of customer query resolution that businesses can adopt as part of their conversational support funnel. The proportion of support dedicated to each mode depends on the unique characteristics of your business. For an aesthetic practice, for example, a mix of all three can work well.

Proactive Support

This mode of customer support is at the top of the conversational support funnel. It is the first-line of contact between you and your clients. It can help to drastically reduce the number of conversations between patients and your clinic (customers and your support team). Proactive support anticipates customer queries and answers them before customers even realize they have questions. It is one of the most important tools in onboarding and educating new patients about your products and services. By answering repetitive questions upfront, it reduces customer frustration (even regular patients can encounter issues and reach out for support). And when you face hurdles like website downtime, delivery delays, or products out-of-stock, by proactively informing customers, it addresses issues that can otherwise wipe out your support team's entire day.

Self-Service Support

This is a layer of customer support that does not involve interaction with a human member of your support team. Today's customers don't want to wait endlessly to speak to a human. They want instant answers to their questions and quick resolution of their problems. The self-service mode of a conversational support funnel answers simple, repetitive, and common questions through a response from an automated chatbot. The technology has grown by leaps and bounds and there is a growing contextual knowledge base. As a result, chatbots have gone from being potential irritants to fast resolvers of queries that can close a ticket faster than humans. By embracing modern chatbot-based self-support channels, businesses can increase the efficiency of their support team, avoid over-stretching the team, and reduce the need to scale up their support teams. At aesthetic practices, however, chatbots would only be cost-effective only for large practices.

Human Support

This is the holy grail of customer expectations. It is a mode of the conversational support funnel that involves direct interaction with members of your team at the support center to answer questions and resolve issues quickly and efficiently. It is the traditional way of having staff at your clinic answer patient queries on the phone or by email. A well-planned funnel can ensure customers only need to talk to team members when the nature of their issue warrants it. This is where you review customer wishes, get to the bottom of a complex issue, and build lasting relationships with high-value customers by adding a personal, human touch to conversations.

What can conversational support do for my business?

Capture information from customers

Messenger-based conversational support funnels provide faster support to customers and save time for your support team by addressing large volume repetitive queries. But there's an added advantage. The funnels allow you to capture valuable information about your customers and gain a deeper understanding of their behavior. A customized chatbot can automatically and seamlessly capture information about your customer without your support team ever getting involved. You can use this information to create a better experience for clients with more intuitive, personal responses in the future.

Identify business trends

Your conversational support funnel can serve as a database of customer queries. Using AI, you can then leverage this database to quickly and efficiently identify emerging trends and topics, questions that routinely confuse customers, or questions that ultimately require an agent to intervene. Seeing a surge in queries about a particular topic? This is a clear indicator of increased customer interest. But that's not all. By using AI analysis, you can be proactive and suggest emerging topics to customers during the chat. This will not only enhance their experience but also create additional sales collaterals.

Create a seamless flow for customers

The one thing customers hate is waiting while an agent connects them to the right team. With a conversational support funnel, this becomes seamless. The tool can automatically assign a specific type of query to the appropriate team (billing, products, complaints). The conversations with the customer are already on record, so other teams that come into the picture can see the support journey up to that point and focus on providing a solution that will deliver satisfactory results.

Enhance customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is critical for both new customer acquisition and existing customer retention. In the field of medicine, happy patients means your patients stay with you and recommend you. A conversational support channel has major implications for all these important metrics. The tool can help your business maintain a high satisfaction rate even when query volumes increase or inbound conversations skyrocket. This is usually impossible for businesses to do if they scale with only a human support team in place. In other words, as your company grows, you can stay on top of customer (patient) satisfaction without increasing the size of your support team (admin staff).

Improve support team morale

Customer support is a complex, demanding job. The monotonous, repetitive work can take a toll on customer service reps, leading to dissatisfaction. Companies that deploy a conversational support funnel reduce repetitive tasks and free up agents to do more fulfilling work, such as building relationships with high-value customers or providing resolution for complex issues. In a busy clinic, freeing up admin staff by delegating repetitive queries to a conversational support funnel can improve efficiency and staff morale.

The bottom line

Now that you have a deeper understanding about the features of a conversational support channel, can you see how it will benefit your aesthetic business? An intuitively designed digital messenger based support system is the future of customer support. The MeTime app allows clients to connect securely with aesthetic providers. Clients can get answers to their questions, send photos across, make the right decision, and book an appointment when it feels right. We'd say MeTime ticks all the boxes as an excellent conversational support funnel for aesthetic businesses!

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