This is part two of a two-part series. Read part one here.

In part one of this two-part series, we looked at what it meant to provide good customer service — especially that emotional connection that customers under stress crave.

Although everyone wants to be a hero to their customers, it’s not always as dire as all that. Many customers are seeking simple answers to common questions, and although this would seem like an easier situation to handle, it’s where many companies make the biggest mistakes when juggling telephone and email customer service.

This is Where Email Shines

The TechInAsia blog published an infographic with some interesting findings on customer service experiences in the context of placing telephone orders.

Of the 45 percent of customers surveyed who initiated a purchase over the phone, a full 70 percent of them were placed on hold for an average of 57 seconds. The callers placed on hold didn’t respond well — 68 percent dropped the call even if they were hearing useful information, of those that were put on hold to silence, only 12 percent remained after the 57 seconds were up. The callers that were put on hold also voted with their telephones later, with 34 percent never bothering to call the company back at all.

Forrester’s Trends 2015: The Future of Customer Service report showed that customers still want to use telephone answering services, even with the potential to experience friction and unacceptable hold times. The telephone was the second most commonly used method to connect to customer service, with 73 percent of those surveyed saying they’d used it in the last 12 months. Email was a close third, though, at 68 percent. Only reading a company’s online FAQ scored higher.

Email is gaining ground in a big way — in 2009, Forrester found that only 55 percent of people surveyed had tried using email for customer service. What isn’t as clear from all this data is what role email plays in the customer service environment. Phone support is a great way to build an emotional connection and for customers to feel like they’ve been heard, but not every customer is looking for that. Some are looking to spend their time more efficiently and don’t necessarily need an answer right away.

Email and Telephone Customer Service are Complementary

Rather than asking if your company should be using email or a live answering service, you should be asking how to use them both in a way that optimizes the customer experience.

Today’s world is a mix of old and new, with some people who want to reach out and touch the businesses they work with and others simply seeking the fast answer that technology can provide.

By posting answers to common questions on your website, ensuring that callers get fast and thorough attention and addressing emails promptly, you’ll have all your bases covered. Email and telephone customer service are two sides of the same coin, both with the goal of delighting and impressing existing and potential customers.

You’ll need multiple tools to create the best customer experience possible in today’s tech-driven world — email and telephone are just the starting point.