[image source: interactions.com]
Customer care, although increasingly important, is constantly evolving. Businesses know they need to excel at customer care in order to remain competitive, but with the pace at which consumer preferences for channels continue to change, it’s difficult to develop a comprehensive and effective customer care strategy.
Considering this, Interactions designed a survey to take a look at some of the key questions many companies have about customer preferences today. The following are four key observations about how consumer preferences for technology and channels are evolving, taken from our latest whitepaper on this topic.
1) CONSUMERS ARE STILL RELYING HEAVILY ON VOICE CHANNELS
As newer customer service channels such as social media and chat become more prevalent, there is a lot of debate about the importance of these channels compared to more traditional channels such as the phone. This study, however, shows that 79% of consumers have used the phone to contact customer service in the past, meaning that it is still an overwhelmingly popular channel. Beyond that, 60% of consumers reported having used email, while 34% have used some form of web chat.
2) BUT COMFORT LEVELS WITH OTHER CHANNELS ARE EVOLVING
Despite the fact that most consumers report turning to the phone to contact customer service, most indicate that they would be comfortable using other channels as well. In fact, 75% of consumers said they would be comfortable using email, while 46% said the same for web chat and 37% for text messaging. Some channels even showed large discrepancies between usage and comfort; for example, only 5% of respondents have ever used instant messaging to contact customer care, but 22% said that they would be comfortable trying it.
3) INDUSTRY PLAYS A ROLE IN CHANNEL SELECTION
When looking at respondents’ most recent customer service interactions, we found that the method of contact selected did vary somewhat depending on the industry they contacted. For example, although 11% of respondents overall used web chat in their most recent customer service interaction, 22% of those who contacted a communications company used this channel. In addition, in industries such as retail and travel, consumers are turning to email more frequently — 30% used email to contact a retailer and 24% used it to contact a travel company, compared to 17% overall.
4) OVERALL, CONSUMERS FOCUS ON CONVENIENCE
Industries aside, when asked why they chose a particular channel for their most recent customer service interaction, 28% of respondents said that this was the most convenient method for them. Beyond that, 26% said that this was their preferred channel, and 17% said that this channel was best given the complexity of their issue. So overall, customers are choosing channels that are quick and convenient, and that have worked well for them in the past.