Consumers’ preferences for customer service channels are rapidly changing. And it’s not just the younger generation of consumers — there’s disruption and change across all ages and demographics. Our 2013 data about communication channels that customers use for customer service is available in my latest report. Here are some key data points:
- Customers want companies to value their time. 71% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.
- Voice is the most used communication channel for service. Voice, used by 73% of customers for customer service, is still the most widely used channel for customer service. However this is quickly followed by web self service and the digital channels like chat and email.
- Chat is increasingly popular. Online chat adoption among customers has risen from 30% in 2009 to 43% in 2012. In addition, it has the highest satisfaction rating of any channel used, after voice.
- The demise of email is premature. Email remains the third most widely used communication channel among US online adults. In the past 3 years email usage has increased by 2 percentage points, from 56% to 58%.
- Social channels are increasingly important. Online communities and Twitter have seen increases in usage rates in the last three years. However, satisfaction remains low for these channels as companies have not invested in best practices for managing interactions on these channels.
What this means is that companies must understand their customers communication channel preference, and be prepared for them to change over time. This also means that companies mustchoose technology ecosystems that provide the business agility and flexibility to meet customer channel demands today, and in the future.