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Gladly Customer Service Channel Preferences Sept2021When it comes to customer service, few consumers appear to be satisfied with their experiences. Indeed, per a report [download page] from Gladly, only 1 in 5 (19%) say customer service exceeds their expectations.

Even though most consumers say they prefer to resolve issues on their own when shopping online (60%), good customer service can have an impact. Quality customer care can cause a customer to fall in love with a brand (63%) and lead them to recommend the brand to friends (62%), per the survey’s respondents. Additionally, some 8 in 10 (82%) say they’ll spend more money on brands that deliver exceptional service online.

To meet expectations, consumers want to speak with a representative who is knowledgeable (78%), and to a lesser extent recommends products they know the customer will like (34%) and takes the extra time needed to resolve an issue or consult on other options (21%).

Unfortunately, 8 in 10 (81%) say customer service falls below expectations. The top frustration with customer service is having to explain an issue multiple times — cited by close to three-quarters (74%) of respondents.

How consumers prefer to contact customer service is also a factor in their overall experience. While phone calls continue to be the preferred channel for customer service, the popularity of this channel has decreased (48% in 2020 vs. 37% in 2021). For the first time, email has lost its place as the second-most preferred customer service channel, with only 15% saying they prefer this channel.

Usurping email is online chat, which was preferred by 1 in 5 (19%). Consumers are most likely to reach out via online chat to ask questions about a product (28%), resolve shipping or return issues (20%) or change a reservation or appointment (15%).

While online chat is a popular option among consumers, the verdict is still out on chatbots. More than half of consumers are open to the idea of some kind of chatbot, but it appears they are only interested in using them for specific tasks. Consumers say chatbots come in handy when they aren’t interested in talking to or waiting for a customer service agent (53%) and when they want a simple question answered quickly (51%). Convenience features such as 24-hour service and quick responses are additional benefits to chatbots. However, when consumers feel like a non-valued customer (52%) or have to jump through hoops to talk to a representative (43%), chatbots are less helpful.

Read the full report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,500 US adults.

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