Digital Customer Service Channels Lagging, Consumers Say

August 15, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Customer Service & Experience | Digital | Email | Mobile Phone | Social Media | Tablet | Youth & Gen X

NorthridgeGroup-Ease-Customer-Service-Channel-Usage-Aug2016Companies make it far easier for their customers to pick up the phone and call them with a service issue than to text them or interact with them on social media, according to [download page] the results of a survey from The Northridge Group. And even when they do contact companies on social channels, consumers are finding it difficult to get a quick resolution.

The survey of more than 1,000 consumers reveals that a majority feel that companies make it easy to contact them about a customer service issue or inquiry by phone (56%) or email (52%). But far fewer feel that companies make it easy to contact them via text message (34%), mobile app self-service (39%) or social media (39%). (For more on chatbots and business messaging, see this article.)

[SPONSORED: Free Report: The State of Customer Service]

Meanwhile, although 87% of respondents usually get a response and a resolution when they contact a company by phone, less than half feel that way about the response they get when they text message a company (46%) or contact it via social media (44%).

Add it up, and almost half (48%) of respondents say that the phone is their preferred method to contact a company with a customer service issue or inquiry, double the share of the next-most preferred method, email (24%). Just 3% prefer text messaging a company, and only 2% pick social media as their preferred channel.

Those preferences change a little depending on the nature of the issue, though. Phones are the preferred channel for handling a billing or payment question, resolving a problem, and making changes to an account. However email is preferred for making a comment or suggestion, and web self-service has an above-average preference rate for making account changes.

As for social media, despite not being a preferred channel, it is being used more commonly. Some 57% of Millennials (18-34), for example, say they’re using social media channels for customer service more often than they were a year ago. Both Gen Xers (35-50) and Boomers (51-69) are also more likely to have upped than cut their use of social media for customer care.

Among those choosing social media as a point of contact, more report doing so to share a positive (48%) than negative (37%) customer experience.

About the Data: The report is based on a survey of 1,000 US consumers aged 18 and older.

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