Customers have more channels available to them to contact a company than ever before, and these channels continue to grow. The use of social media and mobile apps for customer service has doubled since 2011. However, the old standby, the telephone, is still the top choice. According to NICE Systems’ 2014 Global Customer Experience Survey, 88 percent of customers still elect to pick up the phone and call. This includes the tech-savvy Millennial demographic.
Why is the telephone the preferred channel?
It provides an immediate response
Outside of any time a caller might spend on hold, the caller is able to get answers to their questions or address their concerns quickly. Only large organizations with hefty customer service budgets and numerous agents are able to respond immediately via social media and email. Smaller organizations don’t have that option. Customers know this and if they don’t want to wait hours, or even days, for a response, they’re going to call.
It holds the company/agent accountable
When using a channel like email, chat, or social media to contact a company, the customer might not know who exactly is on the other end of the conversation. During a phone call, the agent will provide their name, which holds them accountable for the conversation that ensues. The caller can make a note of whom they are speaking with if any further assistance is needed in the future.
Customers are comfortable with it
Though it may be hard to believe, there are plenty of people who still aren’t completely comfortable using modern technology. They either don’t understand it and have no desire to learn or don’t trust it. Either way, they are completely content using only their phone to communicate with family, friends, and businesses that they patronize.
Higher success rates
Even though there are numerous customer service channels that exist today, they have varying success rates. A key takeaway from the Global Customer Experience Survey was that, despite the increase in use, social media has just a 29% success rate in resolving customer service issues. The phone has a 69% success rate. Only 1% of respondents found social media to be the most satisfying channel, leaving much to be desired.
So what does this mean for today’s modern contact center? While it’s important to offer a multi-channel experience, companies must continue to invest in the call center. This includes ongoing training opportunities for agents and deploying high-end call center technology that provides key insights into call center operations in addition to business operations as a whole.