Customers Prefer Phone Over Social Media, Mobile Apps

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 30, 2014

customer call

Even though the use of social media and mobile apps for customer service has doubled since 2011, nearly 9 out of 10 customers prefer to pick up the phone and call, according to a Global Customer Experience Survey by NICE Systems.

The research firm surveyed 1,206 consumers between the ages of 18 and 65 to assess their satisfaction with customer service channels, and found that 88% choose to connect with a customer service representative over the phone, which in fact is the most popular channel, with website self-service (83%) following closely behind. In addition, no matter what channel they are using, customers like having the option of turning to a live phone representative as their next choice.

The report reveals social media, live chat, and smartphone app usage have increased 50% in the past 3 years. Seventy-three percent of customers have used multiple contact methods over the past six months to reach a customer service provider. While more customers are turning to emerging channels, they still prefer “live” interactions.

Sixty-four percent of the people using a smartphone app want it to connect to a live rep. Despite the increase in channel use, social media has a 29% success rate in resolving customer service issues as compared to 69% over the phone, and only 1 percent of respondents found social media to be the most satisfying channel, signifying that these modes of customer service still need improvement.

“On average, customers use about six different channels to contact companies for various customer service questions, issues, or complaints – ranging from social media to email to trying to solve the problem by themselves on the company website,” says Yochai Rozenblat, President of the NICE Enterprise Group.

Rozenblat believes that the usage of multiple channels continues to grow, especially in the areas of social media, online and direct chat platforms, and apps. Yet, the majority of customers still prefer to speak with a live service representative over the phone to get their issue resolved quickly.

For customer service interactions, millennials give lower preference to social media channels. While millennials are more likely to use social media channels as compared to older age groups, respondents actually prefer to speak to a live rep via phone or use website self-service when it comes to customer service issues, says the report. 

“As overall channel usage increases, it reinforces the need for a seamless and effortless customer experience across all channels,” said Rozenblat. “It’s possible that a year or two from now we’ll see consumers using many more channels, as new methods are developed. Now is the time to get closer to your customers, understand their preferences, personalize interactions, and take charge of the multi-channel customer service journey,” he sums up.