More Customer Channels, Same Frustrations

As customers continue to increase the number of service channels they use to interact with brands, their requirements remain the same: quick resolution to their issues and consistent and responsive service across channels.
Customer Service

In this, the Age of the Customer, the gold standard in multichannel service strategies delivers seamless service across channels without interruptions so that customers receive quick resolution to issues and avoid the need to repeat themselves from channel to channel.

Despite the advancements in customer service technologies, these same age-old frustrations still exist, according to a new study. Parature's "2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey" explores the current multichannel support landscape, emphasizing the need to adapt alongside technology in order to provide consistent customer experiences at every touchpoint. The study, which polled 1,000 U.S. consumers, also looks at the average consumer's primary concerns and frustrations, as 65 percent of respondents have stopped using a brand's products or services due to a poor customer support experience. Thus, companies must ensure that service representatives maintain customer centricity while working to meet the consumer's evolving needs.

The following statistics examine just how important superior service can be to the overall customer experience and the behaviors companies must consider when developing their support strategies:

  • Those who've encountered poor customer service experiences rank having to contact a company multiple times for the same reason (47 percent), being passed from agent to agent (43 percent), and impolite customer service representatives (37 percent) as the most frustrating examples of inferior support.
  • For companies looking to provide the best service experience possible, resolving issues quickly (41 percent) and doing so within one single transaction (26 percent) remain essential aspects of superior customer support.
  • When it comes to social customer service, 59 percent say that the given brand responded to their complaint, question, or praise. Fifty-one percent said that this response improved their view of the brand. However, social customer service comes with an air of immediacy, as the majority of respondents expect a response within an hour (38 percent) to 24 hours (29 percent)
  • Though the telephone remains the average consumer's preferred method for contacting customer service (43 percent), many also gravitate toward email (22 percent) and live chat (18 percent). When looking for an immediate response, 57 percent of respondents also seek telephone support, while 24 percent turn to live chat.
  • While 40 percent of consumers would prefer to use self-service if the option could successfully meet their support needs, 66 percent say they've already used self-service at least once within the last year and 33 percent have used self-service more than three times.
  • Of those polled, 35 percent admitted that they've complained about a brand on social media, while 52 percent have shared their praise via social.

Key takeaway: Social media and self-service may be popular buzzwords when it comes to customer support, but focusing on these "shiny objects" may cause companies to lose sight of the strategies needed to sustain satisfaction and loyalty. No matter the touchpoint, customers value the ability to fully articulate their question or issue and receive a personalized response above all else. Ultimately, the channel becomes negligible as long as the route they choose leads them to a timely, speedy, and relevant solution. Consumers want their concerns to be heard by agents that actively listen and respond accordingly, for frustrating interactions typically degrade the customer's brand perception, thereby triggering attrition. Service and support speak volumes about how much the given brand values its customers, so each must invest great time and energy into strategies that resonate and deliver.