Thought Leadership

Which Customer Service Channels Are Most Important?

We recently explored how outsourcing improves customer service, digging into why the quality of services matters more than the channel it’s being provided through. The catch—nearly one-third of survey respondents say that being able to reach a company on their preferred channel is what makes an experience great. In other words, experience and channel selection go hand-in-hand. You must have a multi-channel customer service strategy that aligns with the needs of your customers in order to provide them with quality service. But, what channels should you focus on if you offer multi-channel customer support? Let’s take a look.

Multi-Channel Customer Service Options by Popularity and Demographics

1) Phone

A solid multi-channel customer service program still has phone representatives as its cornerstone. It’s the preferred method for almost every age demographic—Baby Boomers (83 percent), Generation X (73 percent), and Millennials (67 percent). The only age group that doesn’t prefer phone over all else is Generation Z, though it only misses the first position by a small margin (56 percent versus 58 percent).

2)  Email

Perhaps not surprisingly, email is not far behind the phone for most demographics. The only exception, of course, is with Gen Z, which considers email the top choice. Bear in mind, consumers expect to hear back within 3-4 hours if they send an email, setting the bar much higher than the typical 24 hours companies often aim for.

3) Live Chat

Multi-channel customer support expanded into live chat years ago, and demand for it is now growing faster than any other option; up 14 percent in two years. It holds the third position for all demographics, with roughly half of all Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials saying they use it.

4) SMS

Gen Zers like SMS every bit as much as live chat, while roughly a quarter of Gen Xers and Millennials agree. Close to one-in-five Boomers leverages the tech too.

5) FAQ/ Self-Service

Surprisingly, consumers prefer all the aforementioned multi-channel customer support options before trying any self-help methods like visiting an FAQ. Popularity ranges from about 18 percent through 25 percent, depending on the demographic. Millennials take the lead in this respect.

6) Chatbot

Millennials also lead in appreciation for chatbots, but Gen Z and X aren’t far behind. Even ten percent of Boomers will go for a chatbot when given the option.

7) Social Media

Social media is generally leveraged the least of any multi-channel customer service option, though more than a quarter of Gen Zers use the medium and pockets of other demographics do as well.

Quality Before Expansion

As noted, customers care a great deal about which channels are available, but they care even more about having a quality experience. That in mind, if your organization’s existing multi-channel customer service offerings aren’t delivering, it’s important to shore those up before expanding.

Know Your Audience

It’s important to note that the information here offers only a general idea of how different demographic groups behave. However, your audience may be different. For example, if you run an online-only company, chances are even your older customers will be more comfortable with online tools. It’s important to have a full diagnostic review done to see where you are looking for you now and what channels they’re using before creating a strategy.

Deliver Quality and Scope with DATAMARK

If your organization is struggling to provide multi-channel customer support that delights or you want to expand, but aren’t sure which options are best for your audience, we can help. With more than three decades in the industry and experience supporting Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and other large organizations, DATAMARK will create a plan that gets you the value your business needs and delivers the quality your customers crave on the channels they want. Contact us for a consultation to learn more.

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