Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Voice is Still King for Customers Contacting a Company

October 25, 2013

If you pay attention to the prognostications for the 21st century contact center, you might be tempted to conclude that the telephone is dead as a means of customer service. After all, companies today are rushing to ensure that their newer channels – mobile apps, Web chat and social media – are robustly integrated into their main contact center platform.

If you made this conclusion, however, you’d be wrong. Customers still prefer the telephone over any other media when it comes to interacting with a company. A new study out of the UK says even mobile phone customers still prefer a good old-fashioned phone call. The Firstsource Solutions survey, which interviewed over 2,000 British adults, found that 40 percent of consumers choose to solve their mobile phone queries by calling a customer service agent.

This isn’t to say that customers aren’t using more modern channels. Five percent of consumers surveyed reported using Web chat to resolve issues, and of those Web chat users, 60 percent identity the channel as the fastest way to get help. A further fie percent of consumers reported use online FAQs; four percent reported using online forums and two percent of consumers said they use social media to resolve problems with a customer-facing company, according to an article on the UK site Call Centre Helper.

While a small percentage of people may be using more digital channels to resolve issues or ask questions, those who do use these channels report high levels of satisfaction with the. Forty-two percent of those who have used social media to contact a company reported being very satisfied with it, with only 11 percent reporting dissatisfaction. It would appear, however, that telephone still has the most human touch.

“There is no doubt that human interaction is vital to create a real connection with consumers,” said Iain Regan, executive vice president of sales and client services at Firstsource. “This survey shows that, despite the availability of alternative channels, the contact center with real people on the phone remains one of the key means of providing customer service.”

This isn’t to say companies should ditch building out their newer contact center channels such as social media, Web chat, mobile app or even videoconferencing. The number of people using these channels is rising, and often it’s the most influential customers who choose them.

Edited by Alisen Downey