Telephone, Email, Skype, Facebook — What Are the Most Popular Contact Channels in Customer Service?

Did you know? Despite social media’s growth, the demand for Facebook & Co. in customer service is decreasing.
As an operator of an online shop or as a service provider, you should meet your customers where they are — and where you can solve their problems in the fastest and most seamless manner. We have carefully examined some studies and will present you with some of the most popular customer service channels.

Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel are among the most widely used trend words in the customer service industry. The idea sounds logical, but implementing it is anything but trivial. Since your customers no longer solely communicate via telephone and email thanks to social media and countless messaging apps, your online shop should offer as large a choice of contact options as possible.

Not Every Service Channel Leads to a Great Customer Experience

Nevertheless, we should remember that, with the urge for digitalisation, not all inquiries on all service channels can be solved equally well. In addition, linking service channels together is crucial for a smooth customer experience, but it becomes more complicated as the number of contact options increases.

Customer service solutions such as Zendesk and Freshdesk have done a lot for Multi-Channel capability and support your customer service and call center team in processing service requests efficiently. Nevertheless, you should ask yourself the question whether you want to juggle too many balls at once. Despite all the euphoria for the various contact options, we recommend that you evaluate the following two issues:

1. Popularity of service channels — Who is your online shop’s target group and which contact options do they prefer? To this end, we will take a look at some of the studies throughout this post to help guide you.

2. Efficiency in contact processing — Not all service channels are equally suitable for processing service requests. Prioritise channels that enable your customer service team to solve requests most efficiently.

On a side note: We are Customer Service experts and Artificial Intelligence geeks — but we especially love the combination of both. Come here if you want to learn more about our story and us.

Direct Contact preferred over Social Media

What then are the most popular service channels? And how has their use in the customer service sector proved successful?

Telephone, Email, Chat — Briefly put, these three service channels are by far the leading service channels. In this case, leading means that they are used the most frequently, but this is not congruent with the quality of customer experience. Aspect, a large provider of call center infrastructure, found in an extensive study that telephone and email are the greatest source of frustration. The reasons for this are being on hold for long periods and complicated IVR systems for telephone calls, and long response times and a ping-pong effect when sending emails. Chatbots also do not really help here since they lack the background artificial intelligence which is needed to competently answer a customer request.

Social Media — While the number of social media users is growing annually in the double-digit percentage range, the demand for Facebook & Co. in the customer service environment has recently gone down. A study by the Boston Consulting Group confirms social media has the disadvantage of little functionality for solving service requests. According to the study, it often takes too long for a service employee to be aware of a relevant post, as well as the channel not being suitable for complex requests.

Messenger Apps — Messenger apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat or Facebook Messenger are not to be confused with the aforementioned social media in the classic sense. According to this study, they have overtaken their operator platforms. The advantage is that customers can be in their familiar communication environment which they use several times a day. If your online shop provides this option, you are easy to reach and create a contact option in your customer’s Messenger menu which is always available. This is worthwhile for quickly answering simple questions. For more complex requests, you can offer to call your customer back.

SMS — If the good old text message were to lead a rather miserable existence compared with Messenger apps, the same advantages and limitations described above would apply here also. An investigation has confirmed that 64 percent of customers using SMS for service requests prefer this service channel even over a telephone call.

Video Chat –Skype und Facetime are among the most popular communication means in the private and business environment, but are rarely used for customer service. According to a Forrester analyst, the cultural hurdle is just too great. After all, if you were to be face to face, the inhibition threshold on the part of call center employees and customers would be too high. Many questions can be answered efficiently at this very personal level. We are curious to see how video chat develops in the future. Thanks to modern technology, it could bring more personality into the customer service sector.

Takeaways: With all the energy you put into the selection of appropriate service channels, you shouldn’t forget that the most popular service is the one that solves a customer problem as soon as possible and, if possible, first time round. Many online shops and service providers face the same challenge, namely that the number and complexity of customer requests is increasing. We have an idea for you to help you serve your customers in the best way possible: Our artificial intelligence for customer service is called parlamind Assist. As an artificially intelligent employee, parlamind Assist supports your service staff by analysing customer requests and preparing answers. This saves you time and money and improves the customer experience.

> Sounds like a great idea? Book a demo appointment with us if you want to marry your Customer Service with Artificial Intelligence.

> If you want to meet the team behind parlamind’s Artificial Intelligence for Customer Service, shoot us an email at sales@parlamind.com.