Multi-channel support expectations are growing

Published March 1, 2017
Last modified March 1, 2017

Though it might seem like a contradiction, customers simultaneously want the warmth of human communication and the speed and efficiency of automated service. Whether it's on the phone, email, or chat, multi-channel support expectations are growing.

That's just one of the key insights illuminated by our new Multi-channel Customer Care Report, a Loudhouse Research study commissioned by Zendesk that surveyed more than 3,000 consumers in USA, the UK, and Australia. The study looked at the how increasing customer demands are rapidly changing the multi-channel customer service landscape.

Perhaps the most striking finding of the survey was that almost two-thirds (61%) of people acknowledged that they are more impatient with customer service than they were five years ago. However, relying solely on automation as an easy solution to this is unlikely to work: 86% saw being treated as a person as more important than benefiting from possible future advances in customer service technology.

These ideas might seem at odds with one another, but not if one takes the time to understand the customer’s perspective: they just want great support experiences.

Putting the findings in context, it appears that companies will only be able to rise to meet expectations if self-service strategies and automation tools—such as machine learning—are used as part of a larger support strategy that also includes human interaction.

Furthermore, companies will have to do so across multiple platforms, with 89% of respondents agreeing that brands need to offer a consistent customer service experience across all channels in order to retain customers.

So how is the multi-channel customer service desk going to resolve these complex challenges?

  • The research found that 41% of respondents expect an immediate response when contacting via the phone or in person, with 47% expecting the same via online chat.
  • Support via messaging is most likely to be expected within 10 minutes, while responses via social media are expected within two hours.
  • Email response expectations sit within 12 hours.
  • Customers appear to understand the difference between the various channels and set service expectations accordingly.
    Companies must understand this and develop appropriate strategies for each channel.

    Learn more about meeting customer demand, read The Multi-channel Customer Care Report