Omnichannel customer service: what people really want

Published April 12, 2017
Last modified June 29, 2020

Customers want the care that comes from dealing with a human, but also the expediency associated with service automation. Not only that, but they actually have different expectations for different support channels, and companies who want to maintain loyal customers need to understand that and provide omnichannel customer service with a human touch.

This is a key insight 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.

Amidst a growing multitude of channel options, consumers don’t just want support on a variety of channels, they want omnichannel customer support, or support across a spectrum of channels, each one optimized for an experience best suited for that channel.

The type of inquiry customers want to make, such as whether they want to check a price, get details on a product, place an order, arrange a delivery, or lodge a complaint, will inform which channel they want to use to communicate with the company and receive support. It’s the nature of the interaction, and the amount of time someone has on their hands, that helps people determine the most convenient channel at any given time.

It’s a question of preference
To be successful, companies must monitor and measure the different types of interactions that occur on specific channels and use that data to optimize each channels to meet customer expectations. The report found that:

  • The telephone is still the preferred channel for resolving a query, although its use has dropped slightly, with 47% of respondents opting for it in 2016, compared with 54% in 2013.
  • Emailing is still in favor, but in slight decline, falling from 48% three years ago to 40% now.
  • Live chat and click to chat through a website have boomed in popularity since 2013, growing from 18% to 32%.

Any company using data from just three years ago might already be relying on information that is slightly out of date, and run the risk of crafting multi-channel experiences that alienate customers. The point is to continually measure and adjust strategies accordingly.

Learn more about omnichannel customer service, read The Multi-channel Customer Care Report