First Responders: Phone And Email Are The Go-To Channels For Customer Support

Despite growth in texting and apps, the phone and email remain the top channels used by customers seeking help, according to Optimizing Channels for Customer Support, a study by customer support specialist UJET in partnership with data analytics firm YouGov.

Of the consumers surveyed, 46% used the phone and 32% sent an email when contacting brands for support in the three months prior to the survey. This may often be due to the fact that these are the only options provided by the brand.

In addition, 29% turned to live website chat, 28% to in-app messaging, 25% to text/SMS utilized chat online on a company’s website, and 12% to an online form.

People in the 35 to 44 age range are least likely to use the phone, as they prefer email and in-app messaging for reaching out.

What would improve the customer support experience? Consumers desire:

  1. Text with a live agent in real time — 72%
  2. Email support with a question or an issue description and receipt of a reply with a solution and instructions — 70%
  3. Use of in-app messaging and chat — 70%
  4. Text support with a question or an issue description and receipt of a reply with a solution and instructions — 69%
  5. Ability to click a button in-app or on a website and have an agent call at a convenient time — 68%
  6. Upload and share a photo so that an agent can visually understand the issue — 67%
  7. Upload and share a screenshot — 66%
  8. Upload and share a video — 55%
  9. Use fingerprint or facial recognition to identify and authorize an account — 43%
  10. Chat with an agent using live video — 42%

Don’t think boomers are most likely to seek support: 80% of people ages 25-34 envision “email support with a question or description of the issue, and receive a reply with a solution or instructions,” versus 72% of those in the 35-44 cohort, 67% of those ages 45-54 and 66% in the 55-64 category.

Multiple choices were allowed to all questions.

Channel usage also varies with the product sector.

Among ecommerce customers, 53% used the phone and 36% reached out by email in the three months prior to the survey, those often being the default options..

But they often ended up waiting for hours to get through to someone on the phone or for days for a response to an email request.

Among the ecommerce brands most contacted for assistance were Amazon (59%), eBay (21%) and Apple (20%).

When it comes to on-demand ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft, 47% used in-app messaging or chat, 41% used email and 35% used the phone. Among the people surveyed, 27% contacted Uber for support and 16% contacted Lyft.

The traditional channels also dominate in the food delivery arena, with 61% using the phone and 57% using email. But 47% used in-app messaging or chat to interact with customer support. Email is mostly likely to be preferred by those ages 35-44.

The main food deliver brands contacted were Uber Eats (16%), GrubHub (14%) and DoorDash (14%).

The study proves “the importance of bringing together multiple support channels and modalities in order to meet the needs of different customer experiences and journeys,” states Anand Janefalkar, Founder & CEO, UJET.

UJET and YouGov surveyed 500 U.S. consumers.


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