Email Overtaken By Chat For Customer Service, Study Says

Email has declined as a customer service medium, according to “What Customers Expect From a Modern Online Shopping Experience,” a study from Gladly conducted by Zogby Analytics. 

Of consumers polled, 15% now use email for service issues, down from 17% last year.

In contrast, chat usage is now at 19%, versus 14% last year.

And phone has dropped from 48% to 37%, but still is the leader.

“While phone continues to be the most widely used channel, email has finally lost its grasp on second place,” the study notes. 

But that only examines one side of it — the inbound side, or the channel used by customers to resolve complaints.

On the outbound side, email is a critical vehicle for confirmations, shipping information, updates and triggered messages, also components of a good customer service strategy. 

Whatever channels are used, customer service remains a solid brand-building device. 

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For example, 63% of the respondents say they fall in love with brands because of great service. And 62% will recommend a brand to a friend for the same reason.

But only 19% feel customer service is exceeding their expectations. And 45% will stop buying from a brand after two bad service experiences. 

Customers say these are good practices:
-- Having one seamless conversation across all channels — 46%
-- Following up on issues to ensure satisfaction — 33%
-- Recommending products proactively — 28%

In each of these cases, email plays an important role.

But here are the things that frustrate consumers:
-- I have to explain my issue over and over gain — 73%
-- I have to know my ticket or order number — 21%
-- The brand doesn’t know my order history or status — 17%

Zogby Analytics surveyed 1,500 U.S. consumers.

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