2014: the year of omnichannel customer service

Published November 25, 2013
Last modified November 25, 2013

2014 is shaping up to be the year of omnichannel. Consumers are becoming more comfortable interacting with companies via email, phone, in store, online chat, and social media, and as a result, they’re demanding a seamless and consistent approach across all those channels when it comes to customer service.

How are companies around the globe doing in implementing omnichannel strategies to meet customers’ expectations? And exactly what do consumers expect? Loudhouse, an independent research agency, surveyed 7,000 consumers in seven countries (U.S., U.K., Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, and Japan) to find out.

What they found is that there is quite a gap between customers’ expectations of customer service and what companies are actually delivering. In fact, 67% of online shoppers surveyed made purchases that involve multiple channels in the past six months; however, 87% said that brands must work harder to create a seamless experience for customers.

What matters most to customers?
Speed of response (89%) and speed of resolution (89%) are the top priorities for consumers, followed by the friendliness of representative that they are dealing with (82%). However, customers’ expectations vary by channel when it comes to resolution time.

  • 59% expect resolution within 30 minutes of contacting by phone
  • 52% expect resolution within a day of posting to social media
  • 75% expect resolution within a day of sending an email

Consistency seems to be important, with more than a third (37%) of consumers expecting to be able to reach the same representative regardless of which channel they’re using.

Where do consumers go when all else fails?
Even though customers now have multiple channels available to them, they still revert back to the phone if they don’t get a response. Phone-based customer service is not declining even though text-based and social channel usage are increasing.

  • When an email goes unanswered: 71% would then call
  • When social media goes unanswered: 55% would then call
  • When a phone call goes unanswered: 54% would call again

How can companies benefit?
The survey results really reinforce the fact that businesses that invest in omnichannel customer service and do it well can reap big rewards. Three-quarters of surveyed consumers would return to businesses with excellent customer service, a third would spend more money, and over half would recommend the business to friends and family. What more could a business ask for?

Read the full report: The Omnichannel Customer Service Gap