“While the majority of customers (84 percent) still prefer a live phone call”: that doesn’t seem right. The company I work for, Issuetrak, has seen a steady decline in customers contacting us via phone (45% in 2012 to 33% in 2014), and a steady increase in customers contacting us via digital methods (50% in 2012 to 64% in 2014). I think there may be some concerns regarding how the data has been interpreted. “Traditional” is the only category that is strictly phone only. You can’t combine that with the “Combination” category, which is a combination of “traditional” and “digital” categories and say that a majority of customers “prefer a live phone call.”
More importantly though, the survey from which this information is pulled doesn’t ask participants “Which form of communication do you prefer?” The actual question posed to them was “Which of the following industries did you have your most recent customer service experience?” and subsequently, when they did so, “What type of communication did you use?”
And, the answer to that inquiry is that certain industries (e.g., Telecommunications, Retail, Banking, and Broadband) are contacted for “customer care” far more often than other industries (e.g., Healthcare, Technology, Entertainment, Travel, etc.). Of those industries, Telecommunications, Banking, and Broadband rely heavily on “strictly traditional” forms of communication (e.g., Phone).
From a technology/digital perspective, it’s not difficult to see “Telecommunications” and “Banking” as older industries that rely on archaic methods of communication. They’re also the same industries more likely to force customers into contacting them in a certain way in order to resolve certain issues. It’s not surprising that the telecommunications industry has a 30% “strictly traditional” usage; they can “require” customers to call them on the phone. And, I don’t know about you, but when my broadband is out, I kinda have to contact them in a “strictly traditional” way.
I’d be very interested in seeing a PwC survey where participants are asked to rank various forms of communication based on preference. We’d certainly be interested in seeing that kind of data, especially if it included “self-service” as one of the forms of communication. In my opinion, if the customer can answer and solve their issues without having to contact us in the first place, it’s a win-win for both the customer and us.
Cloud & Data Services Administrator, Issuetrak