NICE: Millennials Prefer Live Agents over Social Media in the Contact Center

The use of social media and mobile apps for customer service has doubled since 2011, but according to the new NICE Systems Global Customer Experience Survey, 88 percent of customers still elect to pick up the phone and call.

“On average, customers use about six different channels to contact companies for various customer service questions, issues, or complaints – ranging from social media to email to trying to solve the problem by themselves on the company Web site,” said Yochai Rozenblat, president, NICE Enterprise Group, in a statement. “The usage of multiple channels continues to grow, especially in the areas of social media, online and direct chat platforms, and apps. Yet, the majority of customers still prefer to speak with a live service representative over the phone to get their issue resolved quickly.”

NICE surveyed 1,206 consumers between the ages of 18 and 65 to assess their satisfaction with customer service channels, to understand how and why customers move from one channel to the next, and to discover their behavior and frequency of use on particular channels and how they influence brand loyalty.

  • Phone is king – 88 percent choose to speak with a live rep over the phone: Connecting with a customer service representative over the phone is in fact the most used channel, with Web site self-service following closely behind (83 percent). In addition, no matter what channel they are using, customers like having the option of turning to a live phone representative as their next choice.
  • Social media, live chat, and smartphone app use has doubled since 2011: 73 percent of customers have used multiple contact methods over the past six months to reach a customer service provider. While more customers are turning to emerging channels, they still prefer live interactions. Sixty-four percent of the people using a smartphone app want it to facilitate connection to a live rep. Despite the increase in channel use, social media has a 29 percent success rate in resolving customer service issues as compared to 69 percent over the phone, and only 1 percent of respondents found social media to be the most satisfying channel, signifying that these modes of customer service still need improvement.
  • For customer service interactions, Millennials give lower preference to social media channels: While Millennials are more likely to use social media channels as compared to older age groups, respondents actually prefer to speak to a live rep via phone or use Web site self-service when it comes to customer service issues.
  • Make it personal and effortless – customers want companies to remember their past three to five interactions: Customers expect companies to deliver service continuation, no matter what channel was used. An effortless customer service experience has a high reward as well – 96 percent of consumers who expended little effort while resolving an issue with their service provider reported high loyalty.

“As overall channel usage increases, it reinforces the need for a seamless and effortless customer experience across all channels,” said Rozenblat. “It’s possible that a year or two from now we’ll see consumers using many more channels, as new methods are developed. Now is the time to get closer to your customers, understand their preferences, personalize interactions, and take charge of the multichannel customer service journey.”

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Millennials are more likely to file customer complaints than other generations, even Baby Boomers, according to a report from J.D. Power. The study of more than 600,000 consumers revealed that Millennials have a lower tolerance for customer service issues, errors, and delays than Boomers,tend to value effective issue resolution more than their older counterparts, and tend to reward brands that solve customer service challenges with their loyalty.

Posted April 01, 2016