There is No Denying the Numbers: Texting Is the Preferred Method of Customer Service Communications across Industry Verticals
A recent Harris Poll of two thousand adults on their frustrations with customer service, just under half (48 percent) of those surveyed said it would be convenient and appreciated if companies offered a text-messaging option for customer service.
This near majority of U.S. adults expressed their frustration with being tied to a phone or computer while waiting for customer service help and not having a communications option beyond that.
Among those with text-messaging capability and who use texting regularly, 64 percent of those responded that they would prefer to accomplish most customer service activities through text messaging as opposed to over the phone.
As expected the survey found younger consumers are more likely to embrace text messaging as a customer service option—with three-quarters of surveyed adults between the age of 18 and 34 with text capability would prefer to interact with companies through texting. Remarkably, younger adults age 18-34 are twice as likely as those 35 and over to stay loyal to a company that offers SMS customer service. That is a big deal!
Big Contract Call Centers Leading the Text Service Movement
Most people already use texting in a business setting and may not realize it. For instance, we text with our banks, personal trainers, and housekeepers, we text with airlines to confirm flights and we even text with Google to reset passwords. Many times text is already so integrated that we don’t realize we are already doing it. With how busy we all are, getting some extra time back not waiting on hold or tied to a computer is very attractive makes so much sense.
The report also revealed that parents with children under age 18 in the household are also more likely to want to perform customer service activities through text messaging (61 percent) over those without children (43 percent). This is particularly interesting for auto dealers whose at-home mothers end up getting the car serviced most of the time.
Texting and customer service
Nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed said it would be convenient for them if companies offered a text messaging option for customer service, and 44 percent of those with text capability say they would rather press a button to initiate a text conversation immediately instead of waiting on hold to speak with a live agent.
The top reasons for customer service activities people with text messaging capability would most prefer to handle through the channel include checking order status (38 percent) and scheduling or changing appointments (32 percent).
The top two were closely followed by the ability to make or confirm reservations (31 percent), ask a question (30 percent), find a store location (30 percent) or check balances or due dates (30 percent).
Refilling orders (29 percent) and the ability to reset a password (27 percent) were among the top areas where consumers felt text messaging would provide an improvement in customer service.
The survey indicated text-enabling customer service can also have a positive impact on a brand, with just under two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers with text capability have at least one of the following positive reactions to a company that offers SMS as a customer service channel.
Customers have proven that they will choose a service channel based on what is most appropriate for what they are trying to accomplish and their channel preference. For instance, texting works well when you want to multitask, are in a noise-sensitive environment or simply don’t want to talk to someone.
Awareness of Customer Service Trends: More Important Than Most Customer Service Managers Understand.
The very key to successful customer service is being aware of what new technology foundations can provide to your customers. The results of this survey obviously indicate that texting as a customer service channel is not only accepted by a fast growing segment of the population; but also a competitive necessity to keep abreast of competitors who already provide it.
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