Engaging customers and winning their loyalty can be hard work. If you can’t solve their problem the first time, you risk losing their loyalty. If customers need to talk to multiple people or switch channels to get their problem solved, or if they don’t receive service on their preferred channels, they become less loyal. And increasingly, if you can’t anticipate their next problem, they offer less future value to your business.

The rise in multichannel touchpoints has greatly complicated the end-to-end customer journey, especially with the increased use of mobile devices. Yet, customers expect consistent and personalized experiences—no matter which channel they use.

Your Customers Are Talking

Listening to Customer Preferences

This rise in multichannel touchpoints does not mean that voice is going away. In fact, voice is still the preferred customer channel in most cases. However, the dynamics and use of voice are changing. The voice channel is more often becoming the escalation channel—where focus can be given on more complex interactions.

The Genesys State of Customer Experience research shows:

  • Consumer use: Voice interactions with a live agent is the primary channel consumers use.
  • Consumer preference: Voice remains the prefered interaction channel but drops slightly to 83 percent, while mobile messaging jumps to 53% preference use.
  • Use versus preference: There’s a clear shift to using mobile messaging as a preferred channel.
  • Customer Service/Support Channels Used

  • Customer Service/Support Channels Preferred

  • Customer Service/Support Channels Used and Preferred

“A phone conversation allows for a true understanding
of the issue, which is not always well explained by
a (text based) message”

—Consumer survey respondent

Then and Now

The Evolving Customer Use Case

  • Customer Service/Support Channels Used (Consumers)

  • Customer Service/Support Channels Preferred (Consumers)

Between 2014 and 2017, phone, email and website use fell significantly among customers. While contacting a live agent on the  phone remains high, mobile messaging preference levels are on par with those of web chat and email.

This represents 43 percent growth over the past three years in preference for mobile messaging as a service and support channel.

Fifty-three percent of respondents prefer mobile messaging, which demonstrates the ongoing shift away from phone and email.

Channel Satisfaction Matters

Bridge the Divide Between Effectiveness and Satisfaction

While it’s vital to understand your customers’ channel use and preferences, understanding channel satisfaction is also important.  Most businesses don’t have a good grasp on which channels offer their customers the most satisfaction. Interestingly, the results differ from use and preference.

  • Voice ranks almost evenly with mobile messaging when it comes to consumer satisfaction.
  • Email ranks lower in overall satisfaction.  

In the Genesys State of Customer Experience research, we asked businesses to rate the effectiveness of each channel.

However, there is a divide between consumer satisfaction and business effectiveness of various channels, with mobile messaging showing the smallest gap in perception. Therefore, mobile messaging is both a preferred channel and an effective one for businesses

When it comes to consumer satisfaction, it’s important to recognize that not all channels are equal. You could deem a channel effective, but your customers may not be satisfied using it.  

Channel Preferences Change

Not All Interactions Are The Same

When you think about customer experience, every customer’s needs and goals, as well as each individual situation, is different. For example, one customer might need technical support on a product or service while another wants an update on an order status..

In the survey, we asked consumers what their most common types of interactions were and which channel they preferred to use for each type. The results were interesting—and preferences often depend on demographics, such as region and age.

Customer service and support

Phone is still the prefered channel for service and support, but there are significant regional variances for mobile messaging. And when looking at consumer age, there’s a sharp contrast: millennials rank voice and mobile messaging about the same, while baby boomers rank voice much higher than mobile messaging.

Product purchase and order tracking

In this area, voice drops sharply while mobile messaging, website and email rank higher. 

Account access and bill payment

Consumers in Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions use mobile messaging followed by website while in the rest of the world consumers prefer the website.

Appointment scheduling

Respondents in Asia Pacific use voice and mobile messaging nearly equally, while respondents in Latin America prefer mobile messaging over voice. North American respondents show a strong preference for voice and website. And when age is factored in, millennials prefer to use mobile messaging to schedule appointments, while Baby Boomers prefer voice.

Information gathering

Most respondents prefer websites and forums to gather information, especially in North America. In Latin America, however, mobile messaging and voice are preferred. Older respondents, such as Baby Boomers, prefer to use a website to gather information, while millennials prefer mobile messaging.

Omnichannel Engagement Best Practices

Six Ways to Make It Happen 

In most cases, the difference between ordinary and an exceptional experience lies with the ability to engage customers on their terms and provide consistent, meaningful journeys across all engagement channels.

There are six factors to consider when deciding which channel to deploy next:

1 What types of interactions are needed? What problems are your customers trying to solve?

2 What is your customer segmentation? You must know the value of each customer segment and understand what they need when it comes to their overall experience with your company. You should also consider any regional variances.

3 Consider the entire customer journey for each segment and spend time engaged in mapping —from customer acquisition through support and resale.

4 Evaluate existing channels and infrastructure, and learn how each relates to your customer experience strategy, including routing, reporting and artificial intelligence (AI).

5 Consider staffing needs, including automating simple tasks to increase efficiency across channels. Not all agents can manage every interaction type.

6 Evaluate mobile messaging as an engagement channel. Demographics are changing—you need to be ready. You’ll also gain value from greater efficiencies and elevated brand perception that mobile messaging service and support will bring.

Customer Experience Isn't Easy: Let Us Help You

Attend a Free, Fast-Track Customer Experience Workshop

Get started with a free, no obligation, onsite customer experience assessment workshop, which reveals what’s possible in a Genesys-enabled world. Our consultants will map those possibilities to your specific business and customer experience objectives, and identify what you need to reach those goals. The outcome will be a strategy that propels your current and future customer experience success.

Book Your Workshop Now!

What New Channels Will You Add to Improve Customer Experiences?

Check out the Gartner report, Alternative Channels for Engaging Customers of the Future.