When an issue or question arises, 47% of people prefer to contact a company for customer service over email than any other channel, according to our new survey. That’s right. Email beat phone (23%), Web chat (23%) and social messaging sites (2%).
Over the last few years, we’ve seen companies de-priotritize email as channels like Facebook Messenger and WeChat emerged as ways to engage in 1:1 conversations. But while companies funneled more and more resources into these other channels, the change in consumer behavior has not been as swift.
Today, people expect to be able to get support on their channel of choice and demand convenience. As our study revealed, in order to provide the support that customers expect and can make a positive impact on your business, companies need to reprioritize email. Companies should focus on modernizing the support that they provide customers in their inbox, before looking at other channels.
Customer support email offers unique benefits that other channels lack:
- It’s inherently convenient because the entire interaction is on the customer’s terms; it’s not necessary for a customer to wait on hold or interact with a live agent in real-time (40% of people say this is why they choose email)
- Email is used in our daily personal and professional lives and is readily available across all of our devices (43% of people say this is why they choose email)
- There is a record of the conversation that can be referenced at any time (43% of people say this is why they choose email)
How is email customer support performing
As you can see, email needs to be the top priority in 2020, not only because it’s what customers expect but also because it is falling so short today.
While companies have been focused on other channels, the support they provide on email support has suffered. Surprisingly, 62% of companies do not respond to customer service emails1. Customers expect businesses to respond to their emails within an hour2. The average response time to customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes.
Bringing AI into your workforce can help companies dramatically reduce response time. A virtual agent can recommend responses to human agents to respond quicker or even respond immediately without human intervention.