We live in an age of multichannel customer service. It is common for consumers today to be using around five or six channels when they want to interact with a brand. Voice calls, chat on instant messenger, email, reviews or forums, Twitter, Facebook… and the list could go on, but those half a dozen are really the most common channels today.
This is complicated by the fact that consumers jump around the channels. A customer might email a question and call because they have not had a reply for several hours and maybe even tweet about their unanswered email – customers are hopping around channels and much of the time not even directing many of their complaints specifically at the brands concerned.
But one of the big myths about these multichannel-savvy consumers that I have heard over and over again is that it’s really only the young who are behaving like this. I know that this assumption is wrong because I can see friends and family of all ages communicating with each other on Facebook and using tools like Tripadvisor before booking a restaurant or hotel.
This research published on eConsultancy throws some light on just how much the growth of multichannel customer service has changed the way we all interact with brands. It’s true that the young (under 24s) have used social channels more than any other demographic group, but look at the over 55s in this research with 27.4% of them contacting brands using social tools.
These numbers are growing every year. Managing this complex mix of social and traditional channels is no longer just a nice-to-have function that makes your customer service team look ahead of the curve – it’s essential if you want to answer your customers.
Photo by Mark Hunter licensed under Creative Commons