Survey: Companies failing to deliver on omnichannel customer service

San Francisco – Seventy-three percent of consumers think that companies are paying more attention to generating sales across multiple channels than they are in delivering a seamless customer service experience across those same channels, according to a global survey of 7,000 consumers in seven countries. Meanwhile, when consumers can’t get an answer or fast response elsewhere, they are falling back to phone support as their primary contact method.

The report, “The Omnichannel Customer Service Gap,” was produced by Loudhouse, an independent research agency based in London, on behalf of Zendesk, a provider of cloud-based software for better customer service. It is based on surveys of 7,000 online shoppers between the ages of 18-64 in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan and the U.K.

In the survey, more than one-third (37%) of consumers said they increasingly expect to be able to contact the same customer service representative regardless of the channel they use, and another 47% expect to be able to return goods or purchases through a different channel than the one they purchased from. Despite those expectations, only 7% are extremely satisfied with the omnichannel experience for customer service.

“The customer journey doesn’t end at checkout,” said J.D. Peterson, VP of marketing at Zendesk. “Brands are failing to match their omnichannel efforts in sales with their customer service experiences. To meet the demands of today’s consumers, they need to create seamless customer service across every channel.”

Poor service across channels is leading consumers to turn to phone support as a failsafe. When an email is unanswered, 71% will then phone; when social media is unanswered, 55% will then phone; and if the phone is unanswered, 54% will try to call again. Because of their perception that the phone has the quickest response, 54% of consumers still use it as their first contact for support.

U.S. shoppers are the least likely than shoppers in any other country surveyed to use multiple channels for a purchase. Only 51% of Americans reported using multiple channels when making a purchase in the past six months, compared to the worldwide average of 67%. Brazilian consumers reported the highest levels of multiple channel usage at 86%.

A company’s rewards program and its reputation for good service matter more to U.S. consumer than shoppers in other countries. Seventy-one percent of U.S. shoppers believe being rewarded for purchases, feedback, and referrals is important, compared to the global average of 66%. Additionally, 84% of U.S. shoppers consider a company’s reputation for customer service as being important when choosing a vendor, compared to 78% of consumers worldwide.

Speed of service also falls short of expectations in the United States. While 88% of U.S. consumers surveyed cite the speed of response and resolution as important, only half of respondents believe that brands are “good” or “excellent” when it comes to speed of response (50%) and resolution (51%).

The full report is available at here.

Click the graphic below for a larger view.

 

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