A recent study by intent-based solutions company NICE Systems found the telephone is the preferred method for 88 percent of people seeking to resolve customer service issues, suggesting that real-life interactions are still paramount to customer satisfaction.

Despite double-digit growth in social media and mobile app use for customer service since 2011, these channels remain the least preferred, while speaking to live reps via telephone resolves at least 69 percent of customer service issues.

“The usage of multiple channels continues to grow… Yet, the majority of customers still prefer to speak with a live service representative over the phone to get their issue resolved quickly,” said president of the NICE Enterprise Group, Yochai Rozenblat, in a press release.

customer service

NICE surveyed 1,206 consumers between the ages of 18 and 65 to assess their satisfaction across customer service channels. The following areas were highlighted in the study:

  • Consumers’ satisfaction with various customer service channels
  • How and why customers move from one channel to the next
  • Frequency of use on particular channels
  • Connection of channel use and preference to brand loyalty

Most people use an average of six or seven customer service channels; millennials, in particular, are least interested in social media for resolving customer service issues.

After the telephone, the most-used customer service channels are self-service via websites, interactive voice response, email, visits to a physical location, live chat, smartphone apps, text messages, social media and online forums, respectively.

“As overall channel usage increases, it reinforces the need for a seamless and effortless customer experience across all channels,” said Rozenblat.

“It’s possible that a year or two from now we’ll see consumers using many more channels, as new methods are developed. Now is the time to get closer to your customers, understand their preferences, personalize interactions, and take charge of the multi-channel customer service journey.”

The study also found that customers who expend little effort to resolve an issue are 96 percent more loyal to their service providers.