Don’t Make Your Customers Come to You: 5 Reasons to Embrace Mobile Channels

woman wearing sunglasses holding phone facing out


[Estimated read time: 5 minutes]

A recent Harris poll found that 81% of respondents are frustrated by being tied to a phone or computer for customer service. As smartphones and tablets become more and more prevalent – 4 in 10 households don’t have a landline, twice the rate from just five years ago – consumers will increasingly demand access to customer service through mobile channels.

Here’s why companies need to embrace mobile channels.

1. A lack of mobile support will lower your CSAT by 5% (Gartner)

Three out of four consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do, so it’s not surprising that today’s customers are demanding a multi-channel experience that allows them to communicate with you when and where it’s convenient for them. They want the efficiency of a real-time conversation without the disruption and inconvenience of a phone call.

Foodtruck man using a smartphone to interact with Mobile Channels for Customer Service

Consider the example of Microsoft: The Reddit community dedicated to the Xbox One has over 100,000 subscribers. Instead of asking those users to spend time and effort contacting the company through one of its typical channels, Microsoft started offering official tech support on Reddit. The lesson? Find your customers where they are – don’t make them come to you.

2. 52% of consumers would prefer to contact customer service by text (eWeek)

And 47% said that texting could improve their overall satisfaction with customer service. Almost two-thirds of Harris poll participants with texting capability would prefer to use it over voice to communicate with a brand. In fact, a CFI Group study reported texting as the highest-rated contact method for customer satisfaction: it earned 90 out of 100 points, while phone only earned 77.

Woman with smartphone using Mobile Channels for Customer Service

When you combine the high satisfaction levels of texting with its widespread usage, it quickly becomes clear that if you’re not offering texting as a customer service channel, you need to be. More than 68 million people are frequent text users, and texting is the most-used smartphone app. Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone. And while only 43% of that group use their phones to make voice calls, over 70% of them text.

3. Failure to respond on social media can lead to a 15% increase in churn (Gartner)

Over two-thirds of consumers have used social media to access customer service, and one-third prefer it over phone to communicate with brands. Still, only about 3% of all customer communications take place on social media. So why is it so important?

Because social media interactions are almost always public, and they’re easy to share. One interaction, whether positive or negative, can reach thousands of people within minutes. More than 40% of consumers will share a good experience on social media, and 53% will share a bad one. And 47% of Americans say Facebook is their top influence when making purchasing decisions.

Consumers demand a lot from their interactions on social media. Many assume brands are using the channel as frequently as individuals and will respond just as quickly: 50% of consumers on Twitter expect a response in less than two hours. And 57% of social media users think responses should come just as fast at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.

The potential risks might tempt you to avoid social media altogether, but Gartner analyst Carol Rozwell warns, “It’s important that organizations don’t let a fear of someone saying something bad about them stop them from participating in social media.”

Failing to participate can have negative consequences (like that increased churn mentioned above), but the flipside carries valuable benefits: Consumers will spend 20-40% more with a brand if it’s engaging with them on social media. Those who experience a quick and effective response are nearly three times more likely to recommend a brand than those who don’t receive a response. And brand advocates – highly satisfied customers who recommend your brand without compensation – drive 33% more sales and 18% more traffic than regular customers. 

4. 45% of customers will abandon a cart if their questions aren’t answered quickly (Forrester)

Until recently, live chat was confined to desktop web interactions, but brands are increasingly using messenger apps like Facebook Messenger and What’s App – both of which offer voice and video capabilities along with text-based chat – to provide real-time customer service.

People using Mobile chat for Customer Service as they sit on mopeds in traffic

Live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73% compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone. Of those who prefer live chat, 42% say its most important benefit is instant access to an agent without hold time – the majority of consumers say they hate waiting for longer than a minute for support.

Almost a third of online shoppers say they would be more likely to make a purchase after a live chat, and more than half say a lack of interaction has actually kept them from making a purchase. In addition, 44% say that having a live person answer their questions during a purchase is one of the most important features a company can offer.

Agents also see the value of live chat: 88% of them rate live chat as good or very good because they can avoid putting a customer on hold, reduce the need for small talk, and increase efficiency by handling more than one interaction at a time.

5. Mobile ecommerce sales are projected to be $626 billion by 2018 (Goldman Sachs)

Consumers want to interact with organizations in the moment, and their smartphones let them do that. Smartphone users will reach one billion this year, with more than half using their devices to make a purchase.

It’s no coincidence that almost all of the top online U.S. retailers have developed mobile apps. Successful companies will take advantage of the mobile explosion by creating opportunities to engage with their customers at every step of their purchasing journeys.