55% of Customer Service Interactions Now Begin Online

Consumers today expect to engage with brands just as easily online and on their mobile devices as they do on the phone or in person (if not more so). Microsoft’s 2016 State of Global Customer Service Report shows that globally, 55% of consumers’ customer service interactions now begin online rather than on the phone or in person. This percentage jumps to 65% for consumers ages 18 - 34.

Of those online interactions, 28% now typically begin on a mobile device. Again, this percentage jumps for age 18 – 34 consumers, where 34% of their online customer service interactions typically begin on mobile. 

Searching for Answers

Three-fourths (75%) of the 5,000 consumers surveyed note they have used a search engine to try and find answers to their customer service questions. For 18 – 34-year-olds, 89% say they use search engines for customer service. 

On a related note, 90% of global consumers expect a brand or organization to have an online self-service offering and will reward brands who put self-service answers and information in their customers’ hands. Sixty-six (66%) of global consumers have a more favorable view of brands whose self-service portals are mobile responsive. And again, the next generation shows where service must head with 81% of consumers ages 18 – 34 having a more favorable view of these brands. 

An Imperative, Not a Trend

While these numbers continue to go up, make no mistake. Mobile customer engagement is no longer a trend; it is an imperative:
 

  • In a recent Pew Research Center study of U.S. consumers, 46% of the 2,000 surveyed say their smartphone is something they “couldn’t live without.”
     
  • More than 90% of consumers use their smartphones while shopping, according to a new retail survey: 54% compare prices, 48% search for product information, and 42% read reviews.
     
  • According to Deloitte’s global mobile consumer survey, last year, mobile payments increased by almost four times.
     

From shopping to banking and even B2B and B2G interactions, online and mobile interaction is the new norm and brands and organizations must make it easier than ever to engage. Said G2 Crowd’s Chief Research Officer Michael Fauscette recently at CRM Evolution on mobile, “It’s just the way I connect; I want the software to not care. If you’re on the consumer end of it, mobile is just a channel, not many channels (email, chat, self-serve, etc.).”

Are you putting service and engagement in your customers’ hands?