A Forrester study of online customer service channel usage and satisfaction yielded some surprising results.  Not only has online customer service channel usage changed dramatically in the past two years, it’s shifted in unexpected ways — and there are significant differences in customer satisfaction between customer service channels, particularly among different age groups, noted Forrester eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals Analyst Diane Clarkson.

Forrester’s research, entitled “Understanding Customer Service Satisfaction To Inform Your 2012 eBusiness Strategy,” challenges some long-held assumptions about online customer service and customer behavior, Clarkson writes on her Forrester blog, including:

  • Not everyone prefers the telephone. Clarkson said call deflection is win-win when it gives other options to consumers who prefer support channels other than the telephone. This is echoed in Forrester data that shows Generations Z and X have higher satisfaction chatting online with a live agent rather than speaking on the telephone with a live agent.
  • Social support is not just for younger consumers. While community support and Twitter are most widely adopted among younger consumers, don’t assume social support is the domain of younger consumers: online community support is also used by 30% of consumers between the ages of 32 to 45 and 20% of online consumers between the ages of 46 to 55.
  • Don’t underestimate the high demand of the senior segment. While we may stereotypically associate impatience with youthful generations, there is a higher likelihood of impatience among Older Boomers and Seniors when it comes to wanting quick answers online and a greater likelihood of abandonment if a website fails to deliver.

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