The Changing Face of Customer Service

Good customer service is an essential business practice. Modern customers often make a purchasing decision based on efficient, personalised customer service and communication as opposed to brand loyalty, as revealed by the findings of a recent survey.

Harris Interactive and inContact conducted the survey which examined changing customer service preferences and trends of behaviour. More than 200 adults were presented with a variety of questions about their purchasing decisions and some of the results were surprising.

56% of the people surveyed said they would be at least 'somewhat likely' to switch brands based on the customer service options offered. The expectation for companies to offer multiple forms of interaction and flexible timing was incredibly high; over 86% of respondents indicated this as a factor influencing their choice of product or service provider. An overwhelming 96% of people surveyed felt that it was important for companies to provide email communication facilities.

Other desired customer service communication methods included a live online chat service (77% of respondents) and the use of social networking sites (54% of respondents). The most preferred option was to be able to communicate with the company using a mobile device, with 84% of respondents indicating this factor. Paul Jarman, CEO of inContact, said, "the smartest companies are quickly adapting to changing consumer behaviors and needs, extending customer service beyond just phone and email to mobile apps, text messaging, chat and social media."

The results of the survey show that e-commerce internet marketing must continue to adapt and respond to changing customer requirements. Offering a multitude of ways to connect, browse products and services and share information is crucial in order to remain popular with customers and maintain a leading position on the ever-growing market. Brand loyalty, once the ruling factor in purchasing decisions, can now no longer be completely relied upon.

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