The call center channel remains the customer’s contact channel of choice for resolving an inquiry or problem. Many people are surprised about the continued popularity of the call center channel given the expansion of contact channels available (e.g., web self-service, IVR self-service, chat, email, mobile) and that younger generations (i.e., Y and X) are the highest users of contact channels for resolving an inquiry or problem. In our recent customer contact channel usage research study, we asked the question, “If you could use any method of contact with a company to resolve your inquiry or problem, what contact method would you prefer?” The responses to that question show that customer channel preference is wide ranging. However, the call center channel has the highest customer contact channel preference at 48%. Overall, the channels that use a CSR (i.e., call center, email, and branch) are customers’ contact channels of preference for resolving an inquiry or problem. This underscores the importance of CSRs for assisting customers in resolving an inquiry or problem. Online contact channels, such as web self-service and chat, are second highest in preference at 18%. Organizations have substantially expanded functionality on self-service channels (i.e., web, mobile, and IVR) for resolving a wider variety of contact types; however, for the majority of customers the call center is still the channel of choice, especially if the inquiry or problem is complex. The online chat channel is a relatively new contact channel preference. The chat channel usage just a few years ago was extremely low; however, the chat channel is becoming more popular.
Contact Channel Preference by Age Profile