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Vonage Study Highlights Customer Frustrations with Support Experiences

By Tracey E. Schelmetic January 25, 2024

If you’re offering customer support today, determining *how* to offer it remains a challenge. Customers from different demographic groups prefer different communications channels, for instance.

Still, one thing is certain: Customers like having a sizeable mix of ways to communicate with companies.

In this vein, the research arm of cloud communications company Vonage recently released its “Global Customer Engagement Report 2024.” The 12th annual report provides data-based insight into customer communications preferences with businesses, highlighting emerging trends that emphasize the need to augment these interactions with artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance customer engagement.

According to the study, consumers continue to prefer a range of channel options when communicating with businesses, with mobile phone calls (36%), messaging/non-SMS apps (31%) and phone calls via apps (29%) ranking high in preference. However, less than half (42%) indicated they are "very satisfied" when communicating with businesses.

In other words, many companies simply aren’t getting the mix right, or they are failing to properly support the channels they do offer. Customers who wish to speak to an agent are frustrated by long wait times for live agents, a gripe that topped the list of complaints with 63%of customers reporting experiencing it. Other complaints included not finding a way to speak to customer service via voice/phone (59%), a lack of 24/7 support availability (48%) and lack of self-service support (46%).

While customers’ respective levels of patience may be growing thin, so too (unfortunately) appears to be their loyalty. The report found that nearly three-quarters of customers – 74%– said they are likely to take their business elsewhere as a result of poor experiences, and for nearly half (46%), just one or two negative encounters are enough to prompt their departure. The report’s authors noted that the findings underscore opportunities to leverage AI. With tools like AI-based virtual assistants, businesses are equipped to provide quick resolution, reduce frustrations and ultimately provide a more targeted and personalized experience for the user.

"This data underscores that, to differentiate on customer engagement, businesses need an omnichannel communications strategy that allows customers to contact them seamlessly across their preferred channels,” said Joy Corso, Chief Marketing Officer at Vonage. “Those that do will also benefit from the ability to leverage the powerful capabilities of AI across communication channels, such as voice, video, messaging, and chat, enabling them to augment live customer support. This goes a long way to ensuring personal and real-time customer engagement at every touchpoint."

Edited by Alex Passett
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