Due to the growing number of channels available and younger consumers reaching adulthood, expectations for customer service have been changing.
According to an October 2018 survey of US internet users by Zendesk, compared with five years ago, more are looking for answers on their own, expect less complicated interactions, and want more options for contacting customer service. A majority (65%) also expect customer service to be faster now than in the recent past.
In an August 2018 survey by Aspect Software, consumer-reported incidences of customer service contact had declined over the past few years, from 71% in 2015 to 62% in 2018. But it's not as if consumers have fewer questions or issues. This decline can be explained in part because close to half (47%) did not consider self-service interactions to be customer service contact. The definition of customer service is evolving, especially among younger consumers.
When millennials were asked about different customer service scenarios, most thought requesting a callback from a company (76%) and using an interactive voice response system without talking to an agent (66%) counted as customer service. Fewer were in agreement that using a chatbot for recommendations and basic questions (48%) or getting text reminders (36%) qualifies as customer service.
Despite multiple studies that have shown consumers aren't fully comfortable using chatbots—at least for complex requests—42% of US internet users are comfortable with nonhuman customer service interactions, according to Aspect. Millennials were the age group with the largest number on board with chatbots (63%).
The most used customer service channel is still the phone (34%), while chatting (25%) and messaging apps (10%) are on the rise. In fact, the number of consumers using messaging apps doubled since 2017.