For customer service, UK consumers prefer email and phone to social media

Most UK consumers prefer to receive customer service from businesses over the phone or via email, rather than through social media, a vendor-backed study has claimed.

In a survey of over 500 UK consumers, just 2% said social media was their preferred method of interaction with businesses. This compares to 52% who prefer email and 19% who prefer the telephone. 

“Our research revealed some startling statistics,” said Shamus Kelly, CEO of customer service technology consultancy Portal, which sponsored the research. “We suspect that social media platforms aren’t taking off as favoured customer service channels because, more often than not, complaints are too complex to explain in a short post.”

“Our experience is that consumers turn to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as a last resort, using them as platforms to publicly condemn a brand following a frustrating experience, rather than a first port of call,” he added.

Respondents were also asked what their preferred method of contact was two years ago, last year and now. According to their recollections, while email was the most popular method of contact in 2010, its lead over phone extended dramatically in 2011.

The study also quizzed 503 UK business on their preferred mode of communication for resolving customers support issues. Face-to-face interaction was the preferrred method for 42% of businesses, while 32% preferred email. Just 3% preferred social media.

Clearly, though, the sample was not especially mature in its use of social media, with 82% of companies saying they do not actively monitor their brand’s reputation on social media sites.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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