Our LinkedIn Community has been a hub of activity lately, with our members posting a number of interesting polls.
Marc posted a poll that asked our industry professionals ‘Which is better as a communication channel?’
With 1,054 responses, this poll was one of the most popular in recent weeks and we wanted to share the results with you in case you missed it.
It is important to note that because it was a LinkedIn poll the author was only able to provide four options for respondents to choose from. We should also note that the authors use of the word ‘better’ within the question suggests that they were looking for the ‘better’ channel for customers and contact centres not necessarily the most used.
With 40% of respondents selecting WhatsApp, an instant messaging app, as the ‘better’ channel, it may be that contact centres are seeing the need for communication with customers on channels that suit them, and where their contact reason can be resolved within a single interaction.
This is a hypothesis that is supported by an additional 37% of respondents choosing ‘voice’ as the ‘better’ channel.
Only 12% selected webchat, though it is unclear if this referred to channels that are manned by bots or human agents.
The overall results suggest that potentially ‘better’ channels are ones that are connected to human agents, or involve a human touch, and that allow customers to resolve their enquiries within a single interaction.
Email was the least popular option for the ‘better’ communication channel, although with the options available, this is not a surprise as email correspondence is generally slower than the other communication channels.
In addition to the high volume of responses, a number of industry professionals also made comments, explaining their choices and providing additional insights into the results:
It’s Situationally Variable
It’s situationally variable. Emotive is better on voice, but for most other things, I prefer asynchronous digital.
Thanks to Tina
Customers Should Have Choice
Depends on customer demographic, technology, and the core function of the channel + cost and effectiveness – customers should have the choice of how to make contact.
Thanks to Dom
Long Live Voice
Voice is cool. Long live voice.
Thanks to David
It depends on the type of business, what type of service/support your customers are seeking. And also on what channel your customers prefer to use.
Thanks to Wendy
It all depends on the query and the actual customer. Multichannel to suit all wants and needs.
Thanks to Simon
Voice Is a Must Have, but the Better Channel Is One That Works for the Customer
You asked which is better as a communications channel?
The better channel is the channel that works best for the consumer of the service being offered.
So, it is super-important that the organization has a multichannel communications platform that can receive and respond to the service consumers across any communications channel. But voice is still the channel that is a must have.
Thanks to Andrew
No Abandoned Contacts
No abandoned contacts with channels like WhatsApp for one example.
Thanks to Balram
Depends on the Situation and Variable
Depends on the situation and variable. Sometimes the customer is busy, and then we use WhatsApp. When it needs clarification and the customer agrees to a call, the best way is voice.
Thanks to Anggraini
There’s No Short Answer
That’s a great question and the answer isn’t a short one. It depends on so many variables, which is why we’ve built a solution that determines exactly what channel should be offered to each customer/visitor on an individual basis.
Thanks to Paul
Difficult to Generalize
Different channels have their own relevant strengths and weaknesses… The answer to this question is entirely scenario based and is very difficult to generalize.
Thanks to Oliver
There Is No Single Ideal Channel
Depends on country, query type and how good the company is at responding.
I am transforming/centralizing an Eastern European division of a global company. Romania likes WhatsApp, Poland prefers voice and email. Webchat is not huge, but then the company didn’t have it set up correctly so it provided a poor service.
The UK likes voice still but will use webchat.
There is no single ideal channel for customer interaction. The key factor is whatever channel you use, make sure it is set up to service the customer well.
Thanks to Adam
A Question for Customers
A question for customers and what they want to achieve. They decide.
Thanks to Sean
If they opt in to text, that has shown to be the best! People are busy! Through text they can quickly communicate with you even at work! They don’t feel like they have to wait until they get off, check email or wait in a queue.
Thanks to Dorothea
Reason for Contact
Lots of variables to consider here, but the key one is what the customer’s intent (reason for contact) is. An intent’s urgency, complexity and emotional importance will impact channel preference, effectiveness, and experience.
Generally, asynchronous messaging channels are growing steadily, and I’ve seen some amazing results in both CSAT and operating efficiencies when implemented correctly, especially when leveraging conversational AI. Voice and email are least efficient but suitable for certain intents. 5G is also making video a much more feasible channel at scale. The metaverse will also bring immersive channels like VR/AR online over time.
Channel offering should be designed as part of an omnichannel customer support strategy and reviewed frequently.
Thanks to David
Determine the Requirements
WhatsApp is not a secured channel to share customers’ information so it’s for general enquiries only. Email is when an immediate response isn’t required.
Live webchat is a better and popular communication channel since a lot of customers nowadays tend to live chat instead of calling, particularly if it’s designed to share customers’ personal information.
Thanks to Osama
Purpose of Interaction
For the customer, it’s webchat for speed and evidence. It’s voice for complicated or complaint resolution.
Thanks to John
Depends Entirely on the Situation and Context
As others have said, it depends entirely on the situation and context. But if I was told I could have only one, that would have to be WhatsApp.
Quite simply because WhatsApp can deliver all the other channels also.
Thanks to Alex
Comparing Apple to Mango to Orange to Lemon
Sounds like that is comparing apple to mango to orange to lemon. All were made for different reasons providing something unique. I think each serve a different stage of the communication process.
Thanks to Fred
They All Have a Purpose
They all have their own purpose and what matters is providing what the customer wants.
Thanks to Thomas
I Think Voice Is Always Better
I think voice is always better, but most customers contact me on WhatsApp.
Email is such hard work, as I have to check that my emails have gone through, or if I am expecting one and have to chase it as it’s lost.
Thanks to Vicky
Issue Resolution and Least Amount of Effort
Better how? The best channel is the one which resolves the customer’s issue with the least amount of effort.
Thanks to John
Source: Poll conducted in our LinkedIn Community Sample size – 1,054 Date: 2022