Want More Customers? New Data Says Offer More Communication Options

Woman viewing phone

How many ways can your business be reached? Can customers call, email, send you a tweet and shoot you a quick text?

If your business isn’t offering multiple communication channels, you’re placing barriers to how quickly and efficiently customers can get the help they need — and it may lead them to go elsewhere.

Your customers want communication choices

Our 2020 State of Texting data showed that consumers want options when it comes to business communication. To learn more, we launched a separate survey to over 500 consumers about their perception toward businesses that do and don’t offer multiple ways to get in touch.

Our results show that 96% of consumers think it’s important to have options available to them when they need to reach a business, including phone calls, email, text messaging and social media.

96% of consumers say it’s important to have options when it comes to communicating with businesses

A majority have experienced firsthand the hurdles that come with limited communication choices: 75% say they’ve been unable to get in touch with a business the way they prefer because the business didn’t offer that option.

Predictably so, consumers don’t view communication barriers positively – 96% said they were frustrated when their preferred communication option wasn’t available.

How communication choices affect consumer behavior

When a customer can’t reach a business the way they want, their frustration spurs them into action. Nearly half of respondents have gone to a competitor and a third have unsubscribed from a business’s communications; almost 20% said they’ve left a negative review.

Consumers have done the following because a business didn’t have communication options that worked for them

Conversely, businesses are rewarded for making communication easier. Consumers say when a business provided the communication channel they wanted, they made more purchases from the business (40%), recommended the business to a friend or family member (40%), filled out a satisfaction survey (38%) and left a positive review (30%).

Consumers also responded to a business’s communications faster (37%), which is a huge benefit for businesses when a timely response is needed (e.g., appointment scheduling).

Consumers have done the following because a business did offer the type of communication they wanted

Convenience and communication habits

Consumer behavior ties directly to our culture of convenience. We’re all accustomed to getting what we want when we want it. Amazon is an “everything store” with near-immediate delivery; food delivery services like GrubHub and Postmates bring food from our favorite restaurants right to our homes; we can even request a driver from our phones and tip them without ever exchanging cash.

Whatever is easiest is what’s preferred, and it translates to a consumer’s communication habits. Convenience isn’t a “nice to have” anymore; it’s an expectation from customers. When convenient communication options aren’t offered to customers, it can negatively affect their relationship with your business. They’ll go to your competition, they’ll write an unfavorable review or they’ll remove themselves from your communications, making it that much harder to convert them into a repeat customer.

Consumers want convenience and they take notice of how easy (or how difficult) a business will make any part of the customer experience for them.

75% of consumers have been unable to communicate with a business the way they prefer because the business didn’t offer that option

Offering texting as a communication option

Eighty percent of consumers say it’s important for businesses to offer text messaging as a communication option. And as we’ve seen time and time again in separate Zipwhip surveys, having a texting conversation with a business isn’t a foreign concept anymore to consumers; 61% say they’ve had one and 59% of them said it was a good experience.

80% of consumers say it’s important that a business offers the option to text with them

We highlight plenty of different use cases for texting communications in our blog and throughout our website, but in this survey, we wanted to learn more about the common customer support use case and how it can benefit from adding text messaging into the process.

An overwhelming 92% of consumers said they have hung up after waiting on hold for customer support, and 77% of those consumers say that if the business had offered text support, the situation could have been improved.

92% of consumers have hung up after waiting on hold for customer support

If your business experiences high call volume for customer support, there’s a lesson to be learned here. Integrating text messaging into the call process not only increases customer satisfaction but can also help employees handle customers more efficiently.

Phone calls are a much-needed communication channel and will never be replaced but expecting your customers to stay on hold to wait their turn for help is unrealistic. In the age of convenience, the process of being tied to the phone for an inordinate amount of time is quite the opposite.

And while our survey didn’t ask consumers how long they were stuck on a call before hanging up, it’s worth noting that almost 80% found texting valuable in this use case. From this, we could take away that consumers understand the convenience of having texting available regardless of how long or how little they’ll be waiting on the phone.

A simple way to incorporate texting into your customer service process is to include a recorded message for customers to hear whey they call your helpline, letting them know that they can text the same number they called. Doing so will place them in a queue to be contacted later. Your business can text the customer when it’s their turn and determine whether a text conversation is appropriate for their needs or a phone call is best.

Final takeaway

Customer satisfaction must extend across every part of your business, and communication should be no exception. Failing to offer customers convenient options to reach you has consequences – from losing the customer altogether to hurting your ratings with a negative online review. However, offering communication options your customers want will motivate them to do the opposite.

Text messaging is a preferred and necessary addition to your communication options. Our default texting apps are the most used communication apps on our phones and it’s how consumers want to get in touch with businesses.

Business texting tools can be inexpensive and can often be integrated into the tools your business already uses every day. For more information on how to choose the right texting tool for your business, download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers.

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