In uncertain times, reliable, responsive, relevant brand communication is more critical than ever. Research shows that 86% of buyers will pay more for great customer experience, while 32% will walk away from a brand they love, after one bad experience.
But with so many communication channels available, how can we be sure we’re using the right ones to connect with our target markets, fulfill operational goals, and sustain brand positioning? Let’s look at various channel categories, and what we know:
Voice (including phone and video) enables great empathy and fairly complex interactions. Noise or bad connections, however, can lead to miscommunication.
- 48% of people 55 years old and up prefer telephone conversations.
- 39% of women prefer direct conversations, versus 29% of men.
- Voice interactions are most used in healthcare, technology, and financial services.
Chat (including human and automated) delivers immediate response, any time, anywhere. Automated chat requires sophisticated AI, though, for appropriate answers.
- 45- to 54-year-olds are the most likely to use online chat.
- Women use chat for simple queries, and phone calls for more complicated issues.
- SMS chatting is liked by 18- to 34-year-olds, and disliked by those 65 and up.
Digital mail (including email and social media messaging) facilitates the best accuracy for resolving complicated issues, but delayed response can cause irritation.
- 35- to 44-year-olds prefer email, while 25- to 34-year-olds prefer social media.
- Men tend to use social media to communicate with brands, versus 4% of women.
- Email and social media are popular across all age and industry demographics.
Self-service (including FAQs, websites, content marketing, and SEO), though generally static, sees use for both initial and in-depth brand and product research.
- 51% of those 55 years old and up do online research before initiating contact.
- More than half of respondents want the flexibility to link to other channels.
- SEO communication is important across all industries, notably consumer goods.
All this tells us that, while every channel has its pros and cons, along with its users and detractors, most consumers expect service through more than one channel, if not all. It can be challenging to maintain consistent messaging across the board, so a partner with omni-channel expertise can make all the difference in your brand communication.