eDigitalResearch Customer Service Benchmark - Wave 1 November 2013 IORMA.Live online chat has the highest customer satisfaction rate of all customer service touch points, according to the very first Customer Service Benchmark results from eDigitalResearch.

The survey of 2,000 consumers revealed that, while the number of consumers using live chat to contact brands is still relatively small (just 24% have used live chat within the past year), satisfaction with the channel is much higher than other customer service touch points, suggesting that users are likely to return to the channel again and again.

In an age when consumers are firmly in control, driving change and forcing brands to innovate, live chat offers customers the ability to chat to a brand representative in real time without the hassle of long delays and automated systems when picking up the phone. Companies that are currently rated as providing excellent live chat facilities by consumers often offer users the ability to remain totally anonymous, allowing people to talk openly about their query or complaint in a comfortable and familiar environment with instant answers and a resolution.

The benchmark highlights rapidly changing consumer expectations, especially when it comes to email customer service. Increasingly, results suggest that consumers expect a response to an email query almost instantly. Less than a quarter (22%) are happy to wait more than one day (24 hours) for a response to their email and 12% expect a reply within the one hour mark. Brands therefore need to be monitoring changing consumer expectations and adjusting their strategies to match changing customer needs.

Interestingly, the results also highlighted that there is a large preference towards providing positive feedback to brands on social media rather than posting complaints. Many hold the assumption that social media sites are used by consumers to name and shame brands that they feel have let them down, but eDigitalResearch’s Customer Service Benchmark suggests that social media is often used to contact brands for the opposite reason.

Derek Eccleston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch, explains, “With marketplaces becoming increasingly competitive, great customer service is often the only way to set your brand apart from the rest of the competition. Our benchmark found that customers expect to be able to contact brands through a number of different channels, even if they don’t necessarily use them. Consumers increasingly expect to be able to get in touch with a brand, when they want, how they want. Companies need to ensure they provide an adequate forum for customers to voice their ideas, concerns or opinions and proactively act when things do occasionally go wrong”.

For a copy of the full Customer Service Benchmark results, please complete the following short registration survey.