Quick resolutions and access to multiple customer communication channels are two of the top expectations for consumers when interacting with small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) according to a new survey by Vonage, a global leader in cloud communications helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation.
In fact, 29% of respondents indicated that when it comes to interacting with SMBs that use chatbots, voice recognition or any artificial intelligence (AI) communications tool, fast response times is their top expectation. Additionally, respondents prioritized faster resolutions with voice (27%) and video (25%) engagements. Of those respondents that engage with SMBs through video, 42% indicated they are looking for a human connection without having to meet in-person.
For SMBs looking to determine which communication channels to offer customers, 23% of respondents ranked voice calls first. Specific to the healthcare and professional services industries, voice also reigns supreme with 33% and 32% of respondents, respectively, choosing voice calls as their preferred communications channel. For retail SMBs, however, 32% of respondents indicated they prefer email, followed by voice (25%).
The survey also revealed that 60% of respondents view SMBs that do not provide access and/or support through multiple communications channels as less favourable, but would still work with the SMB. However, 16% of respondents indicated they would view the business as less favourable and not work with the SMB again in the future. Brands are ultimately always competing with their customers’ last great experience. These findings demonstrate that, to exceed customer expectations and achieve continued customer loyalty, it’s important that SMBs offer a variety of communications channels to connect with customers.
“Customer experience is not one-size-fits-all, and all businesses, including SMBs, should consider that consumer preferences are ever-changing. There’s a clear need to continuously evaluate communication channels to keep customers happy and coming back,” said Joy Corso, Chief Marketing Officer at Vonage. “As new communications preferences emerge, implementation of these channels doesn’t have to be complicated. A cloud-based platform can help businesses easily implement and scale their communications across voice, video, messaging as their customers prefer. Doing so will go a long way in delivering high-quality customer engagements and satisfaction.”
Additional survey findings also revealed:
- While many consumers still prefer doctor appointments in-person (68%), a third of respondents (32%) prefer video, signaling a growing need for healthcare providers to implement video communications tools.
- Consumers are comfortable suggesting their preferred communications channels to SMBs with nearly half of respondents (46%) indicating they would do so if it wasn’t already offered.
- Preferences for certain communications channels with SMBs can differ, with 30% of respondents indicating their preferences change depending on the day.
To learn more about how Vonage is helping SMBs across the globe communicate with their customers across a broad range of channels, visit https://www.vonage.com/unified-communications/campaigns/small-business-communications/.
The survey findings are based on a Pollfish survey conducted the week of April 10, 2023 and included responses from 1,500 U.S. respondents above the age of 18 who recently interacted with a small and/or medium-sized business.
Vonage, a global cloud communications leader, helps businesses accelerate their digital transformation. Vonage’s Communications Platform is fully programmable and allows for the integration of Video, Voice, Chat, Messaging, AI and Verification into existing products, workflows and systems. The Vonage conversational commerce application enables businesses to create AI-powered omnichannel experiences that boost sales and increase customer satisfaction. Vonage’s fully programmable unified communications, contact centre and conversational commerce applications are built from the Vonage platform and enable companies to transform how they communicate and operate from the office or remotely – providing the flexibility required to create meaningful engagements.
Vonage is headquartered in New Jersey, with offices throughout the United States, Europe, Israel and Asia and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ericsson