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Customer service: 1 in 3 over 65s choose digital channels

From the Knowledge Centre

Our latest consumer research survey reveals that 1 in 3 over 65s prefer to communicate with businesses via digital channels...

We recently surveyed 1,000 UK adults, delving into how they prefer to communicate with everyday service providers. The survey revealed that 1 in 3 people aged 65+ prefer to deal with businesses through digital channels including email, web self-serve, web chat, social media and mobile apps.

The survey also demonstrates the increasing prevalence of digital channels, with 41% of all adults preferring to engage with service providers in this way. And whilst there were some slight differences between the various age groups we surveyed, the research did show that in general consumers have very similar preferences - 46% of 18-24 year olds prefer to use digital channels compared to 32.5% of those aged 65+. In fact, there was only a 13% variance between all age groups we surveyed.

It's also interesting to note that most consumers we surveyed prefer to use digital channels for simple contact situations, turning to human contact once the enquiry becomes more complicated. Digital channels were first preference for customers when requesting information and paying a bill, and second choice when they needed to make a booking.

Clearly, the growth of digital channels for customer service in recent years has had a significant impact, and whilst we might have assumed that contact channel choices would vary greatly between the young and old, in fact the preference patterns were remarkably similar, it's therefore clear to see that people of all ages are becoming more comfortable using digital channels.

This may not be such a big surprise - consumers are constantly demanding quicker and more convenient ways to communicate with businesses and companies are increasingly faced with cost to serve challenges, and digital channels answer these demands well.

It's clearly dangerous to make any assumptions about contact channels or customers - instead it's important to use customer insight to monitor and adapt to how individuals choose to interact. Also it's important not to forget that digital contact channels should be introduced primarily to improve customer service, not simply to reduce costs. With a wider channel choice now available, the importance of consistency of experience across channels becomes more important - it's vital for businesses to offer a joined up, seamless experience whichever channel the customer chooses.


Want to know more? Read our full consumer research report.

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