Regardless of channel, many consumers pointed to two key challenges:
- Long wait times, and;
- No response at all.
As one respondent (45-60 years old) wrote, “The time it takes to get someone to answer is ridiculous.”
Some consumers detailed long, multi-day ordeals trying to get in contact with someone for assistance:
”[My] most recent was dealing with my bank and trying to get in touch with someone which took 2-3 hours on hold a day for four days. I wish they would’ve had it set up so someone could call me back instead of waiting on hold. The fourth day the connection was so poor I waited on hold for 2.5 hours and got disconnected just to have to call back and wait again thus losing my place in line.” - 18-29 year old female
Noting the increase in chat usage and increased wait times, we looked at customer satisfaction around time to resolution. Like overall satisfaction, sentiment around time-to-resolution also varies, though messaging apps dominate: 80 percent of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the speed of resolution and 59 felt the same about SMS. Of traditional channels (phone, email, chat) voice ranked highest at 59 percent, but still, it was often challenging to get someone on the phone at all.
While consumers consistently found it challenging to contact a company, they were most critical of live channels like voice, video, and chat, where a more immediate response is expected, especially compared to asynchronous channels like SMS/MMS, email, or messaging apps.
This trend—consumer preferences shifting toward conversational messaging—has been long coming, as discussed in the 2020 State of Customer Engagement report. That said, the challenges many businesses are facing with remote workforces and immovable contact centers exposes a new opportunity for messaging-based support.