Increasingly, when consumers communicate with a financial services company they expect digital self-service options such as online chat, email and text messages in addition to the ability to make a phone call.
A separate study1 listed the top reasons consumers chose online chat over making a phone call: there are no hold times, it's more convenient, and a chat provides a record of the conversation.
While 8 in 10 companies in the LIMRA study have self-service options, less than 1 in 5 currently offer online chat.
Contact center executives said they are discussing ways to improve their websites and contact center systems to support more self service options, especially online chat. Consumers expect chat to be an option for inquiries specifically about research, sales and service.
Companies that currently use chat point to key benefits of customer satisfaction, efficiency, and an improvement in employee engagement and retention.
The ability to engage today’s consumer is the most compelling reason companies give to improve chat and other self-serve options.
Earlier LIMRA research shows that from 2011 to 2014, the use of online chat increased the most among Gen Y and Gen X consumers. Three in ten Gen Ys listed chat as a preferred communication channel, as did 24 percent of Gen X consumers.
As younger consumers become a larger part of the customer base, their expectations and preferences will have an increasing influence on overall customer preferences. In addition, once a new technology is established, older customers typically adopt its use over time.
1 SoftwareAdvice.com, The Impact of Demographics on Live Chat Customer Service, 2015