Traditional communication tops list for customer service

Telephone and email are the preferred methods of communication for customers when it comes to customer service queries with businesses, research from technology consultancy Portal has found.

Surprisingly, Twitter and Facebook are the least favoured forms of customer service communication for nearly a third of Britons (31 per cent) - despite the rapid increase in popularity of social media channels.

Just two per cent claim that social networking sites are their preferred choice when it comes to making complaints or enquiries, while email and telephone communication is more popular with 52 per cent and 19 per cent of customers respectively.

However, with more outlets for customers to publicly insult or damage a brand, Portal says it is becoming even more important for businesses to take customer service seriously.

According to the research, poor customer service costs British businesses £4.35 billion a year, with consumers not averse to moving suppliers and businesses if their standards are not met.

When asked what is most likely to keep them loyal to a business, 30 per cent of consumers said the quality of the product was important, while excellent customer service came close behind (28 per cent).

Portal's CEO Shamus Kelly says: "Our research revealed some startling statistics. We suspect that social media platforms aren't taking off as favoured customer service channels because, more often than not, complaints are too complex to explain in a short post."

"Our experience is that consumers turn to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as a last resort, using them as platforms to publically condemn a brand following a frustrating experience, rather than a first port of call."

Portal highlighted that as consumers' preferred customer service channels evolve, businesses should be investing more in multiple platforms allowing customers a greater choice to interact with company in the way they want to.