The majority of U.S. consumers would be likely to text with a live customer support agent, and the same percentage would prefer texting instead of their current method of reaching customer support, according to a customer support preference study by HeyWire Business, a mobile messaging service.
The survey results indicated there is strong interest by consumers in texting to address customer service issues and illustrates the emerging opportunity for businesses to increase customer satisfaction using text.
Over half of respondents (52 percent) said they would be likely to text with a customer support agent. Similarly, 52 percent would prefer texting customer support more than their current preferred method of communication.
Around a third (31 percent) of respondents said it was important for texting to be an available support option, and 47 percent said that texting could improve their overall satisfaction with customer support.
"In today's world, consumers increasingly prefer texting in both their personal and business lives, and they are clearly seeking text conversations as a fast, efficient customer support option," Meredith Flynn-Ripley, founder and CEO of HeyWire Business, said in a statement. "The research highlights what many of us feel today—no one has time to wait. Customers are expecting real-time responsiveness to their support issues and want solutions that provide immediate answers."
In addition, the majority (53 percent) of consumers aged 18 to 34 said that they'd prefer to use electronic media—email, Web chat, text or social –instead of the phone for customer support.
Echoing the results of the company's earlier research that found a majority of professionals are already using text messaging to conduct business, consumers are also moving away from voice and seeking to use text to engage with companies for customer support.
"This trend can only be expected to increase, as younger users increasingly indicate a preference for text over traditional phone communication," the report noted.
Three-quarters of consumers said they would rather text with a customer support agent than correspond with them through social media, suggesting that while social media is an expedient outlet for venting frustration in customer service, consumers want a more personal, flexible response.
The report also found 79 percent are frustrated with their available customer support options; 51 percent said they had only a "low" to "fair" satisfaction with existing means of customer support communication, and 89 percent said they wanted choices for how they could contact customer support.
The vast majority (89 percent) of respondents said that it is important to have different options such as phone, email, text and chat for customer support.
Being on hold appears to be a major source of frustration for consumers, with 38 percent of respondents spending 10 to 30 minutes on the phone with a customer support representative while 56 percent said that they've waited an hour or more to have their problems solved.