Use of Mobile Devices for Customer Support Grows, Despite Hiccups

Topping the list of challenges are problems with pages displaying and loading incorrectly, leading to and including difficulty navigating pages.

mobility and software advice

While 63 percent of U.S. adults use mobile devices at least several times per month to seek customer support, a whopping 90 percent said they have had poor experiences seeking customer support on mobile, according to a survey of 312 U.S. adults by Software Advice.

Topping the list of poor experiences are problems with pages displaying and loading incorrectly, leading to and including difficulty navigating the page, according to Software Advice, a Gartner company that provides reviews and research on software apps.

The second most common issue is not being able to find relevant and useful search results within the company's Website, which includes searches that returned too many results, results not related to the search and results that lacked useful information.

"It turns out that far more consumers are seeking customer service on mobile devices than we had expected. They're also running into a wider variety and greater frequency of problems than we had anticipated," Craig Borowski, a market researcher at Software Advice, told eWEEK. "Probably the most important takeaway from this survey data is that consumers are seeking support on their mobile devices at a very high rate, yet they're also running into many usability issues. Despite running into these issues, they're still using mobile devices to seek out customer support."

This suggests the great strength of the consumer preference for mobile devices and indicates what companies should be doing to cater to this new preference.

The report also found 77 percent of those ages 18 to 24 use mobile devices at least once per month for customer support, and 47 percent of early tech adopters have used mobile live chat to solve an issue.

In addition, 75 percent of respondents ages 35 to 44 said they use mobile device more than once a month for customer support.

Even of those ages 65 and over, more than a quarter (26 percent) said they use mobile support more than once a month.

"Mobile customer support already has a very high rate of use by younger generations and there's no reason to expect this will change. It is, fundamentally, a cultural preference; it's not a preference specific to customer service," Borowski said. "The fact is that younger age groups use their mobile phones very frequently and for a very wide range of tasks. The big finding in this report is that Millennials aren't alone with these preferences."

However, older generations are rapidly catching up, Borowski said, adding that mobile compatibility should become the default strategy for all companies, not only for customer service offerings, but for every aspect of their online presence.

"We expect to see continued development of self-service offerings that are tuned to work better on mobile devices," he said. "FAQs, knowledge bases and virtual agents are three examples. Even before the big shift to mobile took hold, the shift to self-service was already under way."