Half of Consumers Have Increased Digital Engagement with Businesses Since Start of Pandemic, with Preference for Video Chat Climbing 300%, Vonage Research Reveals
Vonage's 10th Global Customer Engagement Report, based on a survey of 5,000 consumers from 14 countries, uncovered just how much the pandemic accelerated the global adoption of newer communications channels while increasing fragmentation in channel preferences, especially in the ways that consumers interact with organizations. The research highlights changes over the past two years that would have been impossible to predict, but reinforce the need for businesses and service providers to transform their customer engagement strategies to become more agile and adapt to permanent changes accelerated by the COVID era.
Consumers who embraced new and emerging channels of communication during the pandemic did not revert back to old habits. Customer engagement has permanently changed and there will be no return to the pre-2020 era. The usage of digital channels (video, chatbots, non-SMS messaging apps, etc.) has grown considerably, while more traditional channels (mobile voice calls, email) have held steady.
"COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how businesses operate and how consumers interact with those organizations," said
Vonage explored some of the customer service hurdles that surveyed consumers reported and the business impact of these frustrations. For example, 46 percent of consumers are very likely to stop buying from a business or using its services if their calls repeatedly go unanswered with no other channels available for help. This highlights the importance of secondary and tertiary choices for communication; offering another channel such as live chat can ensure that the customer's needs are still met.
Video Is the New Phone Call
To connect with consumers today, businesses must expand on their communications with less traditional channels and employ technology, such as APIs, that enable them the flexibility to embed programmable communications - voice, video, messaging and verification - directly into existing applications and workflows.
- Consumers are using video chat to connect with healthcare services 50 percent more today than they were during the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020. One in four use video chat in key healthcare scenarios including remote consultations, remote therapy, and describing symptoms.
- With the advent of widespread distance learning, 37 percent of consumers prefer video chat when learning and studying remotely with a tutor. This increases to 42 percent for engaging with other students and teachers in a virtual classroom. This trend will likely continue as more students participate in virtual learning environments.
- At work, 38 percent of respondents favor video calls when collaborating with their team or customers on an important project. Digital engagement while working increased for at least half of respondents in each region. LATAM and APAC saw a 75 percent and 65 percent increase respectively since the start of the pandemic.
The Might of the Messaging Apps
Emerging communications channels that saw an increase in preference include messaging via social messaging apps and chatbots. Consumer preference for messaging apps has doubled since the outbreak of COVID-19. Additionally:
- Consumers now use and prefer
North America, 34 percent of consumers call friends and family every day via messaging apps - up from 29 percent in August 2020. In LATAM, this soars to 62 percent.
Businesses must always be agile and ready to adapt to changes in the market, but the pandemic made the call for agility even louder. While a remote delivery of services is crucial to business survival today, that ability will mean little if the experience isn't frictionless, seamless and embedded into the applications customers are already comfortable using. Organizations that meet consumers on their communications channel of choice, while limiting frustrations, may emerge from this turbulent era stronger than before.
As the world leader in virtual care, Teladoc Health, Inc. enables embedded telehealth capabilities through its platform via the Vonage Video API: "We have experienced a tremendous increase in usage of our telehealth solution as our healthcare providers continue to provide uninterrupted and critical medical care to their patients during the pandemic," said
Vonage (Nasdaq: VG), a global cloud communications leader, helps businesses accelerate their digital transformation. Vonage's Communications Platform is fully programmable and allows for the integration of Video, Voice, Chat, Messaging and Verification into existing products, workflows and systems. Vonage's fully programmable unified communications and contact center applications are built from the Vonage platform and enable companies to transform how they communicate and operate from the office or anywhere, providing enormous flexibility and ensuring business continuity.
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