Web chat cited as preferred query channel for Gen Y

A report into online customer service suggests that online chat is the channel of choice for young shoppers wanting more information for a website.

Using stats from a YouGov nationally-representative sample of 2000+ people, the study found that more than 20% of 18-24 year olds would use live chat with an expert if they had a query with an online transaction, compared with the overall average of 13% for the whole sample.

The age group least likely to try a website’s live chat function were the 55+.

This demographic was the most likely to try to contact a website by email.

Using the FAQ section of a website would be the most cost effective for a business, as once the page has been created there is little additional cost. However, this channel is preferred by only 22%.

A call centre was still demanded by just under 20% of the sample.

However, businesses are warned that customers’ biggest frustration with online customer service is being kept on hold by the call centre, with 66% saying this is a big turn off.

However, waiting for a response to emails also annoyed one-third of the sample.

The survey was commissioned by nGenera, a customer interaction management specialist.

Its European managing director Matthew Haines said: “It is clear from the research that the customer service landscape is changing.

“Online channels such as email, web self-service and live chats are quickly overtaking phone as the preferred contact method for UK consumers.”

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