Email is great! (But not for Customer Service)

[24] | October 27, 2014

I love email. It is great when time isn’t a critical communications factor. When you’re a customer with an urgent question or issue, time is of the essence and delay of days – or even hours – can have a huge impact on revenue and customer satisfaction.

Case in point: I’m still one of those rare people that subscribes to a daily newspaper (okay, call me a dinosaur). In fact, I’m a very dedicated customer of the paper as it’s been a part of my daily routine for decades. A few weeks ago I had an issue with the paper delivery. I am loyal to their brand, and I wanted to give them the chance to address and fix the issue. I shared my concern with their customer service department through email since that was the only digital option that I could find. Here was the problem: days went by before I got a response. What happened while I waited? I got frustrated. Did they get my email? Did they care? The problem continued. No resolution.

In a situation where the company could have stepped up to help a loyal client, the lack of response turned me into a loud critic. I eventually shared my problem with a larger group of their customers on social media, spreading my frustration and dissatisfaction with the brand.

What could they have done differently? They could have offered intelligent chat on their website so when I would start my interaction it would say, “Kevin, I see that you did not get your delivery. I’m sorry about that. Can I offer you a free online subscription for a month?” In a recent [24] survey, intelligent chat led the way regarding consumer preferences when interacting with a brand’s customer service team, with one in five consumers saying that having a query resolved would make them more loyal to a brand.


Intelligent chat provides consumers access with instant information and instant satisfaction. Instead of waiting hours or days for someone to respond, I’m immediately able to interact with a brand. They have a chance to address my concern in real-time and solve my problem (or, if I’m trying to buy something, close the sale instead of having me abandon my purchase while I wait for a reply). Compared to antiquated email, with chat there’s no waiting period of hours or days for the next step in the correspondence. The next communication is only an away. Plus, if I contact the company again, intelligent chat can maintain the context of my conversation to further improve my experience, and I won’t have to start the conversation all over again.

An additional benefit for the company is that when I’m interacting in real-time, it means that I’m less likely to get frustrated and then spread my frustration or experience with others on social media, thereby keeping my issue/concern to myself.

Let’s face it, customers want to interact digitally, and they want instant gratification. Email simply doesn’t cut it when it comes to providing quality customer service that improves customer satisfaction and creates customer loyalty. Intelligent chat is a far better solution.

Get some industry perspectives by reading the Point of View on Chat.