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Vonage Survey: COVID-19 Changes Communications Preferences

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Online Survey

A new Vonage survey highlights changing communications preferences prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings in the Vonage survey demonstrate that the pandemic accelerated the adoption of newer communications channels. It also increased fragmentation in channel preferences, especially in how consumers interact with businesses and service providers.

Vonage surveyed 5,000 consumers globally, and highlights communications preferences amid COVID-19 compared to pre-pandemic.

Vonage's Joy Corso

Vonage’s Joy Corso

“We are at the beginning of a huge market-wide communications revolution,” said Joy Corso, Vonage‘s CMO. “If there was ever a question that businesses needed to digitally transform not only to survive but thrive, COVID-19 eliminated any doubt. This is a secular change in how business gets done. This survey underscores the fact that it is now fundamental for companies to stay connected to employees and customers from anywhere – through whatever channel they choose – video, voice, messaging and chat.”

Video Conferencing Surging

Since January, globally, there has been 140% growth in the number of people who prefer to connect with businesses via video. Video chat has also become a mainstream addition to people’s everyday lives. U.S. adoption has experienced four years of growth in just seven months. Furthermore, 43% of Americans now video chat with businesses regularly, up from 28% in January.

Across all regions, 55% of consumers have used video to connect with businesses and service providers. That’s up from 44% in January.

In Latin America, seven out of every 10 consumers have video chatted with a business. That’s up from six out of 10 in January.

In August, 54% of EMEA respondents reported using video chat, up from 42% in January.

Consumer preference for video chat has grown in banking, finance and insurance, education, health care, retail, and transportation and logistics.

Due to the advent of widespread distance learning, 42% of respondents preferred to engage with other students and teachers in a virtual classroom in August. That’s up from 35% in January. This trend will likely continue as more students participate in virtual learning environments.

Emerging communications channels that increased in preference include voice calls and messaging via social messaging apps, and chatbots.

Falling Out of Favor

The communications channels that experienced a decrease in preference since January include landline phone calls, email and text messaging.

Organizations that meet consumers on their communications channel of choice, while limiting frustrations may emerge from this era stronger than before, Vonage said.

Some of the customer service hurdles cited by respondents include:

  • Repeating themselves to different people.
  • Calls going unanswered with no other channels available to help.
  • Not enough options to contact a business to suit a customer’s needs at the time.

“As virtual communications has displaced face-to-face meetings, both the usage and the mix of customer engagement channels has changed enormously in the past six months,” said Mark Winther, group vice president and general manager of worldwide telecom at IDC. “Organizations ignore this trend at their peril. This study proves the vitality and sustainability of video, messaging and chat apps in the channel preferences inventory.”


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