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Email support channel ‘dying’ as customers demand faster response

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26th Apr 2013
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Customers are moving away from using traditional channels such as email and phone for service interactions as they no longer meet expectations.

That’s according to new research from Sitel that revealed customers frustrated with being placed on on-hold or waiting for an email reply are turning to peer-based channels to get the responses that they need, quicker.

More than 23% of consumers aged between 18 and 32 prefer social media when learning about products whilst more than 90% of consumers trust peer reviews and 70% trust online reviews, the findings showed.

These channels can be accessed at the convenience of the consumer, which makes them even more appealing and in the future, consumers will expect information to come to them rather than needing to seek it out. Email doesn’t fit into this scenario, said Sitel.

The report pointed to recent predictions from IDC that email will decrease by 4-5%, while self-service, chat and social channels will all show growth of double-digit percentages. 

Sitel’s marketing director, Joe Doyle, said: “Email as a primary channel of support has passed its pinnacle and no longer meets the expectation of customers for immediate resolution. We are working with a number of clients implementing strategies that engage customers on-line, replacing services such as the email channel with proactive chat, mobile and social engagement solutions.”

But for those organisations still using email as a primary marketing channel, how can they best target customers?

Research also out this week from Pure360 revealed that a staggering 96% of emails sent between the hours of midnight and 7am are never opened.

Based on analysis of 40,000 email campaigns sent by over 140 companies, the research showed that the ‘post-work peak’ – when people are finishing work and heading home – is now the most effective time for email marketing campaigns. Over a quarter (26%) of emails sent out between 5pm and 6pm are opened – scoring 9% above average.  

Abi Jacks, head of marketing at Pure360 said: “It’s easy to make assumptions about consumer behaviour and many marketers believe that sending emails first thing in the morning benefits their open rates. 

“But in fact, our research shows that they need to really get to know their sector audience and be aware of unexpected trends – such as the habit people have for opening emails that they receive as the time-pressures of the work day ease off on the commute home.”

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