Consumers talk to companies through many channels — and they expect the company to know the details of their experiences with customer service, regardless of the channels involved. This expectation of “contextual customer service” is one of the findings in a new survey on customer service expectations for smartphone owners. 

Sources of Frustration

According to the survey from customer experience provider [24]7, 83 percent of the customers queried were smartphone owners, the focus of the statistics. A total of 80 percent of those smartphone owners complained companies do not have the details of their last conversations with customer service, regardless of the channel they use to make contact. In addition, 71 percent report they are not able to easily continue a process across channels.

[24]7 Co-founder and CEO PV Kannan noted in a statement “poor customer experience caused by the lack of context is a wake up call to companies.” He cited a Google Research study that found 90 percent of consumers “cross devices in pursuit of a single goal and 98 percent move between devices in the same day.”

Companies must invest in tech to allow the “customer’s context” to be available across whatever channels the customer wants, he said.

According to the survey, the top sources of frustration are when companies take too long to resolve issues  (78 percent). That was followed by complaints that a lack of context and customer history forces users to start over (77 percent) and that too much effort is required by customers to resolve issues (71 percent).

From the [24]7 report

[24]7 identifies lack of context — that is, lack of  a consistent base of information across channels — regarding customer service history and the inability to move between channels as the primary reasons for frustration.

Why Smartphone Users?

A recent story on addressed this issue of what customers expect as they move between channels, but did not include such survey data. In conversations with three experts on the subject, the consensus was that “same context” presented across channels means seamless integration. It does not mean the exact same user experience, which is not possible because email, in-store encounters and text chats, for instance, all offer different communication capabilities.

Instead, the experts pointed to the need to deliver what Kana Software Chief Marketing Officer called “the same feeling across channels” and a “data consistency, a single version of the truth” that consistently presents the multi-channel data involved in a given question, sale or issue. Forrester Research senior analyst Tony Costa described “a continuity of memory and experience throughout the customer’s journey.”

This very short survey by [24]7, a Campbell, Calif.-based company that provides a platform for “omnichannel interaction experience,” focuses only on smartphone owners. This is a curious choice, not explained, and it appears to ignore the responses of feature phone owners who use multiple channels, not to mention the special frustrations encountered by smartphone owners who might try to interact with customer service on their small screens.