Social Media VS Telephone: Which Resolves Customer Service Issues Faster?

Social Media VS Telephone: Which Resolves Customer Service Issues Faster?

New technologies have given rise to new ways of providing customer service. In an effort to better serve more customers, a lot of companies have started using multi-channels to interact with consumers and have likewise sought assistance from third parties via customer service outsourcing.

Unfortunately, a lot of them also struggle with seamlessly and effortlessly integrating all channels to provide an excellent customer service experience.

Two of the most popular channels being used are social media and the telephone. If you are unsure of which one between these two is better and faster as a customer service portal, we’ve compared their performance using the following criteria: customer preference, response rate, issue resolution and customer satisfaction.

Customer Preference

There is no argument about how popular social media usage is these days. However, it might come as a surprise for some to learn that it is not the most preferred contact channel for urgent issues.

A 2015 study conducted by the Northridge Group states that the phone is still the most popular channel for urgent issues being used by 77 percent of consumers. In fact, only 2 percent of customers use social media for urgent customer service issues. Although almost of those surveyed said that they plan to use social media more or the same next year, it is right now being used primarily for sharing experiences.

Similarly, a study by NICE Systems also states that the telephone is the most preferred customer service channel, followed by websites, interactive voice response, email, visits to physical locations, live chat, smartphone apps, text messages, social media and online forums. 

Response Rate

Customers are demanding these days and expect brands to respond to their issues immediately. According to the NRG study, 17 percent of customers expect a resolution on social media within minutes while 25 percent expect one within the hour.

Unfortunately, only 13 percent of them get a response within minutes and one-third never get one.

The study reveals that people are still most likely to pick up the phone if they need something to be taken care of right away. They believe it is the fastest and least challenging method to use. 

Issue Resolution

It is one thing to get a response but another thing to have one’s issue resolved.

Both the NRG and the NICE Systems studies reveal that the telephone has the highest success rate among all other customer channels in terms of issue resolution.

According to the NICE systems study, speaking to a live rep via telephone resolves at least 69 percent of customer service issues. Similarly, the NRG study reveals that 66 percent of consumers say the phone is the fastest channel for issue resolution, followed by online chat and email at 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Customer Satisfaction

There is a lot of hype going around surrounding social media as a customer service channel. However, the NRG study notes that it’s just not living up to the hype because companies are not consistently delivering.

The phone, according to the NICE Systems study, is still the most satisfying channel, getting 60 percent of the votes.

The truth is, social media and the telephone are both useful channels for customer service. It is important to note though that there is clearly a lot of room left for improvement in both channels. The challenge now lies in how companies can efficiently and seamlessly use both to complement each other to provide better customer service.

Written by Infinit Contact

Infinit Contact’s content team consists of customer service, contact center, and industry professionals and experts who regularly contributes blog posts related to the contact center and outsourcing industry.


  1. says

    Excellent article with facts and numbers from market research. I think soon Social Media and Telephone channels will fade away and mobile messaging will emerge as the preferred channel for customer service. Mobile Messaging brings the advantage to consumers to reach customer service from any where, any device and anytime, and for businesses can reach their customers anytime and have continuous engagement with customers. Even though telephone is direct channel to reach customer service but long waiting times or calls getting dropped thru IVR navigation or in the middle of a conversation which requires users to start from the beginning repeatedly. All these can lead to poor customer satisfaction at the end. Social media is not a direct channel and consumers don;t get the service they want, and for business it sometimes affects reputation of their brand. Both phone and online web chat requires availability of customer agents and consumers the same time. With mobile messaging customer issues can be resolved asynchronously and yet both sides can be on top of the communication.

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