Half of consumers have increased their digital engagement with businesses since the start of the pandemic, with video chat preference rising 300%, reveals Vonage Research

HOLMDEL, New Jersey, November 9, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Vonage (Nasdaq: VG), a global leader in cloud communications helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation, today announced a new study showing that about half (47%) of consumers globally have increased their use of channels to engage with businesses and service providers in the past 12-18 months and 87% plan to maintain or increase this level in the next 6-12 months. Additionally, consumer preference for connecting with businesses using video has soared 300% since January 2020, while the preference for messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber has doubled.

10th Vonage Global Customer Engagement Report, based on a survey of 5,000 consumers from 14 countries, revealed how the pandemic has accelerated the global adoption of new communication channels while increasing the fragmentation of channel preferences, especially in the way consumers interact with organizations. Research highlights changes over the past two years that would have been impossible to predict, but reinforces the need for businesses and service providers to transform their customer engagement strategies to become more agile and adapt to changes staff accelerated by the COVID era.

Consumers who adopted new and emerging communication channels during the pandemic have not reverted to their old ways. Customer engagement has changed permanently and there will be no turning back to the pre-2020 era. The use of digital channels (video, chatbots, non-SMS messaging apps, etc.) has increased dramatically, while more traditional channels (mobile voice calls, email) have continued.

“COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate and the way consumers interact with these organizations,” said Joy Corso, Chief Marketing Officer of Vonage. “Our research shows that digital channels have rapidly emerged alongside traditional communication methods, with strong and sustained growth in video, chatbots, messaging and app-based calling, while email and traditional voice calls remain relatively status quo. It emphasizes the need to connect. with and interact with customers in multiple ways, in their preferred modality. We are in an age where customers expect lightning-fast, fluid and dynamic communications and engagement. “

Vonage explored some of the customer service barriers reported by consumers surveyed and the business impact of those frustrations. For example, 46% of consumers are very likely to stop buying from a business or using its services if their calls go unanswered repeatedly and no other channel is available to get service. aid. This highlights the importance of secondary and tertiary choices for communication; offering another channel such as live chat can ensure that customer’s needs are always met.

Video is the new phone call

To connect with consumers today, businesses need to expand their communications through less traditional channels and use technologies, such as APIs, that allow them to integrate programmable communications – voice, video, messaging, and verification – directly. in existing applications and workflows.

Since January 2020, globally, there has been a 300% growth in the number of people who prefer to connect with businesses through video. Three in five consumers around the world video chat with a business or service provider more than 18 months ago, and four in five expect their video chats with friends and family to stay the same ( 55%) or increase even more (35%) over the next six months. Video chat has become a common addition to people’s daily lives, with three quarters of consumers using video to talk to friends and family. For one in five people, it is a daily occurrence. Besides:

  • Consumers are using video chat to connect to health services 50% more today than they were during the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020. One in four uses video chat in scenarios of key health care, including remote consultations, remote therapy, and description of symptoms.
  • With the advent of widespread distance learning, 37% of consumers prefer video chat when learning and studying remotely with a tutor. This figure increases to 42% for engaging with other students and teachers in a virtual classroom. This trend is likely to continue as more students participate in virtual learning environments.
  • At work, 38% of respondents favor video calls when collaborating with their team or clients on an important project. Digital engagement at work has increased for at least half of respondents in every region. LATAM and APAC have seen an increase of 75% and 65% respectively since the start of the pandemic.

The power of messaging apps

Emerging communication channels that have seen their preference increase include messaging through social messaging apps and chatbots. Consumer preference for messaging apps has doubled since the COVID-19 outbreak. Besides:

  • Consumers now use and prefer WhatsApp for both calling and texting more than any other messaging channel, even beating SMS and Facebook Messenger. In fact, WhatsApp is now 160% more popular than SMS. In EMEA, more than half of consumers have used WhatsApp to contact a business (52%), while in LATAM, the figure is even higher, at 89%.
  • In North America, 34% of consumers call their friends and family every day through messaging apps, compared to 29% in August 2020. In LATAM, this rises to 62 percent.

Companies must always be nimble and ready to adapt to changes in the market, but the pandemic has made the call for agility even stronger. While remote service delivery is critical to the survival of a business today, this capability won’t make much sense if the experience is not fluid, seamless, and integrated into the applications that customers are. already comfortable using. Organizations that meet consumers on the communication channel of their choice, while limiting frustrations, can emerge from this turbulent era stronger than before.

As a global leader in virtual care, Teladoc Health, Inc. enables integrated telehealth capabilities through its platform through the Vonage Video API: “We have seen a tremendous increase in the use of our telehealth solution as our health care providers continue to provide care to their patients during the pandemic, ”said Jeff Nadler, Chief Information Officer for Teladoc Health, Inc. “As patients continue to seek medical care from the comfort and safety of their homes, seamlessly integrated video chat capabilities allow our providers to ensure that their patients have access to personalized, real-time care – from anywhere. “

AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation is able to power integrated and personalized customer connections throughout the loan process, all within the context of its existing applications, through the Vonage SMS API and the Vonage Verify API. “At AmeriSave, we rely on the use of cutting edge technology to provide low rates, transparent prices, easy online applications and, most importantly, excellent customer service for our customers,” said Magesh Sarma, CIO for AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation. “With Vonage, we have the ability to make our interactions with our customers even easier and more transparent, with secure messaging capabilities that also allow us to evolve as we grow.”

Download the full Vonage report, “No Turning Back: The Customer Engagement Revolution”.

About Vonage

Vonage (Nasdaq: VG), a global leader in cloud communications, helps businesses accelerate their digital transformation. Vonage’s communications platform is fully programmable and enables the integration of video, voice, chat, messaging and verification into existing products, workflows and systems. Vonage’s fully programmable unified communications and contact center applications are built on the Vonage platform and enable businesses to transform the way they communicate and operate from the office or anywhere, providing tremendous flexibility and ensuring business continuity.

Vonage Holdings Corp. has its seat at New Jersey, with offices everywhere United States, Europe and Asia. To follow Vonage on Twitter, please visit www.twitter.com/vonage. To become a fan on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/vonage. To subscribe on YouTube, visit www.youtube.com/vonage.

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