Keeping Up with Changing Customer Preferences: SMBs Need to Offer Voice, Video, and Messaging

Customers expect quick resolutions and the ability to use multiple communication channels when interacting with small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), revealed a survey conducted by Vonage.

The survey showed that 29% of respondents said that quick response times are their primary expectation when interacting with small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that use chatbots, voice recognition, or other artificial intelligence (AI) communication tools. Customers also value speedy resolutions when communicating through voice (27%) and video (25%) channels. Interestingly, 42% of those who use video communication with SMBs seek a human connection without requiring an in-person meeting.

"Customer experience is not one-size-fits-all, and all businesses, including SMBs, should consider that consumer preferences are ever-changing. There's a clear need to continuously evaluate communication channels to keep customers happy and coming back. As new communications preferences emerge, implementation of these channels doesn't have to be complicated. A cloud-based platform can help businesses easily implement and scale their communications across voice, video, and messaging as their customers prefer. Doing so will go a long way in delivering high-quality customer engagements and satisfaction," said Joy Corso, Chief Marketing Officer for Vonage

According to the survey results, for SMBs trying to decide which communication channels to offer to customers, 23% of respondents consider voice calls as their top priority. In healthcare and professional services, voice calls are the preferred communication method, with 33% and 32% selecting it, respectively. On the other hand, in the retail SMB sector, 32% of survey respondents chose email as their preferred channel, followed by voice calls at 25%.

SMBs that don't offer access and support through multiple communication channels are less favorable, according to 60% of respondents, but they would still work with them. In contrast, 16% of respondents said they would view the business as less favorable and would not want to work with them again. This highlights the importance of providing various communication channels to customers to meet their expectations and achieve their loyalty.

Communication preferences

Although a significant number of consumers (68%) still prefer doctor appointments in person, the survey results indicate that 32% prefer video communication for healthcare appointments.

According to the survey, almost half of the respondents (46%) are willing to suggest their preferred communication channels to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) if the options are not already provided.

Preferences for communication channels with SMBs can vary among customers, as 30% of respondents reported that their preferred channels can change depending on the day.

Elsewhere, Vonage has recently launched Vonage Meetings API, a no-code, embeddable video conferencing solution that enables businesses to customize the video conferencing experience to fit any website or platform.