A third of over 65s like to communicate with businesses digitally

In a third of cases (32.5 per cent), people aged 65 and over perfer to communicate with businesses through digital channels, a new study by Echo Managed Services says.

The study, surveyed 1,000 UK adults, says 41 per cent of all adults prefer engaging with businesses through either email, web self-serve, web chat, social media or a mobile app.

The report did show some slight differences between varying age groups, but the general conclusion is that consumers have similar preferences. It says that there's a 13 per cent variation between all age groups, with 18 -24 year-olds most likely to communicate through digital channels – a total of 46 per cent.

However, digital communication doesn't seem to be the preferred choice for a more serious conversation – it is usually used to request certain information or pay a bill. For more complicated enquiries, people turn to human contact, be that either face to face, or via telephone.

“Clearly, the growth of digital channels in recent years has had an enormous impact, and while it might be assumed that contact channel preferences would vary greatly between the youngest and oldest in our sample, in fact the pattern of preference was remarkably consistent, in both everyday and more complicated situations,” says Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at Echo Managed Services.

“It’s clear to see that the prevalence of technology and social media has led to people of all ages becoming more comfortable using digital channels.”

“With consumers constantly demanding quicker and more convenient ways to communicate with businesses, and these businesses increasingly faced with cost to serve challenges, the prevalence of digital communication methods comes as no surprise. However, these findings serve as a stark warning to businesses, not to make assumptions about contact channels or customers – instead use customer insight to monitor and adapt to how individuals choose to interact.