Email is the preferred contact channel for 44% of consumers, yet just 33% find it to be the most effective, according to a new Econsultancy survey. 

The multichannel customer service survey, conducted using Toluna, surveyed 2,000 UK consumers on their attitudes to various contact channels. 

Some highlights from the survey after the jump… 

Attitudes to telephone customer service

Predictably, many customers get very frustrated with the standard of telephone customer service offered by firms.

People hate call queues above all else, though they reserve plenty of contempt for automated menus and IVR systems, as well as having to pay to make contact. 

Who provides the best customer service? 

Retailers provide the best customer service by a long way, according to our respondents, while everyone else, telecoms especially, need to work harder. 

Social media and customer service 

Must has been made of the potential for social media as a customer service channel, and there are some brands (ASOS for one) doing this well. 

However, just under 2% cited Facebook or Twitter as a preferred customer service channel, though 3.3% said this was the most effective channel. 9% had asked a question of a brand via Facebook, and 6% on Twitter. 

Which brands are providing excellent customer service? 

We asked respondents which brands have provided them with great customer service over the last 12 months. 

The most common brands cited were: 

Do customers want to pay for VIP service? 

We found that one in eight people would pay a fee for a VIP level of service. That figure rises to one in four customers if they earn between £40k and £70k, which says a lot about consumer expectations and perceptions about excellent service.