Most Prefer Human Interaction Over Automation In Their Calls To Businesses

Most people—88 percent, according to a study by business-to-business ratings firm Clutch—prefer to speak to a live customer service agent on the phone. Despite the efficiencies of phone menus for businesses, Clutch found that 72 percent of callers always or frequently end up speaking to a live human after encountering a phone menu and most people find listening to irrelevant options the most frustrating part of interacting with phone menus.

The company reports that its data shows the importance of incorporating a human touch in all customer service interactions. Chris Connolly, vice president of product marketing at Genesys, concurs, adding, “Companies still need human representatives to handle the complexities of certain voice-interactions that cannot be satisfactorily synthesized and automated.”

Most people ranked listening to irrelevant options (69 percent) in their top three most frustrating issues with phone menus, followed by an inability to fully describe their issue (67 percent) and a lack of human interaction (43 percent). Clutch advises businesses to explore creative ways to personalize a phone menu without using customers’ time. As an example, it gives Kin Insurance, which detects an incoming call’s number and routes the call to different points of contact based on if it’s from an existing customer or a recent applicant, all before the caller speaks to anyone.

“If [a phone menu] is going to more quickly resolve a customer’s issue and better route them to the right person they need to talk to, it’s definitely beneficial,” says Tania Kefs, vice president of customer relations at Aircall. “You should always have an open-ended option [to speak to a human]. You can map out all the theoretical questions, but there’s always going to be a percentage that you can’t guess.”

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