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Speaking on the phone gets vote over robots

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Speaking on the phone is the preferred choice

While investment pours into artificial intelligence and other automated means of communication, a survey has found that most of us still prefer to seek out advice by phone.

The last year has seen an explosion in the different ways to access information, including self-service channels such as webchats.

But the phone remains the main channel of choice. The study revealed that the phone is used by 71% of people and accounts for 31% of interactions. Additionally, one in three (33%) people expect to use the phone more in the future for customer service.

“This shows that the demand for human interaction is still high and has remained so during the pandemic,” say the report’s authors, the Call Centre Management Association in association with contact centre solutions company Odigo.

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Preferences differ according to age group. Those aged 55+ are 15% more likely than those aged 18-34 to access customer service over the phone. In addition, 18-34-year olds are more likely than those aged 55+ to use a chatbot.

Neil Titcomb, managing director UKI at Odigo, said: “The last twelve months have been unprecedented for the customer experience industry. Agents have been dealing with a huge increase in call volume amid a very complex backdrop.

“Despite this, CCMA’s research shows promising progress; customers believe service has improved, the phone remains the preferred channel of choice and self-service is on the rise.”

The study found that while new ways of working over the past year have challenged the industry, consumers believe that the quality of customer service has not decreased, and in fact improved throughout the pandemic.

Two-thirds (65%) of consumers surveyed cite having told someone about a good experience they have had following an interaction with a contact centre.

Similarly, 69% have done the same if the experience was bad. Social media and review sites were also signposted as ways for consumers to relay their experiences.



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