Talking to a human improves customer service levels

Human contact: Accenture found that human interaction remains a vital component of customer satisfaction, with more than 80 per cent of Australians preferring to deal with human beings over digital channels.
Human contact: Accenture found that human interaction remains a vital component of customer satisfaction, with more than 80 per cent of Australians preferring to deal with human beings over digital channels.

Advertiser content from Pennytel

How often has this happened to you when calling your service provider?

Voice: Welcome to this company. In just a few words, please tell me what your call is about so I can direct you to the right person.

You: Mobile phone account.

Voice: I’m sorry. I didn’t catch that. In just a few words, please tell me what your call is about so I can direct you to the right person.

You (louder and slower): My mobile phone account.

Voice: Was that ‘my noble drone discount’?  Press one for yes….

While chatbots (as these conversation simulators are called) can work to save people time and organisations money (technology analysts IDC predict that in three years, more than 65 per cent of consumers will interact with customer support bots), sometimes there is no substitute for a real person, especially if you’re not entirely sure about the nature of the problem with your service.

Accenture’s recent Consumer Pulse survey show that even in the digital age, human interaction remains vital for customer satisfaction, with more than 80 per cent of Australians preferring to deal with human beings over digital channels.

And talking to a human is not just good for business. With more than a quarter of us living alone, and that percentage increasing the older we get, human contact becomes more important, especially as the population ages overall.

Some organisations are seeing a niche in these trends and, ironically, are using tradition to innovate.

“While we’ve always been about innovation and doing things differently, in this case ‘different’ actually meant human,” Pennytel CEO Rene Sugo said. Pennytel is a recently relaunched mobile provider for regional Australia tailored to the needs and preferences of the over 50s market.

“With increasing automation, people are frustrated trying to talk to robots and navigating complex portals,” Mr Sugo said.

“We recognise that while some people enjoy interacting with technology, there is a big segment of the population that just want good value and good service that just works. And a person to speak to if they have a question.”

As an example, a real person will answer the phone during Pennytel’s extended customer contact centre operating hours - from 8am to midnight weekdays and 9am to 9pm on weekends. 

A global survey by Genesys revealed customers of telecommunications companies are more likely to leave due to bad service compared to other industries, and one of the most significant causes was being trapped in automated self-service. A company that can find the right balance between technological efficiency and human touch could be onto a winner. 

Advertiser content from Pennytel