Robots march on but most consumers want human touch

DataIQ News

The rise of the robots has been well-documented, as brands embrace the likes of artificial intelligence, virtual assistants and machine learning, but, it seems, when it comes to fostering brand loyalty consumers still want human interaction or they will go elsewhere to find it.

That is according to consumer research commissioned by Yonder Digital Group, which found that an overwhelming 87% report they tend to stay more loyal and increase their business with companies which offer a real person to talk to at the right stage of their customer journey.

This result completely debunks the myth that customer experience can be managed entirely via automation technologies and spells out an important caveat to businesses: scrimping on customer experience can severely damage the bottom-line, the agency claims.

With technology rapidly responding to customer appetite and offering an increasing number of channels and ways for customers to get in touch with companies to make enquiries or complaints, it is not surprising that many businesses find justification in opting for cheap, fully-automated solutions to managing the customer experience.

But Yonder Digital reckons this is no area to make short-sighted cuts as a survey by BI Intelligence confirms that 60% of consumers have not completed an intended purchase based on a poor customer service experience; while a separate Accenture research project  noted that 52% of consumers have switched providers in the past year due to a poor customer experience.

Some 84% of respondents to the Yonder Digital study confirm that having a choice of channels to get in touch with a company is key to ensuring their repeat custom, while speed and effective resolution of the issue, be it a query or a complaint are of course vital to growing and retaining the customer base.

Yonder co-founder and chairman Chris Robinson said: “Consumers today have come to expect a choice of channels to get in touch with companies. They may like to receive promotions over email, browse on an app, but make enquiries over the telephone. However they choose to get in touch with a company they also expect that the answer to their question, or the resolution to their complaint, is dealt with quickly and effectively and technology alone cannot always do that.

“Savvy businesses are combining the undoubtable power of artificial intelligence technology with well-informed live agents and are thus able to make the crucial difference and retain and grow custom as a result. Ensuring that live agents are able to access information on customer behaviour across channels helps ensure that this human interaction is speedy, informed and effective for both the customer and the business.”

Related articles: Are we smart enough to let the machines take control?

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