Why human support is still required

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Research shows that customers prefer to talk with customer service reps instead of a computer.

When customers first call for support, many are met with some kind of interactive computer system that directs their call to a specific department. In some cases, support is completely conducted through a computer system, and customer support reps are only there as a last resort. This may seem like a smart, efficient way of conducting support, but the quality of service provided declines significantly, and customers don't like dealing with computer systems.

A better solution is to hire customer service reps and equip them with high-quality customer service software. This allows businesses to harness the powers of modern technology but not lose the personal touch with their customers. This approach will help increase customer satisfaction, and therefore the bottom line, more than relying heavily on a computer system ever could.

Customers seeking support often become annoyed or angry with IRVs.Customers seeking support often become annoyed or angry with IVRs.

Customers want to talk to real people
The process of dealing with automated phone systems, called interactive voice response systems, irritates a lot of customers. Many articles have even referred to the process of dealing with IVRs as customer service hell. This might seem a little extreme, but it isn't unfounded. The SocialTimes reported on data from a NICE study that showed 60 percent of customers ranked a live customer service rep over the phone as the most satisfying channel of support.

In addition to customers disliking IVRs, there is another reason companies may want to hire more customer support reps and fire their interactive computer systems - quality of service. The data from the NICE study showed an issue resolution success rate of 69 percent when customers worked with a live customer support rep. That success rate dropped to 48 percent for IVRs.

Although IVRs might not be the best way to provide service, customer support software can be a very valuable tool. These systems aren't for the customer, they're a customer service tool for the agent and house important customer data the rep may want to utilize while taking care of the customer. The key is the actual person helping the customer.

"Computer systems just can't provide the level of service that actual people can."

It's understandable why people want to talk with an actual person. Computer systems just can't provide the level of service that real people can, and reps can problem solve in ways IVRs simply can't.

Computers can't think
Computer systems commonly used for customer service simply don't cut it when it comes to customer interaction. While computers are the best option for some things, like collecting and sorting data, they lack a number of capabilities humans are born with. These abilities include empathy, creativity, judgment and critical thinking, Celia Pearce, a game designer, told the Pew Research Center.

"Truth be told, computers are not very smart," Pearce told the Pew Research Center. "All they are is giant calculators. They can do things that require logic, but logic is only one part of the human mind."

According to Wired magazine, jobs that deal with other people are ones that will always require a human touch. The publication pointed to health care and education as two industries that will always need human workers, but customer service is another obvious choice. As long as people need help, they will reach out to others, and a smart business will have reps in place to answer their questions.

Remember that one of the keys to maintaining happy customers is hiring the right people. Download our white paper for tips on building a stellar customer support team:


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