It’s a question any business with inbound calls must ask itself: live answer or interactive phone menus? While it’s true that businesses with interactive phone menus and automated systems can handle a higher volume of inbound calls, a recent report from the CFI Group — a company specializing in improving customer satisfaction — clearly shows that reaching a live representative instead of an automated phone menu makes a significant difference in customer satisfaction.
What the Statistics Show
To show this difference in customer satisfaction, the CFI Group releases a Contact Center Satisfaction Index (CCSI) annually. The index is an extensive study of customer satisfaction with contact centers across six major industries: banking/credit unions, health insurance, cable or satellite TV, property/casualty insurance, cell phone service and retail. Among other things, the CCSI measures the differences between calls with a live representative and an automated system.
According to the 2014 CCSI, which was released on February 25, 2015, overall customer satisfaction increased from a CCSI Score of 69 (based on a 100-point scale) in 2013 to a score of 72 in 2014. But more importantly, the CCSI found that there was 40% higher satisfaction among customers who interacted solely with a live agent than those who interacted with an automated system. Furthermore, statistics show that many people immediately try to bypass automated options in hopes of talking to a live operator.
Why Customers Prefer Real Operators
Automated phone menus were created to efficiently direct the customer to the correct information. As the CCSI shows, even with technological advancements and other enhancements in these menu systems, customers prefer speaking with a live operator directly.
Put simply, people want to talk to people. They don’t want a “virtual receptionist” with an automated voice that makes poor attempts to recognize what it thinks the customer said. How many times have you had to sit through a long-winded menu when you just needed the answer to one simple question?
At A Better Answer, we know that even the most simplified, straightforward phone menu systems are still no match for the warm greeting of a live answering service. If you’re interested in our award-winning services, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Let us be your Call Handling Heroes!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2011 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.