Digital or Human? Which Customer Service Method Rules?

BY Rachel Cagle
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We live in a digital age, there’s no denying that, but it still seems as if every customer service article you read is telling you to keep your service humanized. But considering the popularity of more introverted machines such as self-​checkouts and kiosks, should that really be the case? Teresa Allen offers the answers in her article, “Digital Customer Service or a Human Touch? What DO Customers WANT?

The Global Customer Pulse Research study conducted by Accenture Strategy found that 58% of clients prefer to approach a human with their customer service needs while only 36% actively choose digital channels over interacting with a human. Digitized voices and blinking cursors bring customer services’ ratings down even further, with 73% of clients preferring human interaction. Not only that, the study also found that a mere 25% of clients will recommend a business that mainly uses digital services to others and 65% of these same clients will stop doing business with that company as a result.

Verint did its own study called The Digital Tipping Point and found which ways customers prefer to interact with businesses:

  • Phone: 24%
  • In Person: 23%

In comparison, Verint found that only 3% of customers prefer to contact a business using social/​mobile apps.

While this news doesn’t seem good for the future of digital service, don’t give up hope on it just yet. According to Accenture Strategy, there are still 41% of clients who wish there were even more digital options available to them.

Another discovery Verint highlighted in its study is that, although phone and in-​person interactions scored the highest among the surveyed customers, the service media companies are planning to invest in are live chats and mobile apps. These findings show why it’s invaluable to stay updated on the customer service methods your customers prefer. You should never limit your clients to what you think is the future of customer service when that very well may not be the case.

So, don’t forget that, while human interaction seems to win the day in customer service, there will always be those who still prefer digital customer service. To be safe, have a healthy mix of media available for your clients to reach you through so that they never feel limited to a method they aren’t comfortable with. Also, make sure to ask for feedback from your clients so that you are kept up-​to-​date on their preferred contact methods. Only then will you be truly prepared to offer the very best service to your clients in the future.