Almost 90% of Customers Prefer to Speak to a Live Person Instead of IVR Menu: New Study

Almost everyone would rather talk to a real person than automated communications when they call a company, according to a new study by B2B research firm Clutch. Of 501 people surveyed, 88% said they preferred speaking to humans and 72% said they usually speak to a human after encountering an IVR menu.

IVR has come a long way but consumers still find it frustrating when they have questions that automated responses can’t answer. To reach a human as quickly as possible, 70% said they pressed zero and 65% said they used the words “operator” or “agent.”

Related: 3 Tips for a Successful IVR Deployment

Common IVR compliants

Reasons given for disliking IVR menus include:

  • 69% said listening to irrelevant options
  • 67% pointed to the inability to articulate an issue correctly
  • 43% missed the lack of human interaction
  • 15% were confused by menu options

Chris Connnelly, vice president of product marketing at Empirix partner Genesys, said: “Companies still need human representatives to handle the complexities of certain voice interactions that cannot be satisfactorily synthesized and automated.”

IVRs should enhance CX

IVR menus should enhance customer interactions, not replace the need for humans. The stakes are high for companies that fail to get it right. When Americans have a poor customer experience, they tell 15 others on average. If a competitor’s prices are comparable, 47% of customers will take their business elsewhere within a day. Recruiting new customers costs 5 times more than retaining existing ones.

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