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Customers Who Seek Help Hate That Automated Voice

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Are you thinking about joining the big boys in business by incorporating an Interactive Voice Response system as part of your customer care ? The results of a new study may make you change your mind.

Customers continue to be overwhelmingly dissatisfied with IVR systems, viewing them as difficult to use and less desirable than any other form of customer service, according to the survey commissioned by Interactions Corp., a Boston-area company that provides technology for automated voice and interactive systems.

An overwhelming majority of surveyed consumers (83 percent) saw IVR systems providing only a cost-savings benefit or no benefit at all to the companies that deploy them.

Consumers viewed live help as being far easier to use than automated assistance, and a majority of them (67 percent) said they prefer live-agent provided service over other service options.

The dissatisfaction level with automated systems remained high amid recent growth in the use of these systems. Investment in a global IVR market is expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2015.

The main shortcoming of IVR systems is that they are difficult to use, according to the more than 400 consumers surveyed for the study. On an ease-of-use scale, IVR systems were the only service option perceived by survey respondents as difficult to use. Only 15 percent chose IVR as their preferred option.

"This study reinforces why companies are seeking customer care solutions that provide a better consumer experience," said Mike Iacobucci, the chief executive of Interactions. "There is a significant measurable experience gap between a customer service agent and IVR. If IVR is going to remain relevant, this gap must be narrowed."


Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.



Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and held a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.