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News » Voice channels still vital for customer service – BLEND survey

Voice channels still vital for customer service – BLEND survey

Voice channels customer service
Photo from BLEND

TEL AVIV-YAFO, ISRAEL — The customer experience landscape has evolved significantly with the advent of web chat and social media, giving consumers more control over their interactions with brands. 

However, the traditional voice channel, particularly Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, remains a crucial component of customer service. A recent survey by BLEND sheds light on people’s perceptions of modern-day IVR and voice customer experience (CX).

IVR usage remains high across ages

BLEND’s online survey, which included responses from all age demographics across every continent, revealed some surprising insights about the resilience and importance of the voice channel in customer service.

A significant 68.7% of respondents reported interacting with IVR systems at least a few times per month. This frequent usage underscores the continued reliance on automated phone systems for various services, including bill payments, personal banking, and customer support.

When it comes to urgent matters, 55.6% of respondents indicated that they prefer using the telephone for immediate or same-day resolution. This preference highlights the voice channel’s effectiveness in providing quick solutions to pressing issues.

The survey also found that 78.5% of participants consider the technical audio quality of voice prompts and on-hold music to be “very important” or “important.” Clear and high-fidelity audio is essential for reducing input errors and improving the overall caller experience.

Audio quality is key for positive IVR experience

Despite the common perception of IVR systems as frustrating, the survey results indicate a shift in sentiment. 

Over half (53%) of respondents described their general experiences with IVR as “positive” or “very positive.” This positive feedback suggests that improvements in IVR technology and user interface design are paying off.

Interestingly, the survey revealed that younger respondents (aged 34 or younger) are just as likely as older demographics to rely on the phone for fast resolutions, with 61.4% choosing it as the fastest contact channel. 

This finding challenges the assumption that younger generations prefer digital channels over traditional voice communication.

Human touch still valued in automated systems

A majority of respondents (60.3%) believe they can distinguish between human and artificial intelligence (AI) voices in IVR interactions. However, 52.3% expressed a preference for human voices to greet and guide them through phone menus. This preference for human interaction highlights the importance of maintaining a personal touch in automated systems.

BLEND’s survey reveals that the voice channel remains a vital part of the customer service ecosystem. While digital channels continue to grow, the telephone, particularly through IVR systems, is still heavily relied upon for urgent and immediate customer service needs. 

The findings also emphasize the importance of high-quality audio and the preference for human interaction in enhancing the caller experience. As technology advances, the challenge will be to balance automation with the personal touch that customers value.

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