It’s still good to talk: only 15% of consumers want no human interaction with brands

Survey reveals UK consumers crave the personal touch when buying

For years, eCommerce businesses and retailers have attempted to cut the amount of human interaction required in the buying journey, either to reduce overheads or to create a frictionless user experience. And yes, a seamless omni-channel path to purchase is craved by consumers. The offline, and human, element often gets side-lined in favour of digital. However, a new survey, commissioned by the intelligent call tracking software company ResponseTap, has revealed that only 15% of people want no interaction with a human when they are making a purchase.

The study, conducted amongst 1,000 UK adults, also showed that 62% of consumers want a more ‘personalised’ experience when buying over the phone.

For retailers who have spent years optimising their online booking journeys to offer the best personalised web experience, this is a wake-up call to include offline sales in this process.

Being able to provide the ultimate customer experience means bringing the online and offline worlds together. For example, analysing the behaviour and journeys of consumers on your website will give you an indication of why they might be looking for clarification or more information over the phone. This insight enables retailers to route calls to specialist handlers, who already have a strong sense of the reason for the call, as soon as the customer dials in. Not only does this provide enhanced personalisation, it also removes the barrier of IVRs, which have been proven to annoy customers. Combining the online and offline in this way can have a positive impact on both conversion rates and loyalty.

And contrary to those suggesting young people would prefer to access information purely online, the research highlights that in fact 46% of 16-24-year olds believe speaking to a specialist is important. The group where this mattered most was 35-44-year olds, where 67% believe it makes a difference.

Ross Fobian, CEO of ResponseTap, commented: “Customer expectations are higher than ever before and personalised experiences across channels are clearly being craved. As we emerge from lockdown, meeting and exceeding customer expectations could well be the key to survival for retailers. Our survey also proves the value of human interaction and it’s reassuring to see young people continuing to embrace this.”

Could it be that lockdown has accelerated this desire for the human touch in shopping experiences? How retailers take advantage of that, to give customers what they want, will be a major differentiator on the road to recovery. If the phone call as a channel is not streamlined and ‘optimised’, then consumers will be grappling with out-dated systems and an impersonal experience, which, as ResponseTap’s research reiterates, is exactly what they don’t want.

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