According to a recent survey conducted by Uniphore, a considerable part of American consumers prefers using voice over any other mean of communication when contacting a contact center. These new findings couldn’t have come at a better time for the industry as some specialist are already prophesizing the death of the call center. Taking a Look at the Numbers The cited survey was conducted by the Conversational Service Automation distributor, Uniphore, and included a sample of 1,000 randomly selected individuals that live in the United States. The participants were contacted online. The Vast Majority Want Palpable Human Interaction 80% of the individuals that participated in the study declared they’d rather speak to an agent than a chatbot. The COVID-19 Increased Call Center Traffic According to the numbers, Americans have increased call center traffic with almost 50%. Data collected from the respondents shows that, apart from routine queries that remained at a constant (yet slightly elevated) volume, approximately 42% of customers had a COVID-19 related issue that needed resolving. Getting in Touch with An Agent Is a Tough Job in Itself It seems like a third of responders were kept on hold for over 30 minutes. More shockingly, from those 33%, 5% were on hold for over 2 hours. This does not take into consideration calls dropped below the 30 minutes mark. In addition, more than a third (37%) of the survey participants were asked to wait for a call back or had to contact their provider at least 2 times before speaking to an actual agent. To top it off, more than 18% of responders claimed to have been disconnected from a call, therefore forcing them to call back. Some were even forced to try again more than once to get a chance to speak with an agent. The Average Call Time Has Increased A quarter (25%) of the people that participated in the survey declared that, once in touch with an agent, they spent over 20 minutes on the phone trying to solve a problem or gather information. An Overwhelming Number of People Are Not Happy with the Support They’re Receiving A staggering 72% of surveyed individuals admitted to ending a call to a contact center before being connected with an agent. To no surprise, out of these, 43% manifested feelings of anger, annoyance, or frustration due to the long holding times. Even more worrisome for service providers, more than half the participants (68%) declared they would switch companies after experiencing bad customer service. And to top it all, 40% of the people that participated in the survey demonstrated indifference towards the services they received, declaring they would neither recommend nor not recommend the service/company they interacted with. There’s a Silver Lining Over half the people who had the patience and resilience to get in touch with a contact center agent were happy with the service they received, 60% of them declaring the agent had useful information prepared. Moreover, 65% reported positive interactions with contact center agents and 2 thirds considered that their interaction with the agent resulted in relevant and timely information. Identifying User Needs Half of the participants in the survey expressed the need for intent detection, claiming calls could go smoother If the company already knows why they’re calling. Moreover, people feel safer when their needs and complaints are recorded and kept in a record as 74% expressed a preference for a historical record of all contact center interactions. What Does This Mean? According to this data, users want to talk to a real agent. Voice is still their preferred means of communication because it ensures them that a real person is catering to their needs. The survey only shows a preference to voice over chatbots. So, the best way to streamline your services is to offer your clients the possibility of contacting a real agent on multiple platforms. Chat doesn’t get disconnected, for example. And it’s still an agent at the other side of the screen offering assistance. To sum it up, voice is still alive, but it’s clunky and generates frustration when it’s the only channel that allows customers to get in touch with agents.