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  • 13 July 2017 11:32

Australians prefer human interactions with businesses despite growing use of automation

Landmark report from Telsyte and Genesys reveals one in three consumers has left a provider after poor customer service in the last 12 months

SYDNEY—13 July, 2017 — Genesys® (www.genesys.com/anz), the global leader in omnichannel customer experience and contact centre solutions, has released a new report which reveals while Australians still prefer to pick up the phone and speak to someone directly for customer service, more than half say they like the experience and convenience of digital options for fast response and resolution.

The study, titled The Shift to Human Experience: Consumer Interaction Preferences and Challenges for Industries in Australia & New Zealand, found options for interaction via mobile apps and web sites are expected to increase significantly during the next 12 months.

Comissioned by Genesys, Telsyte surveyed more than 1,000 Australians and New Zealanders on their interaction preferences for customer service. It found when given the choice, respondents prefer to deal with organisations in direct, human-to-human interactions. The same respondents, however, expect mobile agents, branch offices and direct phone calls to decrease as the choice of interaction channels proliferates in the short term.

“These results show that many people still prefer to speak to a real person straight away. So it’s important that businesses in Australia and New Zealand do not overlook the value of the human touch,” said James Walford, director of business development – digital and innovation at Genesys.

“Customers want a personalised experience, and companies need to realise that personalised means different things to different people,” Mr. Walford added. “While this new report shows a willingness to adopt new communication channels, voice is still a critical component of the customer experience. The right digital business transformation process will blend digital channels with human interaction to support the needs and preferences of today’s customers.

Burgeoning new channels present opportunities The report revealed consumers are experimenting with newer forms for communication including web chat, chatbots and other customer facing automated systems.

Of these emerging channels, online chat was found to be the most popular mode of communication, with one in five respondents (20 per cent) identifying it as a preferred method for interaction. Of those who choose to use online chat, over half (55 per cent), believe they get better service this way, and it helps them to interact with the company where and when they want.

“It’s important that businesses don’t think of any channel as an individual communication tactic. As with other platforms, web chat should form part of a broader customer interaction ecosystem, marrying human interactions with technology,” Mr. Walford said.

Looking across age groups, senior citizens prefer phone and other “traditional” interaction channels, while younger generations are open to newer communication technologies. Of respondents aged between 18 to 34, the study revealed a growing preference for automated and self-serve customer service processes.

The survey also identified a growing acceptance of automation and artificial intelligence. Between 30 and 40 per cent of consumers expect an increase in the use of both virtual agents and interactive voice response systems.

Telsyte managing director, Foad Fadaghi, said it’s a timely warning to businesses that depiste the lure of automation, realtively few consumers have had exceptional experiences with automated systems and more consumer education is needed.

“Consumers are becoming more open to AI and automated systems, but have had limited positive experiences so far, making the human touch even more critical in this time of transition” said Mr. Fadaghi.

The real risk of customer dissatisfaction Despite the technologies available to businesses, customers still report high levels of dissatisfaction. Unhappy customers are voting with their feet, with nearly one-third of customers walking away from a brand as a result of poor customer service in the past 12 months. Over half (57 per cent of those surveyed) also share their dissatisfaction with friends and family who (52 per cent) will then also stop using the company altogether.

“Businesses must ensure they are investing in the communication channels that align with customer preferences. As there is often a variety of providers competing in the same space, customers no longer have to settle for poor service on any channel. Having a blended approach to customer experience is key to giving customers what they want, whilst simultaneously adapting to emerging trends,” Mr. Walford said.

Genesys commissioned Telsyte to conduct an independent study of consumer interaction preferences and trends across Australia and New Zealand. The study, conducted in Q4 2016, is based on a survey of 1,057 people in Australia (886) and New Zealand (171) aged over 18.

Survey methodology The sample was stratified to the Australian population and survey results were weighted to ABS (Census) statistics for age, gender and location. The survey was conducted with a paid consumer research only panel (not used for marketing) that adheres to industry best practice. The online survey took 15 to 20 minutes to complete and interviews. Telsyte acknowledges and is comfortable with any biases that might have arisen as a result of an online survey.

About Genesys Genesys® powers more than 25 billion of the world’s best customer experiences each year. Our success comes from connecting employee and customer conversations on any channel, every day. Over 10,000 companies in more than 100 countries trust our #1 customer experience platform to drive great business outcomes and create lasting relationships. Combining the best of technology and human ingenuity, we build solutions that mirror natural communication and work the way you think. Our industry-leading solutions foster true omnichannel engagement because they perform equally well across channels, on-premise and in the cloud. Experience communication as it should be: fluid, instinctive and profoundly empowering. Visit genesys.com on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and the Genesys blog.

About Telsyte Telsyte delivers strategic insights and advisory services to businesses that are producing, or are impacted by, disruptive technologies. Telsyte publishes studies into emerging consumer and business markets and provides custom research and advisory services. Telsyte is an independent business unit of DXC. Technology. For more information about Telsyte, please visit: www.telsyte.com.au.

Contacts: Renee Byatt renee.byatt@genesys.com +61 401988474

Sarah Einig H+K Strategies for Genesys sarah.einig@hkstrategies.com +61 421582268

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