Study Finds Most Consumers Want Human Interaction

A new study from analytics software firm Calabrio found that roughly 79 percent of consumers would rather interact with a human when shopping, as opposed to a digital tool such a chatbot or self-service channel.

Are You Listening? The Truth About What Customers Want in a Digital World reveals findings culled from 3,000 surveys of U.S. and the U.K. consumers.

It’s tempting to file that finding in the “No Duh” section of your Trapper Keeper. Of course most consumers want to talk to humans. Right? But I was actually slightly surprised the number wasn’t higher, considering how glitchy and often limited artificially intelligent tools can be.

But modern consumers are learning to help themselves more and more—just look at the enthusiasm for Amazon’s employee-free stores, where shopper self-check-out items they buy. And a growing slice of consumers actually seek out interaction-free shopping opps. After all, we buy so many and varied products online by ourselves already.

But then a majority of consumers surveyed said the human touch is important to them when shopping both in person and online. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they are generally more loyal to businesses that allow them speak to a human than those that offer only digital helpers.

But roughly half of those surveyed (54 percent) said they don’t think companies are wasting their money on efforts to develop human-free customer experience tools (24 percent felt they were indeed wasting their money).

Still, 43 percent of surveyed consumers said they would consider taking their business to a competitor if they were unable to speak to a human. Clearly we’re in an in-between era here.

I will say that based on all the retail reporting I’ve done for JCK, jewelry retailers must offer the option of human interaction for their customers. Even the industry’s digital natives—Vrai & Oro and Blue Nile among them—make it easy to pick up the phone and chat with a representative. I’m convinced that no one, deep down, wants to chose a diamond by themselves.

(Top image via: Pexels)

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JCK Senior Editor

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