Phone customer support is disappearing

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The traditional practice of dialing a customer service number and speaking with a live person is becoming obsolete. Companies are increasingly turning to automated chatbots, virtual assistants, and other forms of artificial intelligence to handle customer inquiries as they try to streamline operations and cut costs.

Companies are now using chatbots, prerecorded voices, virtual assistants, and other forms of artificial intelligence to handle customer inquiries. While these technologies can undoubtedly increase efficiency and decrease wait times, they are not without limitations.

For starters, they are frequently unable to comprehend complex or nuanced issues, leaving customers frustrated and dissatisfied. Furthermore, they lack the empathy and personal touch that many people value when seeking help.

Some phone lines appear to be entirely staffed by robots, forcing users to cycle through menu after menu in search of a live, real person. Or, increasingly, businesses do not provide a phone option at all. This is due to companies making it difficult to reach a live person when assistance is required.

Contact information is difficult to come by. The wait to speak with an operator is lengthy. To back up this claim, an industry analyst estimated that the average wait time tripled from 2020 to 2022 and believes it is still a third longer than before the pandemic.

According to a OnePoll survey conducted in 2021, more than two-thirds of respondents ranked speaking with a human representative as one of their preferred methods of interacting with a company, and 55 percent ranked the ability to reach a human as the most important attribute a customer service department can have.

On the plus side, these new technologies provide numerous advantages, such as 24/7 availability and faster response times. Customers can get help at any time of day or night, without having to navigate difficult phone menus or wait for a representative to become available. Chatbots and virtual assistants can also handle routine inquiries quickly and efficiently, freeing up human representatives to handle more complex issues.

“The difficulty of reaching humans for customer support is an imposition on both our time and our finances, forcing us to spend what can be hours of labor — sometimes known as shadow work or a time tax — to resolve what should be simple problems,” says Helaine Olen of Washington Post.

The sources for this piece include an article in WashingtonPost.



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