Artificial intelligence and chatbots might be all the rage when it comes to customer service, but a new GetApp survey of customer service stats for 2017 shows that people still want to talk to human beings to resolve their customer service issues.

Asking respondents about customer service values and preferences in two different survey panels, both panels indicated that they prefer human contact when it comes to customer service. 36.6 percent of respondents said that they consider talking to a real person as the most valuable aspect of customer service, while a staggering 88 percent of customers said talking to a person is their preferred method of seeking customer service.

Customer Service Stats 2017

Of that 88 percent, 36.8 percent of customers indicated that they prefer talking on the phone, while 12.7 percent prefer online communication. 29.6 were indifferent to the medium, as long as they’re able to talk to a person.

Customer service is facilitated through everything from call center agents, through live chat, to self-service options like help centers or video tutorials. Most recently, chatbots have been stealing the spotlight as the likely contender for the next big thing in customer service. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, these customer service “robots” are poised to help solve customer issues in the near future.

But while businesses are going crazy for the idea, it seems as if customers still prefer talking to a human to help them with their burning customer service needs.

Key findings:

  • 36.6% of respondents value talking to a person over anything else when it comes to customer service, while 21.1% of respondents value knowledgeable sales staff.
  • 88% of respondents want to talk to a person, whether that be over the phone (36.8%), or via web chat or email (12.7%); 29.6 percent are indifferent to the medium.
  • 12% of respondents prefer having no human contact at all when it comes to customer service, while 9% of respondents want self-serve options.

Details of the research:

Question #1: As a customer, what do you value most when it comes to customer service?

#1: Talking to a real person – 36.6%

#2: Knowledgeable support staff – 21.2%

#3: Having polite customer support staff – 16.9%

#4: Having an immediate response – 11.9%

#5: Getting a personalized response – 6%

#6: Having multiple contact options – 5.6%

#7: Other – 1.8%

Demographics: Over 500 US-based respondents between the ages of 25 and 65 with an average inferred annual income of $24k – $150k.


Question #2: Which would you say best describes you when it comes to seeking customer service?

#1: I prefer talking to a person on the phone – 36.8%

#2: Don’t mind, as long as I can talk to someone – 29.6%

#3: I prefer talking over web chat or email – 12.7%

#4: I try to avoid human contact at all costs – 12%

#5: I prefer self-service or automated responses – 9%

Demographics: Over 500 US-based respondents between the ages of 25 and 65 with an average inferred annual income of $24k – $150k.


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