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Why we’d rather be poked in the eye than call customer services.

I recently come across an online comic listing the frustrations that people have with contact centres. Yes, its irreverent and it contains language that you wouldn’t expect to hear in a business context, so I probably won’t mention it here. And while the Oatmeal is known for its satirical look at the world, I couldn’t help laughing out loud, because this infographic nails so many things that contact centres get wrong on a daily basis.

It got me thinking about why we constantly introduce contact centre practices that we know drive us to distraction when we experience them as consumers? Yes we need automated call centre solutions to keep costs down, yes we need to protect customer data, of course we must manage personal security risks, but surely there must be a better way to manage it?

Today consumers are connected 24/7 and we expect our banks, mobile phone providers and the many other businesses we interact with to do the same. We want the option of multi-channel customer solutions but our frustration with machines is a powerful indicator of what we really need.

Recent research into the preferred channels when dealing with brands revealed that despite digital growth, customers still prefer the personal touch.Contacting via phone is considered the most effective customer service channel for resolving issues, with little difference by industry: 52 percent reach out by phone, versus 23 percent by e-mail, 17 percent via in-person contact and only 1 percent via social media or mobile app.

While the frustrations highlighted by the cartoon are exaggerated it serves as a reminder that personal contact is still hugely important no matter how reliant on technology we might be.

We’ll be exploring more issues relating to customer experience management and personal interaction and how this can fit into today’s increasingly digital contact centres in the coming weeks.

If you've read this far then I think its only fair to share the infographic with you.