When customers call, they want to be heard — not by a machine, but a real human being.
That’s the key insight from a new survey  by Washington-based research firm Clutch. The survey reveals the ability to speak with a human representative is the most important characteristic of any phone call for customers.
2017 Answering Service Survey Results
Customers Want to Speak with You – Not a Robot
Of those who speak to a representative, 21 percent said human interaction is the most important. And, 25 percent of callers said they wanted automated phone services to have an option for human interaction.
But reaching a human is not enough. Among the other qualities respondents said they expected when reaching a human representative, 19 percent said friendliness, 17 percent said clarity, 16 percent said fast service and 13 percent said a decisive outcome.
Customers Not Happy with Their Call Experience
However, respondents also say the kind human interaction they get is important. For example, 39 percent of customers think they’re speaking to call centers when they are transferred to another line. And when that happens, customers feel their calls don’t matter to your company.
What’s more, less than half (44 percent) of respondents who thought they spoke to call centers had a completely satisfying call.
Customers Expect Authenticity
What customers want is an assurance you are taking their complaints  seriously. If callers experience transfers, low-quality audio, or answering service representatives speaking sub-par English, they will not feel satisfied with the service.
On the other hand, if representatives speak like normal human beings truly interested in resolving their issues, callers will feel their grievance is being given adequate importance.
For the study, Clutch surveyed 468 individuals who had called a business or medical organization with a question or concern within a month of taking the survey.
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