Be honest. How many times have you called the cable/phone/insurance company/ any various customer service provider only to navigate an automated system? Out of those, how many times have you given up in utter frustration for desperate want of a human voice? Or, if you’re like me, resorted to absurd measures like completely inflating your issue in hopes of bounding to the top of some imaginary priority real-person-required-to-help list, pounded zero or screamed, “OPERATOR!” repeatedly, or hung up with the intention of calling at some ridiculous off-peak hour when there just has to be a live person there to talk to you??
When it comes to customer service, the power of the human voice goes a long way. Knowing that you’re being treated like an appreciated customer (read: human being) means getting your answers not from a computer with a predetermined list of specific problems (ironically, never ones that seem to match your problem), but knowing that the company with which you’re dealing values you enough to at least actually talk to you.
As it turns out, according to a recent study by the University of Missouri (via a PRSA.org article), it’s not just me desperate for that human voice. In fact, researchers found that when they asked respondents to rate mock social media sites, those using a personal human voice received higher ratings than those with more impersonal communications techniques.
“Levels of trust, commitment and satisfaction from users all appear to be positively affected by the use of the human voice in social media,” says Hyojung Park, a doctoral candidate at the Missouri School of Journalism.
The survey results indicate that people perceive websites that use a conversational human voice much more positively than websites with a strictly organizational presence. This information could go a long way for PR professionals, especially in terms of social media website usage.
The results are in. Adding the “human touch” to a website or customer service line could mean the difference between a one-time customer and a repeat user. Hopefully service providers will listen to such studies and take the results to heart. After all, isn’t all we want just to be heard?
The views expressed in this post are mine alone and do not reflect the views of Vehr Communications, LLC.