I’ll just press ‘0’: Most consumers still want to deal with people, not machines

NEW YORK — The artificial intelligence market is growing rapidly, but Americans are hoping it doesn’t go much further — 70 percent say they trust people more than technology.

A new survey with a panel of 2,000 adults revealed that, compared with AI, more people still prefer to use a real person when creating an account or making a purchase (44% vs 35%). Things like purchasing a home (55%) or car (52%) were the top items or services where respondents prefer to speak to a real person.

In general, two-thirds (66%) of respondents agree that they feel better about their purchases when dealing with a live sales associate. Moreover, respondents prefer to use a live person when choosing insurance for auto or home (51%) and setting up a banking or electric account (50%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Internova Travel Group, results also show that 81 percent of respondents notice personal touches, such as thank-you notes, when making purchases.

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Why do real people still have the edge over technology?

The benefits of connecting with a real person are based on efficiency and ease, with 55 percent of respondents indicating they can get more detailed information about their options. Other benefits include the ability to ask follow-up questions (47%) and getting responses that are tailored to them (41%).

Seven in 10 respondents feel they get better service when speaking with a person and 63 percent feel more confident that issues will be resolved when they work with a person versus doing things digitally.

“These findings reinforce that humans do it better when it comes to booking travel,” says Brent Rivard, Chief Marketing Officer for Internova Travel Group, in a statement. “When using automation, it can be difficult to get information that pertains to your specific needs. AI, technology and online booking tools simply cannot match the firsthand knowledge or reassurances that our trained advisors can provide.”

Is a robot future inevitable?

More than one-third (35%) of respondents find they “often” still have questions after using an automated system and another 20 percent admit they “always” do. Moreover, respondents have experienced more frustration when dealing with technology than with actual people (43% vs 26%).

In fact, 74 percent agree that over the past decade, we’ve become too reliant on computers, bots, algorithms, and automated systems.

Respondents believe that certain professions like hairstyling (53%), teaching (50%), and journalism (46%) are best left for humans. When asked in what situations they’d always prefer to speak to a person and not artificial intelligence, respondents outlined things like “booking a vacation,” “customer complaint or feedback,” and “finances.”

Even so, 73 percent believe we will be seeing more automated systems over the next 10 years.

“We grew up in a world where technology was supposed to make life better for us, but while technology may become more prevalent, there are certain tasks best left to people,” Rivard continues. “Online travel agencies won’t give travelers a unique, personalized experience, nor do they particularly care if anything goes wrong. When it comes to planning travel, it’s time for humans to take back what’s rightfully theirs.”

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