Smaller businesses are more likely to provide for their customers' needs by offering telephone contact with a real human being, according to a new study.Telecoms firm Unicom found 93 per cent of the businesses surveyed said that speaking with a contact agent was always preferable to using an automated system, reports Comms Business.While 22 per cent of the respondents said they preferred speaking to a person directly, an overwhelming 71 per cent said they were "strongly" in favour of actual contact rather than telephone queuing and automated options."It therefore remains a mystery to us why so many allegedly 'customer-focussed' businesses insist on automation when the customer clearly wants human contact. Even the sharpest automated system cannot deal with customers' enquiries to the extent that a customer might need," said Chris Earle, operations director at Unicom. "Automation is fine if a small business has a specific enquiry and they understand the language of the big business they're calling, but automation has no place in the case of, for instance, banking mix-ups or urgent technical issues that are preventing a business from operating."The study also warns that customers or small firms that become frustrated with the automated systems used by large firms may quickly decide to move to a different provider.© Adfero Ltd