The range of digital channels now available and the rise of automation has transformed the world of customer relations. It might seem that simple voice interaction is no longer needed, or effective. On the contrary, voice remains a popular and valuable mode for communication amongst customers. When delivering a superior customer experience with meaningful interactions, there are at least three key reasons why voice remains the best tool for your brand.
The most natural channel for your customers
While much of our communication has gone ‘digital’ in the last 20 years, voice remains the most natural means of expression for human beings. Humans are natural talkers which largely explains why voice is the most commonly used channel for customer contact for brands, despite the diversification of platforms. According to a Verint study with IDC for their Digital Tipping Point Report, nearly a quarter of the 24,000 consumers surveyed cited the phone as the most popular way to contact organisations and service providers. Four out of five consumers prefer that human interactions remain a part of customer service. In addition, 83% of consumers believe speaking with a person will always be an important part of the customer service process.
Explaining a situation
The above Verint figure shows, interestingly, that the means of contact which customers prefer depends upon the situation. For queries requiring explanation, such as technical assistance or an emergency situation, customers prefer to speak to someone on the phone or in person.
Voice is the communication channel that transmits the most information in the least amount of time, and with minimum effort. For the typical individual it takes longer to write what can be said in a minute: on average between 150 and 200 words. Explaining a complex situation in writing further requires more thought and basic skills in grammar, spelling and structure. Asynchronous channels such as e-mail can also mean greater scope for misunderstanding and delays.
The interactivity inherent in a voice conversation allows the advisor and customer to communicate back and forth, to clarify what is said and to understand each other, even in a short period of time. Ultimately, telephone or face-to-face communications allow customers to get the most effective answers quickly.
Finally, voice is the only channel that allows reactivity and the expression of emotional intelligence. Beyond what the spoken words mean, voice can convey a variety of emotions and implicit information which might reinforce, or contradict, what the customer says. The inflection, flow, tone, accent, and other modulations of the human voice often says much more than the words themselves. An experienced advisor can easily identify if a caller is angry, disappointed or worried just from the tone of their voice. A human advisor has the ability to empathise and can instantly adapt his speech to calm the customer and defuse a situation that might escalate.
Simplicity, ease of conveying information and emotion all make voice a valuable channel for any brand that wants to be close to, and listen to, its customers. However, it is also a demanding channel for advisors. In order to deliver a high level of service at all times, it is crucial that your team has enough agents to respond to the flow of calls. This will ensure customers receive the appropriate support whilst reducing the pressure on individual advisors.