5 January 2019
Gone are the days when customer service necessarily meant a call centre full of contact agents. In a digital world, text has firmly established itself as an acceptable standard for business communication, and most of us think nothing of tapping away on our phones rather than putting them to our ears. When our query is simple enough, we’re even happy to chat with a bot instead of a real person – often without even knowing we’ve done it.
If it results in speedier customer service, then that’s all for the good. But when you’re selling business telecoms like voice, you might be feeling a little unsettled by the advent of AI and chatbots. With so much buzz around these technologies, it’s easy to imagine that this is where your customers are focusing their budgets, leaving mediums like voice telephony to fall by the wayside.
But is this really the case? As a channel partner, it’s your job to help your customers thrive in a digital age – and that means making sure their customers are satisfied. And while text-based communications like chatbots can be a helpful tool, they’re far from the full story when it comes to providing great customer service.
Keeping the human touch
Digital advancement is certainly on the minds of many business leaders. One Gartner survey showed that 62% of CEOs have a transformation program in place to make their business more digital. Tools like chatbots are increasingly a part of this, with 80% of companies either using chatbots or planning to by 2020. But if you’re a voice channel partner, don’t worry – virtual assistants, or even live agents using chat apps, won’t make voice obsolete.
Because while bots and chat apps might be efficient, 59% of global consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. A customer’s willingness to communicate via chatbot or virtual assistant also very much depends on the industry at hand. Only 10% of people would favour the use of a chatbot in the government sector, for example. While just one in five would prefer it for banking or financial advice, and 34% would choose it when shopping online – meaning there’s a great many customers out there in all sectors who prefer other methods of communication.
So, while chatbots certainly have their place, your customers should be aware that their customers still value the human touch – and there’s no better platform than voice for delivering that. And, as we discovered in our recent research report, Survive + Thrive: The state of tech adoption in the UK, your customers should be combining voice with text-based comms if they really want to get ahead.
Help your customers to thrive with telecoms
When we asked businesses which technologies they felt were most likely to make a difference to their business success, AI and chatbots didn’t even make the top three. Data security took the number one spot, with analytics in second place, and unified communications (UC) coming in third.
A which combines voice telephony and text-based platforms allows conversations to be accessed from any device, helping your clients to deliver great service in whichever way is most appropriate. As a channel reseller, it’s important to consider how you can offer this, especially since it’s becoming a greater preference among businesses. Hosted telephony, for example, can be accessed from a desk phone, a mobile, or even a desktop client.
And of course, if you’re an IT and data partner, a highly digital world means your role as a provider is more important than ever. Whether it’s AI, chatbots, hosted telephony or something else entirely, modern companies rely on technologies powered by a robust internet connection. Meaning your customers need a data network they can rely on – one that provides business continuity, a speedy service, and comes with a reliable SLA.
Succeeding in a digital world
No matter what new technologies emerge, the old platforms will always be valuable – it’s just a case of using them together in an effective way. And with just 9% of businesses reporting that their technologies integrate well, the opportunity for channel resellers is clear. If you can help your customers to integrate a range of technologies successfully, they’ll be well on their way to getting ahead in the highly digital world.