Why voice remains central to a seamless customer experience

When it comes to digital transformation, all stakeholders want different things. Perhaps IT wants more cloud technologies to enable a flexible infrastructure. Or procurement requires more agile tools in order to work more effectively. Or, HR needs more automation to speed their processes along. Yet irrespective of these demands, one set of needs trumps (and drives) them all: the need of the customer.

With the proliferation of consumer touchpoints – social media, email, mobile apps – businesses must evolve faster than ever to accommodate the needs of the people. This is because many of these communication channels provide the convenience and speed that those in the digital age have become accustomed to. As such, embracing these channels is essential to remaining competitive.

Yet digital transformation can often feel like a pathway that only supports the emergent consumer touchpoints. And especially with AI technology threatening to completely automate the entire customer service experience, traditional telephony systems are at a threat of being left behind.

As a channel reseller, you need to remind your customers that voice is still an integral part of the end user’s experience. It can be little good investing in AI, chatbots or expanding social media teams if traditional channels, such as the telephone, are struggling. If businesses fail to appreciate its importance and fail to invest in it, they could find themselves truly suffering.

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Consumers still want to be heard – by a real person

Voice communication is still as important as ever. This can be witnessed in the recent surge of voice activated technologies in the consumer market and the continued use of call centres. In fact, a recent study by PH Media Group found that 59% of people would never buy from a business if their first call wasn’t handled properly, highlighting the importance of voice channels.

Consumers still want to get in touch with businesses through the phone. Yet small things such as long wait times, frustrating automated self-service lines or consumers having to repeat themselves to multiple agents will see them unlikely to remain loyal.

What’s more, voice systems affect not only the customer experience, but operational processes too. Sure, a customer service crisis directed at an organisation’s Twitter handle can be very public, but it might pale into insignificance if your phone lines are jammed and no one can reach an agent.

As such, cloud telephony as a replacement for line-based phone systems is an important step in the ongoing journey that is digital change.

An update to cloud telephony allows businesses to become inherently scalable, flexible, and mobile. Features such as IVR, hunt groups and call plans mean businesses can operate an efficient telephony platform. Point and click provisioning means operating the system is easy, and total inbound control gives businesses the visibility they need into their bills and strategy.

Consumers want to speak to real people. Your job is to make that as easy as possible.

Don’t leave voice behind

For any business, a multichannel communications strategy means not compromising on the quality of the customer experience on any channel. If a customer enquiry goes to social media, chat, or email, it needs to be dealt with in a rapid and satisfactory way. The exact same standards and attitudes apply to voice. Put simply, voice-based communication should not be neglected in favour of investing in shinier, newer channels. Understanding this importance, and its link to the digital transformation journey, will help any business stand out from the crowd and find success.

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5 May 2017 | Justin Coombes

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.