Jas Bansal of Foehn argues that prioritizing a “voice-first” approach is the key to optimizing the customer experience.
When it comes to channel choice offered to customers, our view is simple. Omnichannel is essential for those who need it. Human voice is essential for all.
A consensus of surveys and our experience, particularly amongst SMEs, confirms voice is still the most preferred channel.
Whilst younger, more digitally savvy consumers may not make a phone call their first choice, a human is still mandatory back-up when conversations get complicated or sensitive.
For the customer, the decision is most acute when webchat is concerned. A multitude of factors dictate the outcome of voice vs chat, so it was interesting to see the recent Harris Poll and Interactions research answering the question ‘To Text or to Talk?’
In particular, it’s concerning to read the conclusion that: “Regardless of preference, consumers may be selecting other channels simply because the traditional channels they use are causing too much frustration.”
On first inspection, the figures stack up with our experience. Voice is preferred over texting simply because it’s easier (according to 61% of respondents). It’s faster, more effective and allows expression.
Text, on the other hand, is seen as a work-around, cutting waiting time, providing a record of the conversation and generally fitting the consumer’s modus operandi.
The stand-out finding, though, is that many inbound callers are still greeted with outdated contact centre technology, resulting in 94% being frustrated with voice communication. Waiting for an agent, repeating instructions, poor IVR and disconnections all contribute to their woes.
What’s the solution? There’s two points of view.
On the one hand, the report goes on to present figures that suggest AI voice response is a valid alternative, with 63% of respondents prepared to try that route if it works.
On the other hand, our philosophy is that if a customer has called to speak to an agent, you do everything to deliver just that. And that starts by replacing the outdated technology.
The middle route is to provide greater self-service and skills-based routing to filter voice calls for those who really need them whilst controlling costs of agent resource.
Either way, the report concludes that ‘getting voice right is still a priority’ and that’s where we at Foehn agree 100%.
To find out more about Foehn, visit: www.foehn.co.uk