Do we need to rethink the role of the voice channel in the contact centre? Rafael Cortes shares the views of the cloud contact centre provider Foehn.
Have you ever experienced that feeling of euphoria when you express your beliefs on a subject, going against the tide of public opinion, only to be proved right?
Defending that opinion over the long term requires courage, conviction and a thick skin but, when the finishing line is reached, the satisfaction is all the greater.
In the hype-fuelled world of IT, where highly charged sales and marketing troops rely on innovation and differentiators for ammunition, it’s a brave company that goes against the flow and stands up to be counted.
Two years ago, Foehn CTO James Passingham did just that.
Following on the success of the Voxivo Cloud Phone, we at Foehn decided to extend the platform and develop our own contact centre system, VoxivoCX.
When it came to the design specification, market noise and the opinion of experts had you believe that omnichannel, AI and voice recognition dominated customer requirements, even for the mid-market. We saw it differently.
We could see the demand and and we could see how a large enterprise, with a big customer base and even bigger resources, could justify the investment.
For most businesses, though, it just didn’t look feasible. Achievable market was a long way from available market, and short-term time scales looked way too optimistic.
That said, we at Foehn are strong advocates for omnichannel, and our enthusiasm for the technology has earned us the UK’s only Gold Partnership for Purecloud, the omnichannel market leader from Genesys.
Equally, it’s this experience that exposed the big difference between what a business needs to do and what a business is allowed to do.
Omnichannel is the future, but successful market adoption is all about timing, and contact centre evolution seems to be getting ahead of itself. We saw that the market was taking a different direction, less fashionable for many but for us more exciting. Voice was making itself heard in the contact centre again.
Of course, voice had never gone away – far from it. Surveys have shown consistently that, given the opportunity, customers rate voice as their preferred channel of communication.
From the point of view of the contact centre agent, voice wins hands down. Compared with many digital alternatives, it requires less training, it’s simpler to use and faster to adopt.
Inherently, it’s a fast, economical channel of communication and, perhaps most importantly, it’s the only channel that can be trusted for dealing with high-value or high-sensitivity calls.
The customer wants it, the agent likes it, the business needs it. That’s why voice became our focal point when designing VoxivoCX.
We set out to streamline the way voice is used, simplify its interaction with other tools and raise its performance so that organisations and customers see it as a first choice rather than a last resort.
Three years later, we launched VoxivoCX at the 2019 Call & Contact Centre Expo amidst praise from prospective customers and applause from contact centre managers, all of whom reassured us that we’d ‘got it right’. Others agreed too.
Forrester confirms that the success of CX projects has stalled over the past three years, claiming that 89% of CX professionals are not satisfied with return on investment.
Meanwhile, Genesys echoes our views on the way forward, estimating that 75% of consumers still believe humans provide the most effective customer service.
In essence, businesses are looking for a more pragmatic approach to boosting customer experience without breaking the budget. Voice meets that challenge.
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be taking a closer look at voice in the contact centre – how it influences agent productivity, how to measure its performance, how it impacts cost, how it interacts with other channels (webchat, bots, etc.) and, above all, how your customers will benefit.
You can see what we’re doing about it here. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be talking more about voice in the contact centre, so look out for us and let us know what you think – we welcome your views.