Ten years ago, there was no web chat, smartphone apps, social media, and very little email. Today, digital interactions account for over 35% of all contact center communications. It’s likely that in a couple of years’ time, the telephone channel will only be used for 50% of all inbound interactions. This isn’t to say the phone will recede in importance – quite the opposite.
According to Deloitte’s Global Contact Centre survey, 68% of respondents believe voice will experience the steepest growth in response to complex inquiries.
In fact, I believe there will always be a prevailing need to service complicated queries with a real person. One can’t underestimate the power of human connections. Callers will often navigate telephone navigation systems (IVR) and queues to speak to a real human being. However, the difficulty of reaching a person can make or break the user experience. Considering the amount of money that companies spend on marketing to court new customers, disregarding the very people that come knocking on their door is insanity!
So how can companies make the telephone channel work for them without paying an arm and leg?
Firstly, through training. Grouping agents into global specialist areas and providing deeper training would help agents resolve customer queries quickly and more efficiently.
Secondly, with VoIP technology. Contact center platforms can now be consolidated on an international scale, from a private or public cloud infrastructure. Any company can use a regular local support number from the countries they provide services to – even if the call center is based in another country. Using a SIP trunk reduces the set-up time from weeks to hours and drives down operation costs to the lowest levels ever – by a significant margin.
Both actions will save the phone channel and by association, the customer experience.
Directing people to a corporate website to fill in a web form is unacceptably expensive when firms consider the damage to customer goodwill. As a rule of thumb, companies should always enable customers to communicate with them on their terms.
For more detail on why the telephone is here to stay, check out my article, ‘It’s good to talk’ on UCStrategies
Dries holds a masters degree in economics from the University of Leuven and a postgraduate masters degree in ICT from the University of Namur.
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