In the modern digital age, customers now have more options than ever before to communicate with a business. Unlike 10 years ago, the development of non-voice channels such as email, live chat, chatbots, SMS and social media, has changed the way contact centers operate. Many customers now prefer to communicate with a company using these methods - but what does that mean for the future of voice?
Well, though nobody can deny the rise in popularity of non-voice channels in contact centers, assuming that voice no longer has any value, as a result, would be incredibly naïve. Though its popularity may have lessened as a result of the recent boom in modern communications technologies, phone calls still act as the foundation for any contact center and are a critical channel that customers turn to, should other methods fail.
So, what exactly is it that makes voice communication by phone an essential component of any modern contact center? In order to find out, we decided to list some of the reasons why voice is still important, and why no business can afford to leave it behind if they want to stay relevant and successful in the future.
The power of conversation
Communications technology is a wonderful thing and we can't help but marvel at all the ways in which its development has shaped the society we live in. It has made us more intelligent, more efficient, and given us much greater freedom to choose when and how we get our voices heard. However, as wonderful as things like chatbots, messaging and social media may be, none of them can match the unique experience one feels when speaking with a live agent over the phone. Something about the immediate connection with another human being instills a sense of reassurance in the customer that their issue is being resolved in real-time, and the tone of another human being's voice can be an effective way to calm down a customer in distress.
A dependable solution
People like to know they can depend on something to get their issues resolved quickly, and voice has certainly stood the test of time in this respect. Though there are other solutions now available that might be more convenient or comfortable for the customer to use, it's reassuring if they know, in the back of their mind, that they can always just pick up the phone and explain their issue to a live agent if need be. For this reason, voice is a crucial feature in any contact center that ensures the customers' demands will always be met and that there is always an option at hand that is guaranteed to provide a solution to any problem.
For older demographics who were not raised in the age of the Internet, modern communications technology is sometimes problematic and can actually hinder communication, rather than improve it. Though younger generations may be more comfortable contacting a business on their smartphones through channels like texting or social media, it's much easier for people aged 60 and above to pick up a phone, dial a number, and explain their issue to another human being.
More often than not, success comes from swimming against the current trend and standing out from other competitors in the market. To achieve this goal, a business must create a unique experience for the customer that is positive, refreshing and ensures that the customer will return in the future. Though contact center technologies like AI-driven chatbots provide a much more efficient and economically viable communications solution for the business, it is difficult for them to accurately replicate the unique personality and natural sense of empathy offered by a live phone agent. However, should the business choose to follow a voice-centric communications strategy during a time when the rest of the world is heading in the opposite direction, it is much easier for them to create a differentiated offering for the customer.
Can the contact center survive without voice?
Progress is important in every business, and over the last decade, the communications industry has evolved significantly, thanks to the creation of new technologies. People can communicate with companies more efficiently than ever before and are free to do so in a way that is most convenient to them. When we read about all the benefits these new technologies offer to businesses, our first instinct is to dismiss the old methods as dated and old-fashioned. However, as proved by the points above, traditional communications methods like the phone still have an important role to play in the modern contact center, and that doesn't appear to be changing any time soon.