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, particulary amongst SME’s, 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 web chat is concerned. A multitude of factors dictate the outcome of voice vs chat, so it was interesting to see recent 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 fustration’.

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The stand-out finding, is that many inbound callers are still greeted with outdated contract centre technology, resulting in 94% being frustrated with voice communication.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 one hand, the report goes on to present figures that suggest AI voice responses 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 And that starts by replacing the outdated technology.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 agree 100%. Learn more about our voice-first VoxivoCX cloud contact centre.

(*Source: Harris Poll and Interactions LLC)

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