Article·AI & Engineering·May 13, 2023

Is Speech the Weak Link in Your Multichannel Strategy?

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Scott Stephenson
By Scott Stephenson
PublishedMay 13, 2023
UpdatedJun 13, 2024

With the prevalence of mobile technologies like smartphones and laptops, it's no surprise that today's customers have come to expect seamless communication. They want answers in seconds, and companies are taking steps to make that expectation a reality.

4 out of 5 executives ranked providing digital tools to promote self-research and quick support via online chats, FAQs, and social media as one of the most important technologies over the next five years.

However, there's one channel that's been left by the wayside: ☎️ the phone ☎️.

A Costly Mistake

Although the phone is the backbone of the call center, the resulting experience is often lackluster. That's an incredibly costly mistake given that

74% of people who had a bad phone support experience are likely to choose another business the next time they shop .

Companies have implemented measures and tools like warm transfers, IVR systems, advanced routing, and real-time metrics in an attempt to improve customer experience, yet calling a company's support line is still a dreaded, and necessary, activity. <mark>While improvements in alternate communication channels can help boost a company's customer service, the phone is a crucial link in the process that cannot be overlooked or deprioritized</mark> for a number of reasons:

  1. Communicating by voice is faster, easier, and more effective than typing messages back and forth.

  2. Call volumes are growing, with calls to businesses expected to exceed 169 billion per year by 2020.

  3. As customers are able to find answers to simple questions through alternate channels, the largest share of call volumes will be made up of complex interactions that involve higher average handling times.

  4. 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, making a seamless transition between human and digital interactions crucial.

What's Hindering Success?

With these statistics, one might ask why companies haven't taken measures to improve their call experience. Simple, phone is the most expensive channel and audio data is much harder than text data to analyze for optimization. Maintaining a call center requires lots of human time and as a result, call centers are limited in their capabilities.

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