Blog · 13 Feb 2018

The digital customer: Voice is here to stay

In the second instalment of our blog series on the digital customer experience, Thomas Duecke, President, Global Customer Service, focuses on why service over the phone is here to stay.

Out with the old and in with the new?

New, innovative customer service technologies are emerging at an impressive pace. When we started monitoring consumer behaviour trends back in 2010, tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots may have been considered futuristic. And the omni-channel bubble of video, social media and joined up CRM systems was an emerging aspiration.

These technologies offer customers a service that’s efficient, personalised and modern. So you might expect the more traditional forms of customer service such as voice — essentially customer service over the phone — would die out.

Think again.

Our recent research, ‘Chat, tap, talk: Eight key trends to transform your digital customer experience’, revealed that while voice is declining, it’s happening much more slowly than previously predicted. The question is: why?

Why it’s still good to talk

The research highlighted the fact that, although we’re not doing it as often, most people (84 per cent) have still phoned a call centre within the past six months. And the number of people who want a phone number to be on every web page or app is actually growing — it’s risen from 77 to 81 per cent over the past two years.

Of course many people are using other means to contact organisations — but why are they still calling, on top of these other, more advanced means? Here, the research has an answer for us too. And it’s this: people still like to talk to a person when they have a complex issue that needs discussing.

Sixty-two per cent of the people we asked said they would make a call rather than use other methods if they have a complicated issue to talk about. Interestingly, 63 per cent of people also want to be able to switch a text chat to a voice or video call — showing that consumers are happy to alternate between channels.

Where does this leave your voice channels?

The message to take away here is that while it is important to invest in new solutions, it’s still vital that you have voice options available — and that those voice options are best-in-class. The key is finding the right balance of solutions. By knowing your customers, you can figure out which channels they’re most likely to want to use. And by investing wisely, you can offer an omni-channel solution that’s good for both your business and your customers.

Stay tuned for the next blog in the series, where we’ll go into a technology that’s really taking off for the digital customer — messaging.