Time’s up for the Poor Phone Channel Experiences
For years poor phone channel experiences have been the bane of customers trying to get in touch with companies.
From never-ending waiting times to speaking to the wrong person or being told to call back, organisations have let their customers down for far too long when it comes to their voice communications.
However there has been a recent, fundamental shift in the way businesses think about communications and as technology evolves, they no longer have any excuses when it comes to offering poor phone channel experiences.
Telephony has transformed from a standalone service to an IT commodity
One of the biggest trends of the year will be the consumerisation of enterprise voice (in the enterprise), which will grow rapidly.
Up until very recently, voice platforms were viewed through a traditional lens that kept them separate from regular IT services.
This resulted in phone and telecoms service providers being able to sell their services for a very high price as they viewed the service they were offering as requiring special, unique and in-demand skills.
This approach is now extremely outdated.
Millennials are now at a stage in their careers where they are key decision-makers in businesses, and their view of voice communications is fundamentally opposed to the traditional view of phone and telecoms services.
IT is viewed as a consumable and subsequently, voice has become a part of the system that can be leveraged to improve their customer communication.
Today, platforms like Salesforce enable organisations to manage their businesses end-to-end and have a clear view across all of their operations in one place.
The availability and accessibility of these new platforms mean that business leaders are no longer confined by extortionate prices for services that can be embedded into these platforms.
The voice channel has no viable reason to continue to remain separate from these models.
Where it was once too difficult to integrate voice into a customer experience model, new technology has disrupted the market and has turned voice into a consumable.
Up until this point, the design of telephony platforms has been left in the hands of those who owned them.
Moving forward this is no longer the case.
New platforms are designed to be administered and maintained by those who know the customers best and deal with them daily.
As communications become more remote (through for instance live chats and social media) and less personal, one of the premium communication medium for companies who want to deliver a personalised experience will be phone conversations with their customers.
Why there are no excuses for poor phone channel experiences
Unfortunately, the majority of businesses are still delivering bad phone experiences as they continue to use out-of-date, complicated phone systems that are not suited to today’s needs.
While it was once acceptable for companies to use offshores call centres to reduce costs, this is no longer seen as a viable alternative since nowadays there are many better options available.
Similar to the rise of social media advertising, where smaller companies were agile enough to take advantage of these new platforms, while bigger companies took time to adjust, smaller telephony platforms will lead the way in disruption voice communications.
This will leave big companies playing catch up to stay relevant as small ones offer better communication and interaction with their customers.
When companies first began collecting data, they had little to no idea how to leverage the information that was readily available to them.
Things started to change in 2015 when businesses began using this data, and since then organisations have been gathering information from the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated every day and this has accelerated dramatically to the point where the role of data on our lives is undeniable.
Organisations now know that big data is changing the way we run our businesses and see the massive potential in harnessing and leveraging this data. Those who do this well with easily differentiate themselves from their competition.
Companies need to focus on the data collected from their phone communications, as for many customers, especially baby boomers speaking on the phone, is still there preferred method of communication.
While some organisations have been harnessing their data for some time, little attention was paid to the wealth of information collected from phone conversations.
In 2019, technology will allow businesses to use this information to achieve better outcomes for both the customer and the business through smart, connected telephony platforms.
In addition, analytics should make sense of the data gathered through customer communications and in particular phone conversations, however many don’t know how to practically apply this to improve customers phone experience.
This year will see an increasing number of businesses jumping on the analytics bandwagon but they need to approach this in a strategic way in order to get the best out of these new resources.
By investing in smart telephony platforms, they will be able to take full advantage of the data generated from these conversations with customers.
AI will transform phone channel conversations
The next big move will be towards integrated AI in telephony platforms to help companies figure out what the immediate benefits of big data are for everyone – for instance, allowing managers to better train call centre agents and gather statistics on their agents, which can be used to improve and automate the process.
Using AI to analyse phone conversations will enable organisations to improve their telephony offering, through a more personalised service and reduced waiting times, therefore providing a much more enjoyable phone experience for the customer.
New platforms will allow customers to be automatically directed towards the agent best equipped to deal with their query, who have your calling history in front on the screen in front of them with a view across the issues or products about which you have recently spoken with them.
Used correctly voice analytics can improve business agility and efficiency and deliver the best and most effective experience to customers.
As face to face interactions with customers become rarer and organisations become more decentralised with staff are able to work from anywhere phone communications will become increasingly crucial.
In order to stay at the forefront of their field businesses will need to ensure that all touchpoints of their businesses provide their customers with an exceptional customer experience and this starts over the phone.