Last week, Fonolo hosted yet another insightful Google Hangout discussing the voice channel as a relevant medium for contact centers. This fabulous panel of contact centers experts was determined to uncover the truth behind the future of the voice channel. To save you some time, we’ve extracted video snippets showcasing highlights from the discussion.
First, let’s take a quick look at the panel of speakers: Ryan Nichols, Voice GM at Zendesk, Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations, Ian Jacobs, Senior Analyst at Forrester, Chris Thompson, VP of Enterprise Marketing at Plantronics, and Shai Berger, CEO and Co-Founder at Fonolo.
Will Voice Continue to be the Channel of Choice for Complex Issues?
20 years ago customer service existed in a world dominated by voice. Many calls would be simple inquiries such as billing questions, tracking a package, or resetting a password. Today, digital channels have emerged and are sophisticated enough to handle many consumer inquires, but there are situations that still drive customers to pick up the phone and call customer service.
Our good friend Roy Atkinson points to data from the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, which shows that the more complex the issue from the customers perspective, the more likely they will need to speak to a live agent.
Hear the panel of experts discuss if they see this continuing or fading away as digital channels become smarter. Ryan from Zendesk starts us off.
Are New Channels Crowding Out Voice?
Dimension Data’s Global Contact Centre Benchmark report shows that 35% of all interactions are now on “digital” (i.e. non-voice) channels. They further predict “digital interactions will overtake voice by the end of 2016”. But are we sure that new channels are displacing phone calls? Maybe they are just growing the total number of interactions? Or, maybe they are cannibalizing from each other – for example, people get answers from chat that might have come from an IVR self-service.
Listen to the group as they discuss if we are inherently misleading ourselves when we analyze this data or if new channels are ACTUALLY crowding out voice. Ian from Forrester starts the conversation.
How Do We Explain the Rise in Agents Working at Call Centers?
This report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes data for the occupation “Customer Service Representatives”, where over the last 5 years you can see a steady increase. In fact, the number of people holding that title is up 17% over the past 5 years and 27% over the last 15.
One might view the report and assume that the increase in hires is simply the result of more people needing to handle the digital explosion. But since one agent can attend to multiple chat requests, is that response in fact plausible?
Hear from the experts as they attempt to dissect this data. Chris from Plantronics starts us off here.
How will Digital Channels Impact the Customer Experience?
Forrester surveyed close to 4500 online adults for a report that summarizes the top 10 customer service trends for 2016. The chart shows which channels were used the most in the past 12 month period. Telephone support was ranked the second most popular, but it’s also important to note the other digital channels ranked higher or close to the voice channel – self-service at just 1% above voice and email trailing behind by just 7%. If there’s one takeaway here it’s that customer expectations are ever changing!
Listen to these thought leaders as they discuss how the multi-channel universe will ultimately impact the customer experience. Shep Hyken begins the dialogue.
Take note at what the panel has to say as we wrap up this highly interactive conversational debate.