What we know: The voice channel is here to stay (Whether or not it declines in popularity is still up for debate). But we can’t hide from the facts: 57% of customers still have to switch from web to phone to complete a transaction and phones still handle 68% of all contact center communications.
Customers all around the world rely on this personal method of communication to resolve issues, pay bills, renew services and more. Calling customer support is a natural part of our behavior, but when it comes to improving the calling experience contact centers may not have all the facts straight.
What call centers know…
Call centers know that there is a shift towards omni-channel communications, and that channels like chat, social, and SMS are starting to gain serious momentum. They know that they have to invest in these new technologies in order to measure up against their competitors. These investments are not necessarily misguided, but leaders may be short-changing their long-term goals by focusing too heavily on alternative channels.
Another thing that call centers know about the voice channel is how important agent interaction is for producing high customer satisfaction levels. In this blog, “7 Tips from Experienced Call Center Professionals”, an emphasis on people and proper training is prevalent across many of the tips offered. And reports say that when customers call a support line their number one concern is to have a skilled agent solve their problem quickly and efficiently.
But what happens when an agent can’t reach your customer quickly? What happens when there’s an IT outage or increased agent absenteeism? Or worse, when your legacy system is no longer compatible with the latest software upgrades? These are unfortunate circumstances that call centers must be proactive about addressing …
What call centers need to know…
Let’s assume that call centers see technology and training agents as the key to the success of the voice channel. But we can also definitively say that almost 80% of contact centers’ existing customer service systems won’t meet future needs. So, as companies continue to funnel money into improving other channels like apps, SMS and chat – inbound call volumes still continue to rise.
A report published in Destination CRM, reveals that that the global IVR systems market will grow at a rate of 27.4% through 2019. However, many companies are still reluctant to spend money on their IVR systems and are prioritizing newer channels over them. Call centers need to be acutely aware that the voice channel is not disappearing, and technology is helping to make it even better.
So, if you’re looking to upgrade your IVR software, pay close attention to these companies who are determined to improve how your call center handles the voice channel:
7 speech recognition integrates across different channels of communication, including web chat, mobile devices and interactive voice response, which incorporates the company’s proprietary natural language technology.
Fonolo offers cloud-based call-backs that work for web, mobile and in queue, allowing you to give your customers the option of a call-back rather than waiting on hold. These solutions reduce cost per call, caller abandonment and improve the customer experience.
West has crafted competitive speech recognition systems with natural language capabilities and has made a number of strategic acquisitions to support this technology even further.
Convergys recently added strong stable IVR solutions to its portfolio, which are developed in house, giving customers the flexibility to choose the most convenient channel and media for each step in a customer service interaction.