Voice Channel Still Dominates in Customer Service

With the numerous channels used for customer service these days, one might question if the traditional voice channel will one day become obsolete. Do customers really want to call for service instead of sending a quick tweet? Wouldn’t a short email or text message yield a quicker answer?

Customer service efficiency on any of these channels depends on a brand’s commitment to omnichannel optimization, as an unanswered tweet or email does nothing to satisfy the customer and might just prompt him to pick up the phone. For this reason, among others, the voice channel maintains a dominant position in omnichannel customer service. While customers value their time, sometimes issues become too complex to discuss on channels other than voice. Harvard Business Review claims that 57% of consumers have to switch from web to phone, presumably because customers just cannot find the answers they need on a brand website.

Sometimes, these websites fail to provide adequate information or are so technically complex that the average customer cannot rely on them for self-service. As a result, customers turn to the voice channel for support but have already lost time seeking service on other brand channels. The voice channel gives customers the reassurance of talking to a live agent who might best be able to deliver a solution in a timely manner. Brands should therefore take note that a spike in the use of the voice channel just might indicate poor optimization on other channels.

Another reason for the dominance of the voice channel lies in demographics. While millennials may enjoy and prefer social media channels, others may not be present on social media or feel comfortable using newer technologies for customer service. For example, an older generation of consumers may prefer the voice channel simply because it is the most traditional and straightforward among all channels. J.D. Power & Associates found that “Pre-Boomer” customers (born before 1946) prefer the voice channel simply because they find it reliable.

Lastly, numerous studies have found that customers still value the human touch. A McKinsey studied found that 70% of purchasing experiences are based on how the customer feels he is being treated. Similarly, a RightNow study found that 73% of consumers say friendly customer service representatives can make them fall in love with a brand. As automated customer service continues to rise, consumers who seek a personal touch may very well prefer the human aspect of the voice channel.

When technology does not support their needs, customers will continue to seek out empathetic customer service agents who can assist them with the most difficult situations. The voice channel continues to serve as a time-tested medium for delivering thorough customer service with a genuine personal touch. Stay tuned for our next blog post discussing how to optimize the voice channel for great customer experiences. In the meantime, click here to learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for delivering great omnichannel customer service.

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