Are digital communication channels calling for the end of the phone?

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The telephone has been a staple element of contact centres since their existence began and remains a key communication channel for almost all organisations. But are we now seeing this channel die out in favour of perhaps easier, digital channels?

We recently conducted some research (the Aspect Consumer Experience Index) which found that UK consumers would rather go to the dentist or have no internet for a whole day than contact a customer call centre by phone! Clearly, phoning a customer service agent is a dreaded activity for most. With this trend going nowhere, it’s never been more important for organisations to give customers a choice of communication channels to ensure successful customer engagement.

We’re constantly seeing how this changing attitude is impacting customers and alongside the rise of technology such as AI, chatbots and virtual voice assistants, organisations are having to become more dynamic when it comes to their customer service approach –  providing access to a range of different communications channels.

However, you shouldn’t disconnect your phone lines just yet – our findings also revealed that consumers still consider the phone as an important method of communication for addressing more complicated queries. 45 per cent said they would be happy to use the telephone for a rapid resolution to a complex issue in the future, showing how it is still very important within the customer engagement ecosystem.

While consumers may be showing a clear preference for avoiding the phone when it comes to talking to customer service, it’s far from becoming obsolete as a communications channel. Talking directly to another human being is often extremely useful in working out the intricacies of a particular query, before a solution can then be implemented and a customer service agent can make sure that the caller has everything they need to go away satisfied.

To make your omni-channel customer engagement strategy a success, you must have highly effective technology platforms in place, where customers can report issues and rapidly receive suitable advice and support, regardless of the channel they are using now or have used previously.

Any company that hopes to maintain a good relationship with its customers must give serious thought to investing in a comprehensive suite of specialist customer engagement tools. In an age where consumers are more demanding than ever before, being able to deliver this level of rapid yet high-quality service is crucial.

 

To discover more about how Aspect can help you implement the latest advances in contact centre technologies, click here.

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Stephen Ball

Steve Joined Aspect in December 2015 with responsibility for the Europe & Africa region.

Steve has held leadership roles in Computacenter, EMC, Orange, and most recently as RVP for Hitachi Data Systems, where he was responsible for leading HDS regional restructure and Transformation, succeeding in driving growth and market share.

Steve is passionate about delivering world class Customer Service, Technology and hiring and developing great people. He believes how you engage with your customer defines the success of any business, with the client demanding ease of interaction, when they want it and how they want it.

With a simple view that focusses on these three areas, Aspect is ideally positioned to accelerate its growth and Market share. Steve is working with the EA leadership team to create a plan and vision for Aspect EA that underpins the competitive advantage that the Aspect suite of software provides to its clients.
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