With businesses demanding cross channel communications to better service the customer, unified communications has been rolled out by many tech companies, some from the web space, most from the VoIP fields.
When all channels converge to give the customer seamless answers, what could go wrong? AI and chatbots can help contact centers handle more inbound enquiries than voice and web alone. So now that we are seeing a growing use of IVRs which allow inbound callers to self-navigate through the voice platform, could this signal the end to human interaction?
Gartner research reveals that while AI will handle an increasing number of ‘mechanical’ transactions, telephone calls will continue in number but increase in importance over the next decade.
With millennials still preferring self-serve rather than speaking to a human, why should businesses still invest in humanizing the experience?
There is a lot said about emotional intelligence (EI), however many industries seem to be unaware that EI will grow in importance over the years.
Research conducted in 2016 revealed that 70% of CEOs surveyed had customer experience in their top three areas of improvement over the next five years, while no CIOs listed customer experience as an important area of improvement. Therefore, the disparity between what the company believes is important as we move to the digital AI age and what the customer wants, will need to be carefully curated and managed.
Building an emotional connection is crucial to CX which is created through humanizing all our channels – as humans need humans and as long as humans exist they will want to talk to other humans.
Creating this humanized experience starts at the beginning of the customer journey – the contact centers. Your contact center is often the first touch-point for your customers. These early interactions can make or break ongoing customer relationships.
As more and more frustrated consumers take to the likes of on hold blogs like horribleonhold.com to air their frustrations – common themes have emerged amongst these phone callers. Customers want choice, a range of options to keep them entertained and a humanized approach. Not only will this ease the call waiting pain, but it will also reduce call abandonment.
Phone call hangups are on the rise as customers get fed up of waiting on hold and business phone center staff come under increasing pressure as phone call volumes increase.
By connecting a call-back phone service, customers can choose to receive a phone call when an agent is free. This reduces phone call abandonment rates and gives customers back what they value most – their time.
With over 50% of calls now made on mobile devices, voice activated IVRs are proving a fantastic way to reduce call abandonment because the consumer does not need to remove the phone from their ear to get to the right area.
With IVRs now available in a range of accents and languages it helps to humanize the customer experience and make it more relevant to the customer which in turn improves efficiency and the customer experience.
Another way to humanize the experience and make it more personal to the consumer while they’re phone call waiting on hold is through offering services like a SMS me a brochure system. When a waiting caller is offered an opportunity to learn more about a product or service while waiting, many grab the opportunity. This has not only been linked to increasing sales but also provides the business with a report highlighting the cell number of the prospective consumer for the business to contact at a later stage.
Empowered customers are shaping business strategy and customer experience.
Today’s consumers want to be educated, informed and entertained.
This is why, in the age of the customer, it is so important to humanise tech and make the experience relate to the consumer and the process as enjoyable as possible. If the business keeping you waiting doesn’t offer these solutions, then why should the customer wait on hold? By keeping your customer satisfied you are also satisfying your bottom line and developing a loyal customer following – and there is nothing better than that.
Blog by Mark Horwood, founder and CEO of Captivate Connect
Captivate Connect is a global leader of voice platform-based customer experience enhancement services. The Company’s core business solution enables the delivery of a range of caller wait time options from simple ‘streamed’ music on hold service through to a voice activated and web-based interactive experience.