“Thank you for contacting customer service, can you hold please?”
It is a modern marvel that we still have this scenario occurring today. With our huge advances in technology, there are still so many that do not have an efficient way to transfer information from an IVR system to a live agent while on a phone call. More and more, customers are getting fed up with going through this dance every time they want to engage with the brands they love, and more and more customers are falling out of love with these brands and finding new ones with which to engage. These terrible experiences are all too common. Which begs the question: is the phone dead?
Let’s face it: no one WANTS to talk to someone on the phone, with the exception of family or close friends. Now that other engagement options are becoming available, customers are flocking to them as they want instant gratification to be a main feature of the customer experience. Chat, e-mail, and social media are now the preferred contact channels, since they are much faster and require less personal interaction. The same reasons for the popularity of these three channels are also why SMS is rising in popularity, as customers, especially millennials, want to engage with companies with the touch of a button and on their terms.
This desire for instant resolution is what is killing the phone. The fact that so many IVR systems are not aligned with the contact center platforms are a big reason why. We’ve all experienced the effects of this. We’ve all talked to that robotic voice at the other end of the line, given it our account information, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, only to be passed to an agent and forced to repeat that same information again. That simply cannot be the norm anymore. It’s not just the speed of resolution that drives customers to other communication channels; chat, email, and text have paper trails to which agents and customer can refer to avoid the endless loop of repeated information. If voice is going to remain a viable option for customer engagement, companies must find ways to align their automation and their agents so that they share information.
The phone might be dying, but it can be saved. While smartphones may be many things, first and foremost they are phones. People will always have their smartphones with them, and until the day that they cease to be phones, the voice channel will still be a crucial customer engagement tool. It’s up to companies and their partners to make that medium easier to use for agents and customers.
Give your voice channel the lifeline it needs. Start today.