Our biggest bugbear with digital transformation is the fact it excludes the importance of voice. Everything is about chatbots, AI and process automation. What about human-to-human interaction? The results don’t lie.

You’re 34 x more likely to get a successful outcome by speaking face to face and 70% of consumers would still rather speak to a human customer service representative than engage with a digital customer service rep or chatbot.

We want to put voice back into communications transformation. That’s why this article will help quantify the importance of voice and explain how without it, you’re leaving your business open to attack.

You Wouldn’t go Shark Diving Without a Cage

Voice doesn’t need to be your communications bread ‘n’ butter, but your business certainly cannot get by without it. You wouldn’t go shark diving without a shark cage, would you? Because this is essentially what companies who don’t focus enough on how their business utilises voice are doing.  

Your voice is part of your brand. It sets the tone for how you speak with your customers and what your customer service stands for. Yet, some companies make it impossible for their customers to get through to them via the telephone. Through poor visibility on the website and the physical telephone journey.

Could Millennial Phone-Phobia be to Blame for Lack of Voice?

It’s a thing, millennials hate talking on the phone. Having grown up with the birth of the internet this generation crave digital technologies that involve as little human contact as possible.

Of course each generation will lean to a preferred way of communication, otherwise nothing would ever change. Millennials have helped to drive change in business communications, with their need for access anywhere, anytime from any device and for multimedia contact centres with seamless customer experiences. They also love to self-serve, another key customer trend that’s been embraced in the past few years.

However, it’s important to remember that trends shouldn’t distract from how important vocal communication is. No matter how pre-disposed millennials are to being less likely to pick up the phone to get in contact with your business, you cannot be certain that they won’t do this at some point in their customer journey.

If something is of high value or emotional importance, all generations are far more likely to phone you rather than use a digital method of communication. Do not underestimate the value of voice in situations of high emotion or value. The Customer Interaction Model helps to capture what this looks like.

The Customer Interaction Model

It’s important to your customers to have to option to (easily) contact you via phone. Which is why, although the world is going more digital, voice will always be key. Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC) technologies like Webcall make it possible for your customers to easily call you from your website. At the click of a button from a widget that sits on your website your customers can call you, video chat, co-browse document share or web chat.

Voice is also crucial for company culture. There’s the risk that too many companies will adopt a culture of Instant Messaging (IM) and emailing rather than speaking face-to-face or picking up the telephone. Eventually this could result in a workforce that isn’t cohesive and a loss of productivity.

Sometimes the old ways are the Quickest

Your average person speaks somewhere between 125 and 150 words per minute (WPM). When compared with the average typing speed of 38 to 40 WPM, the difference is huge. It is clear speaking is a much, much faster form of communication.

So when you’re next at your desk contemplating whether to ‘just send an IM’ to Jill who sits downstairs in accounts, you might be better off getting up and going to speak with her. The likelihood of a quicker resolution from Jill’s side is stronger too, much stronger. Human connection is vital for building a better rapport with employees and customers.

In a world littered with digital noise, it makes sense to maintain as much human interaction as possible.

Customers Demand Omni-Channel but they still Prefer Voice (Sometimes)  

Serving your customers is the most difficult it’s ever been, you’ve got to have everything, and they want you to have all the omni-channel trimmings. Consumers are impatient and expect a fast response, even if they choose a channel that is not in real-time like email. They want efficiency but don’t want to have to pick up the phone to deal with a simple enquiry.

Getting the balance right is an arduous task to say the least. It’s important to make the transitions between channels seamless. Whether the communications happen via phone, chatbot or social media. Technologies like SmartInboxes can help in funnelling communications into one place.

Bad Phone Journeys will leave your Reputation Severed

74% of people who have had a bad phone support experience are likely to choose a competitor the next time they shop for the same product or service. With all this investing in other communication channels, it’s all too easy to neglect and forget about the customer journey through the phone.

Your customers don’t want to be passed from pillar to post, or stuck in a queue for hours; they want their phone journey to be smooth and painless. It is now possible to identify and verify a customer automatically before they reach the contact centre.  And with technologies that make it simple for customer information to be at your contact centre agent’s fingertips, there’s no excuse for customers having to repeat themselves time and time again.

If you provide a bad phone journey, your customer will simply go to a competitor, think out your voice strategy carefully.

Voice Data is a Lifebuoy  

In case you haven’t heard it before, voice data is the secret sauce to improving the customer experience. There are so many metrics voice can deliver, to the extent no other channel can. Metrics such as sentiment, intent and context. Voice data provides qualitative insight into what your customers think and feel about you, your products and services.

Technologies for recording calls such as those from Red Box recorders or ComputerTel are tools for reviewing customer interactions, ensuring compliance, due diligence across the company and can be utilised as tools for training to ensure your employees are speaking to customers in the correct manner. Voice data can be captured and utilised just like any other data. The latest trend is to transcribe calls into your CRM, saving loads of time and letting you get the full gist of the call.

If you’re worried about compliance and flouting the PCI DSS rules, rest assured. You can either use mechanisms in the software to pause and resume calls so you don’t capture any credit card information, or you could use separate software such as RevoPCI which bypasses the call altogether sending DTMF tones direct to the payment provider, while the agent continues to engage with the customer. Completely safe and sound.

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Voice

Digital transformation is obviously crucial, but all too often, it excludes voice. We’ve shown you why voice is so valuable to business and how it can help improve the customer experience.

Without investing in transforming voice as your business evolves, you leave yourself open to attack. From competitors, new businesses to the market and anyone else who has taken their voice more seriously.