Adapt or die: It's an adage that many companies have had to heed to remain successful in times of change. New technologies threaten to sideline currently successful ones with the promise of better and faster service and output.The way companies communicate with their customers has been rife with change in the past years. Today's customers have multiple ways to communicate with the brands they're doing business with. Whereas before, the primary method was to pick up a phone and make a call, nowadays customers can contact organizations over chat, email, and increasingly through social media. However, according to David Baker, vice president of sales and business development at Servion Global Solutions, the importance and popularity of voice communications--whether with an agent or over an IVR system--will persevere despite threats of being sidelined by other technologies.
In fact, Baker says voice is making a comeback, especially because busy customers want their questions answered right away and feel a phone call is the quickest way to resolve their issues. This, he argues, makes talking to an agent or accessing an IVR preferable for customers since they can get the information they need immediately. Moreover, some customers feel more comfortable knowing who they are speaking with. "There are people who will always want to speak with another person," he says.
And even those who are willing to send an email or chat with an avatar online sometimes come across situations where they'd rather speak with a real person. Something similar happened to me recently when a shipping company contacted me to schedule a delivery time for an extra-large armoire; while I could have easily selected my desired delivery date through the IVR, I preferred to wait in the queue for a couple of minutes and speak with an agent who could answer additional questions. In that particular moment, the need for information trumped convenience.
Such instances underline why companies would be mistaken not to invest in call centers and other voice technologies, Baker says. He argues that while there are additional technologies that require attention, voice communication will continue to play an important part in customer relations.
Moreover, while many customers are looking for answers to their questions over social media channels, there will still be those for whom research will raise more questions than it answers. That's when they'll want to pick up the phone and call the company. And it'd better be ready and equipped to answer.