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Is Speech the Weak Link in Your Multichannel Strategy?

With the prevalence of mobile technologies like smartphones and laptops, it’s no surprise that today’s customers have come to expect seamless communication. They want answers in seconds, and companies are taking steps to make that expectation a reality.

4 out of 5 executives ranked providing digital tools to promote self-research and quick support via online chats, FAQs, and social media as one of the most important technologies over the next five years.

However, there’s one channel that’s been left by the wayside — the phone.

A costly mistake

Although the phone is the backbone of the call center, the resulting experience is often lackluster. That’s an incredibly costly mistake given that

74% of people who had a bad phone support experience are likely to choose another business the next time they shop .

Companies have implemented measures and tools like warm transfers, IVR systems, advanced routing, and real-time metrics in an attempt to improve customer experience, yet calling a company’s support line is still a dreaded, and necessary, activity. While improvements in alternate communication channels can help boost a company’s customer service, the phone is a crucial link in the process that cannot be overlooked or deprioritized for a number of reasons:

  1. Communicating by voice is faster, easier, and more effective than typing messages back and forth.

  2. Call volumes are growing, with calls to businesses expected to exceed 169 billion per year by 2020.

  3. As customers are able to find answers to simple questions through alternate channels, the largest share of call volumes will be made up of complex interactions that involve higher average handling times.

  4. 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, making a seamless transition between human and digital interactions crucial.

What's hindering success?

With these statistics, one might ask why companies haven’t taken measures to improve their call experience. Simple, phone is the most expensive channel and audio data is much harder than text data to analyze for optimization. Maintaining a call center requires lots of human time and as a result, call centers are limited in their capabilities.

What steps can be taken?

Thankfully, speech recognition driven by artificial intelligence has the potential to significantly amplify call center efficiency. With its ability to quickly process recorded audio, automatic speech recognition makes it possible to analyze one hundred percent of calls, vastly increasing a call center’s ability to monitor calls to make strategic changes that better operations and reduce costs. It will support agents by navigating callers through intuitive IVRs, extract context from calls to aide transfers, and read the caller’s sentiment and intent in real-time. In effect, its accuracy, scalability, and actionable insights will lead to increased customer retention, customer satisfaction, and sales.

Recorded phone calls hold a wealth of information that companies would be shortsighted to leave untouched. While multichannel may be the latest challenge in the contact center, critical business insights are likely hidden within the traditional contact center’s bread and butter. Investing in technology that helps unlock understanding into why your customers are calling, employee performance, and what steps need to be taken to grow your business is the key to delivering a winning and unified customer experience.