In today's "always on" culture, consumers feel constantly busy. It's no surprise that, according to Forrester, two thirds of customers see valuing their time as the most important aspect of good customer service. To get ahead, you need to solve customers’ problems quickly and conveniently.
Sometimes it’s enough to provide self-service options such as FAQs, knowledge centres, and automated chatbots. But when customers get really stuck, they need to speak to the experts: Your team.
While there’s no denying that call centres are still a vital point of contact, the channel comes with significant challenges.
First there’s the pain of hitting a dead end in an automated key-press system. Then the frustration of being transferred and re-explaining your problem. Then you might be waiting who-knows-how-long for a solution, while operatives chase up the relevant information.
Luckily, voice technology is helping to solve these problems - and even providing customers with alternative channels for support. That means more happy customers, and reduced operational costs for your business.
Here, we’ll examine the voice tech trends already transforming customer support.
Smarter call centres
As computers get better at identifying and understanding human speech, voice technology is becoming a part of our everyday lives. It’s common to open an app, search the web, or turn on an appliance using voice commands.
The same technology is making it easier to offer customer support. When you call a business, you’ll often be met with an automated voice asking you to describe your problem. Speech recognition software interprets what you’re saying so that your call can be routed to the best person for the job.
Once you’re speaking to an agent, AI voice tools can listen to the call, transcribe and tag what you’re saying, and automatically suggest useful information to the operative. Customers benefit from a faster service, and call centres are freed up to deal with more complex problems.
Automation clearly has potential to enhance the call centre experience. But it isn’t a silver bullet solution.
If the system doesn’t understand a question, or isn’t prepared for a specific problem, the caller gets stuck in an endless sequence of key presses and voice responses.
With no satisfying conclusion, customers are left frustrated and helpless. They’re less motivated to keep using your product, and more motivated to mention the bad experience to friends and followers.
What’s more, in today’s hyper-connected world, it’s a big ask to expect customers to dive into a phone call. No matter how advanced the automation, the caller spends most of their time waiting around - and there’s always something more interesting or productive they could be doing.
Fortunately, there is another way. Our founder, Nicholas Phair, points to a top notch experience with Google’s customer support.
While struggling with a G-Suite implementation, Nicholas easily found a number to call, and was met with an automated voice message. Sounds like a pain, right?
But this time there was no endless options menu, no repeating his problem, and no sitting around waiting for answers. Instead, he was asked to record a message describing the issue, so that an operative could call him back shortly with the solution.
Nicholas was able to carry on with his day while Google looked into his problem. And when they called him back twenty minutes later, they were ready with answers.
Why did this experience work so well? The answer lies in combining the personal touch of a phone call with the convenience of leaving a message.
When a customer interacts with your business, but neither of you is required to be active in the conversation at the same time, that’s known as asynchronous messaging.
It means that rather than hanging around for a response, customers can move on to the next item in their to-do list - and your team can respond when they already have an answer at hand.
This approach has a huge advantage over traditional phone calls and live chat, where customers expect immediate help but generally have to wait for an indefinite amount of time.
We’ve already seen that asynchronous messaging and the personal touch of a phone call make a winning combination. But what if the customer didn’t have to pick up the phone in the first place?
With the right technology in place, customers can easily record voice messages for you from within their browser or your company’s app. Your team can then listen, find the information they need, and respond confidently via their voice inbox.
While text-based messaging has its place, voice messaging comes with big advantages for customers and support staff alike...
Why give customers a voice?
By using their own voice, customers can express themselves instinctively, using intonation and words that come naturally. It’s easy to communicate on the go, as there’s no typing and no waiting around.
The benefits aren’t limited to your audience. With voice messaging, support staff are more able to empathise with customers, search out helpful information, and provide a human response. With access to unfiltered feedback, emotions, and tone of voice, you’ll be able to pinpoint what customers really care about, and tailor your support accordingly. You may be surprised by how customers perceive your product - and these insights can feed into your business roadmap.
In short, asynchronous voice messaging is win-win-win for customer support: Users enjoy a more personal experience, your team is empowered to provide a better service, and your business reaps the rewards of happy customers and reduced call times.
To find out how our voice messaging platform can supercharge your customer support efforts, get in touch with telbee today!