Do Multi-Channel Contact Methods Mean Farewell to Voice Communication?

Multi-channel contact methods are now considered the norm for most businesses.

For example, many businesses now use desktop applications, social media platforms, mobile/text and email communication channels to bolster their ability to reach out to and communicate with customers.

But, one question that you might have is, do multi-channel contact methods mean the end of voice communications?

The short answer is no. While non-verbal multi-channel communications are becoming more and more prevalent as technology and business practices continue to evolve, signs indicate that voice communication isnt going away anytime soon.

Why not? And, if voice communication isnt going away, then why invest in multi-channel contact technology?

Lets start by looking at the current state of voice communications, and why it isnt going away any time soon:

Why Businesses NEED to Maintain Voice-Based Communication Channels

Voice communications remain a key part of doing business throughout the world. Even as non-vocal communication channels continue to grow and evolve to handle a wider variety of consumer needs, being able to dial a call center and talk to a human representative is critical to keeping customers happy.

As Ovum warns in one of their updates about the progress of the mobile communications market: Voice will continue to be a key component of operators revenue bases, generating $573bn and accounting for 52% of total mobile service revenues in 2017.

Even though data services are continuing to grow in importance, the majority of the revenue in the mobile market will still be based on voice communications.

Why? There could be a number of reasons.

For example, one reason why voice communication remains so prevalent, and thus important to business, is that consumers genuinely enjoy having a real person to talk to to resolve their issues.

However, poll data cited by CustomerGauge states that 67% of respondents preferred self-service over speaking to a company representative 40% of people who contact a call center have first looked for answers to their questions via self-service.

Its more likely that, rather than enjoying calling a service rep, customers are in one of the following situations:

  1. Voice Communications is Their Primary Means of Communication. Even in this day and age, there are many consumers who rely primarily on the telephone for contact with companies, and may lack access to other nonverbal communications channels.
  2. Vocal Communication is What the Customer is Used to. Even when a customer has access to multiple nonverbal communication channels, a customer may resort to verbal communications simply because that is the style of communication that theyre used to.
  3. Self Assistance Channels Couldnt Resolve Their Issue. Some questions and issues may be too complicated for self-assistance channels to resolve the problem to the customers satisfaction.

Whatever the reason, customers still continue to contact customer support centers every day looking for answers and solutions.

For this reason alone, its important for businesses to maintain call center support services.

Moving Forward with Omni-Channel Contact Methods

While voice communication isnt going away anytime soon, multi-channel (or omni-channel) contact methods are growing in importance and versatility every day.

As indicated by the poll data cited above, many customers prefer to use self-service channels before trying to dial up a contact center, using customer service representative contacts as a last resort rather than a first one.

For example, many customers now visit a company website before making a call, checking things such as website FAQ pages and online product manuals for answers to common product questions. Others navigate automated help messages to get basic help functions.

The benefits of having strong multi-channel contact methods include:

  • Answering Easy Questions Without Using Phone Agent Labor. Many of the calls that customer contact centers end up fielding are relatively minor, easy questions about a companys products or services. While individual easy calls arent time-consuming, a large volume of them can lead to a massive drain on call center resources. By answering these easy questions in alternate, non-vocal communication channels such as website FAQs or automated messaging boards, you can free up phone agent time and resources to focus on more difficult customer issues.
  • Getting a New View of Your Customer Profiles. Even in non-vocal communication channels, you can acquire a lot of useful information about your customers. By studying what a customers most frequent questions about or issues with a companys products are, you can gain insight into the customers biggest challenges. This information can be used to refine service and support to streamline future customer contacts.

It is important to note that as alternate communication channels take over the task of responding to easy questions or issues, call centers will be called on to handle increasingly complicated questions that will require more capable phone agents to answer.

This, quite naturally, places greater demand on phone agents and highlights the need for more frequent, and thorough, agent evaluations. As a consequence, providing QA staff with tools for automating agent assessments will be a must for modern customer contact centers.

For example, RankMiners Agent Insight tool can give your QA personnel important insights into how phone agents are interacting with customers. Agent voice analytics help identify when agents are using respectful, supportive, and confident tones of voice, or rude tones of voice that alienate customers. With this information, training efforts can be focused on the agents most in need of improvement.

The integration of multi-channel communications is a growing trend in the contact center industry, one that can help to massively improve and streamline customer support tasks.

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