Since new channels began popping up a few years ago that allowed customers to reach contact center agents in different ways, there has been a major debate about whether voice services would become a thing of the past. Between web call back, email services, online chat, automated voice, social media, text messaging, website FAQs, and voice services, contact center managers have trouble deciphering which channels are the most vital to invest their money and time in.
Although the new channels are having a big impact on contact center communications, the voice channel is here to stay. Customers still want to be able to talk with agents, and frequently find that voice calls are the easiest way to resolve complex issues. While web channels are great assets for customers looking to check account information, look up an answer to a simple question, or research a product, these channels are not as helpful for intricate or complex questions that require an agent’s assistance.
American Express conducted research in 2012, and released the 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer, stating their findings. A total of 1,000 interviews were completed in February of 2012 among a random sample of customers, ages 18 and over.
Voice Channels in Statistics
Not surprisingly, the company website or email was chosen by 38% of the customers when completing a simple inquiry, such as checking an account balance or locating a product. Sixteen percent of customers wanted to speak with a “real” person on the phone to complete this process, and 12% preferred to use an automated voice response system on the phone, making voice channels the second choice with 28% of customers.
For a more complex inquiry, like returning a product or getting assistance with a product, speaking with a “real” person increases to 38%, while the company website decreases to only 15%. As far as difficult inquiries go, like making a complaint or disputing a charge, over 50% of customers choose to use voice channels, with 46% of customers hoping to speak to a “real” person, and 5% choosing to use an auto attendant or IVR.
While new channels are revolutionizing the way customers handle simple transactions, voice channels are here to stay when it comes to difficult customer support.