When choosing specific customer communication channels, consider both consumer preferences and what works best for your organisation. With the many advanced customer service software solutions available, there is no reason to ignore channels. Does your customer prefer to contact you via Live Chat, WhatsApp, Twitter, or via phone? Make sure you are there!
Adapt to the Customers
Do you know your customers and their preferences? The channels and the way of communicating all depend on your customer's preferences. Demographics, industry, or even product and price can have an impact. When buying a car, consumers often prefer a personal consult, while for a pair of new shoes, a chatbot can help. Preferences and expectations also depend on age. For example, Millennials prefer a quick message via Live Chat or a self-service solution, but Baby Boomers prefer to pick up the phone.
The new generation of customers, Gen Z, is believed to be the most tech-savvy audience (generally speaking). They keep up with the latest hypes and are connecting with friends and family through multiple channels at once. Video chat and voice capabilities are extremely popular among this target group. A quick voice message via WhatsApp or a quick video call with a friend is their preference.
Understand your customers' preferences, anticipate and adapt.
Omnichannel Customer Interaction
Nowadays, customer interaction really cannot be assigned to one channel. With only email and phone as contact options, you could be missing out on opportunities to convert more customers. Embrace an Omnichannel customer service strategy to meet customer expectations.
That being said, you shouldn't underestimate the power of telephony. This traditional channel is still relevant for customer interaction. Omnichannel customer interaction is about offering those channels that your customers prefer. Oftentimes, one customer is already communicating with you via multiple channels. First a message via Facebook Messenger, then a phone call to find out more. Do you have insight into customer contact from every communication channel?
An organisation cannot rely on just one channel. Not only because customer contact often occurs through multiple channels, but also because it is not scalable.
Customer Expectations Continue to Grow
Consumers are becoming more demanding; expectations continue to rise. They embrace new technologies at a rapid pace, and companies are expected to do the same. Convenience, personal attention, and fast responses are essential elements of customer service. Are you not able to meet those expectations? Your customer will go to the competitor next time.
Moreover, expectations are very volatile. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated this. Priorities change, but so do customer desires and expectations. Consumers started to shop locally or online more, but at the same time, they became more aware of risks and emotions. Companies adapted to these changes by providing more empathetic customer service.
Obviously, as an organisation, you have the challenge to meet the needs and expectations of your customers in a scalable way.
One solution to this challenge is to become ‘conversational’. The channel is secondary, the conversation is paramount. Consider the possibilities of a chatbot. You can use it on every communication channel; on your website, in your app, or via messaging channels. A solution that can handle a large volume of customer queries and provide very fast, contextual, and personal service. Technologies like AI, Machine Learning, and NLP are making conversations better and more personal. Is the bot not able to help? Then the conversation can easily be continued with an employee.
Best of Both Worlds
If you combine the characteristics of chatbots and voice, you get yourself a voicebot. With a voicebot, speed, convenience, and personalisation go hand in hand. The technology of a chatbot, with the personality of a 'voice'. Customer interaction becomes even more dynamic and faster.
For your customer, it becomes possible to make a quick call. For you, telephony becomes scalable. The voicebot can answer simple questions and transfer the call to a customer service agent where necessary. NLP and speech recognition help the bot to understand more and learn from conversations. Where you used to get a menu when you called the dentist, today's voicebot helps you get the best insurance.
The technology of a voicebot is also called 'Conversational IVR'. Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) helps a speech computer realize the most natural speech possible. This technique tells the bot how sentences should be pronounced, allowing you to improve speech with small adjustments. For example, think about adding a short breath, or emphasising a sentence or word to better convey a message. Service is becoming increasingly human with this bot technology in a scalable way, allowing customers to experience as real a conversation as possible.
Voice recognition is also becoming more sophisticated. Voice Assistants such as Google Home or Amazon's Alexa are increasingly seen in homes. These smart assistants work with the same technology, converting speech into text. This way they, and the voicebot on the phone, understand what you mean.
5 Reasons to Use Voicebots in Customer Service
Still hesitant about voicebots? We've listed 5 reasons for you to consider Conversational IVR for your customer service.
- Accessibility and reachability
- Speed in interactions
- Input for technology
- Cost savings
- Innovation as a competitive advantage
1. Accessibility and Reachability
In an Omnichannel customer service strategy, telephony cannot be missing in the mix of channels. Every company wants to be reachable by phone. With a voicebot, this becomes possible. As mentioned before, telephony and voice technologies are popular among different target groups. The young Gen Z generation, but also the Baby Boomers and elderly. With a voicebot you make your organisation available to even more people, efficiently.
2. Speed in Interactions
Calling is faster than e-mailing or messaging a company. Unfortunately, a traditional phone call often fails to meet consumer expectations. With a voicebot, the interaction with your customer is even faster, as delaying factors no longer play a role. Customer service agents don't have to look up data in various systems; the bot has everything at hand. Your customers no longer have to wait for you to find the answer. Plus, they don't have to navigate to a site, type a message, or press buttons.
3. Input for Technology
Bot technology can be used to support service agents, allowing it to learn a lot at the same time. A bot, whether it's a chatbot or a voicebot, can always be easily set up to handle repetitive queries. This relieves your service staff and allows them to focus on more complex customer questions that require more attention.
When customers talk, they are less cautious and a lot is said. So your bot gets a huge amount of input. Your knowledge base is fed at a high speed and therefore becomes much smarter. The more questions your voicebot gets, the more questions it can answer. The more input, the smarter your bot, the better your service. A win-win situation.
4. Cost Savings
With a voicebot, you help more customers in less time, while improving the customer experience. Simple, repetitive questions are answered quickly and effectively. Your customer service agents can focus on customers and questions that require more explanation or attention.
5. Innovation as a Competitive Advantage
Service is a differentiating factor in a highly competitive market. By adopting a solution like a voicebot, you are going to make a difference. Your customers and potential customers are not only curious but will appreciate your innovative service.
A voicebot might sound like a lot of work, but it doesn't have to be. Always try to think one step ahead and keep innovating to make a difference. Remember, your customer is always one step ahead.