How many calls does your customer service team receive in a day? A thousand? With a high number of calls coming in, it’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. Offering customer service via your voice communication strategy can already eat up a lot of your team’s time. And that doesn’t even include the queries they have to handle via emails, chats, SMS, and social media.
On top of that, customer expectations of customer service have increased. Customers also expect to hear a human voice when they get in touch with a business. This magnifies the need for support teams to have a good voice communication system that’s both effective and scalable.
Unfortunately, voice communication is something most companies struggle to improve.
Let’s look at the common mistakes companies make with voice communication and how you can avoid them. That way, you can weave the power of conversation into your omnichannel support system for a stronger customer experience.
Voice Communication Strategy Is an Essential Part of the Customer Experience
Voice communication is an essential part of providing a satisfying customer experience. While customers are looking for an omnichannel experience (where they can contact you in whichever medium they choose), our recent survey shows that phone calls remain the most preferred communication method across all industries:
People Still Crave Humanity
In today’s highly digitized world, why do people still want to talk to a human being?
It’s simple: Customers want a personalized customer service experience. They need solutions within the first interaction—no matter how technical or complicated their issue is—and they want to feel like you’re addressing their concerns. That’s a feeling that’s tough to replicate with chatbots or slow-moving email support.
Preferred Communication Methods
In our survey, customers indicated phone calls as their preferred method of communication, but they also said it’s the most effective customer service option when compared to emails, chat, and other communication methods:
People want to hear the concern in a human voice. Customers don’t feel like they can get clear solutions or empathy from chatbots, at least, based on their past experiences with using them.
Instead, more than half of our survey respondents (61%) prioritized communication channels based on the chances of conversing with a live, human agent. The remainder (42%) chose their communication method based on how quickly they could find a solution to their problem.
By prioritizing customer preference and meeting their expectations, effective voice communication directly increases your bottom line revenues—encouraging more purchases, word-of-mouth marketing, and overall customer loyalty.
Results of Negative Customer Service Experiences
Of course, the opposite happens when customers are not satisfied with the customer experience.
We found that the most common drivers of customer dissatisfaction are long wait times, multiple interactions, repeating information, and lack of knowledge from the agents—all factors of ineffective voice communication.
We also found out how badly just a single negative customer service experience can impact your business’s relationship with your customers.
Considering bad customer service can make you lose customers and generate negative reviews, the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to having great voice communication options.
Let’s look at how your customer service team can strategically integrate and prioritize voice in their communication methods to prevent this from happening.
Thinking About Voice Strategically
There are no visual cues or body language in voice communication. Instead, customer service agents use their words and tone of voice to communicate with your customers and develop relationships with them.
The strategy is to treat your customers like human beings—not support tickets. There needs to be a human voice and touch in every conversation with them, no matter the size of your customer base. In addition, as your business grows, your customer service needs to evolve alongside adopting new technologies.
If your business hasn’t gone through digital transformation yet, now is the time to do so. The real secret to winning customers’ hearts is by providing customer service that makes them feel heard.
How to Move Your Voice Communication Strategy in the Right Direction
- Train and mentor your call center agents to communicate with customers well.
- Analyze voice calls with a call recording software for performance monitoring.
- Integrate CRM into the process to tag calls and receive insight cards.
- Personalize call center scripts according to the customers’ needs.
- Reduce waiting times for customers to feel more important (and less frustrated).
- Use tools that enable warm transfers—providing context before another agent takes the call.
- Give self-service options such as an interactive voice response system so customers can choose to speak to a human representative at any time.
- Monitor important factors such as first-call resolution rates with call center analytics.
These steps should be part of a greater digital ecosystem that centers on the power of voice communication. Every conversation with your customers will create a lasting impression, and a single word could either make or break their customer experience.
The Power of Conversation
If you look up “conversation” in the dictionary, you’ll see that it means an informal, non-linear exchange of sentiments, thoughts, and opinions. The key difference lies in the word non-linear, which is the complete opposite of a typically written conversation via email or chat messaging.
That means that verbal conversations aren’t scripted or easily predictable. Individuals can talk about their problems in whichever direction they need to take, or they can bounce from one topic to another without the need to carefully articulate their words. This is important, as your customers want to be able to communicate concerns without restraint, being completely assured that the person on the other end of the line understands the whole picture.
Here are the situations where the power of conversation shines through:
Chat messaging, social media methods, and SMS texts are inherently transactional. They’re not suited for complicated or technical matters. When self-service options or forums have led to dead ends, customers want to voice their concerns to a human being to cut through all the hassle.
Having an avenue for customers to interact with human agents directly allows customer relationships or bonds to thrive. Customer experience is then at the forefront of your customer services—leaving customers happy with your business. Through voice communication, you can show compassion and empathy that increases their brand loyalty.
Conversations are driven by whatever feels right to the customer. As a customer service agent, you’ll learn about their exact concern more than you can ever retrieve from the most well-designed chatbots.
The power of conversation is harnessed simply by talking to your customers.
The Biggest Challenges to Creating a Voice Communication Strategy
As with most things, implementing voice communication without a clear strategy can bring more harm than good. When a brand lacks strategy, adding a voice communication system can put their organization in disarray and bring unnecessary complications to processes—reflecting negatively in customer experiences.
Now, knowing the power of conversation and the human voice, why are companies still wary of using voice communication systems? Most of their reasons revolve around incorrect understanding and implementation of such a system.
Let’s take a look at each reason in greater detail below:
With smaller businesses, the tendency is to think that communication is possible without a proper system in place. Internal conversations among departments and external customer service go on without software that collates all conversations in one platform.
The reality is that systematic communication applies to any company size or headcount. Not only will a system help with scalability, but it’ll also help with organization and collaboration among all stakeholders involved.
Outsourcing voice communication usually refers to outsourcing call center agents for your customer services. Common struggles include:
- Language differences when outsourcing from a different country
- Inadequate brand understanding, where the agents are not familiar with your products
- Compromised data, as companies would have to disclose sensitive information
- Less focus on customer care, as the agents won’t have your business interests in mind
Because of this, companies often deprioritize voice communication systems in their processes, thinking that they’d be better off without it if they can’t have it in-house. They use this as a reason to deprioritize the need for a human voice when providing customer service.
Email is Easier to Manage
While emails are also one of the preferred communication methods of customers, emails cannot convey greater empathy and a stronger connection with the customers in need of assistance.
Words are important, but so are tone and the human element in customer service. Unfortunately, some brands skip over voice communication and focus on emails, thinking they’re easier to manage. But as a result, they miss out on the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with their customers.
Lack of Resources
Many smaller companies have limited resources, which makes it tough to invest in voice communication. They’re unsure what kind of voice system to implement and instead skimp on their budget for customer service in favor of more pressing business objectives.
However, without scouring their options, they give up the opportunity to connect with the customers on a deeper level.
It’s really important to overcome these challenges, so voice communication can foster (not hinder) your business growth.
The key to approaching these challenges is by implementing a good voice strategy from the get-go.
4 Mistakes Brands Make With Their Voice Communication Strategy
Once you realize the importance of prioritizing voice communication in your organization it’s essential to avoid the top four mistakes brands make with voice communication.
1. Wait Times to Expedite Communication
By far, customers said that the most frustrating part of customer service by phone is long wait times. Focusing on minimizing wait times is an easy way to boost the customer experience.
Our survey showed that customers would only wait for a maximum of 12 minutes before they hang up the phone. So your goal is to get to them before they give up.
2. Reps Who Don’t Convey Confidence
It’s great that agents are available to help, but customers will get frustrated if they can’t resolve issues in the first interaction.
Your agents need to be knowledgeable and conversational if you want to maximize first-contact resolution rates, which we’ve found is critical for creating a positive customer service experience.
Not Having a Smooth Calling Experience
Companies might also forget the bigger picture while prioritizing voice communication. That picture is the overall ease of the calling experience. In other words, how easy is it for customers to get in touch for immediate solutions without being transferred from one department to another?
Next to long wait times, multiple interactions and having to repeat themselves to different representatives are the two most frustrating aspects of a bad customer service experience.
Creating False Expectations With Customers
Whether it’s due to lower staffing or operational inefficiency, companies that use the automated phrase “We’re experiencing an unusually high call volume” as an excuse more than a legitimate reason may create false expectations for their callers.
Customers may think that your business is unable to address their concerns. The phrase may even leave them with the impression that your product or service isn’t good, which could lead to many concerned customers calling in.
Instead, it’s better to be honest and up-front with them about the reason for the wait. Of course, the best course of action is to avoid long wait times and other friction points altogether.
These mistakes derail a company’s attempt to use voice communication software to keep their customers within arm’s reach. Instead of optimizing their process, they bring down the quality of their customer services.
5 Steps to Optimize Your Voice Communication Strategy
Given that phone calls are one of the most popular customer service communication channels, you likely have an existing voice communication system already in place. Nevertheless, how can you make sure that you avoid all the common mistakes mentioned above?
The key is to have a strategy that puts the customer first—transforming your customer service into a customer experience.
Here are the key steps to optimizing your existing voice communication strategy:
1. Run Audits on Your Existing Environment
First and foremost, you need to know where you currently stand. Run audits on your existing environment and systems to identify the things your team is doing correctly and where else they can improve.
If you’re not recording all your agents’ conversations with your customers, you should strongly consider starting right away. Doing so will give you a wealth of information on customers’ needs, how effective your team is in addressing concerns at first interaction, and boosting your customer service quality.
2. Focus on Tone of Voice
Your agents need to have the proper tone of voice in communication. A flat, monotonous tone will convey boredom and lack of interest, while a loud tone will shout anger to the customer who’s already in disarray. Even a drawn-out, robotic tone will defeat the purpose of having a human agent answer the call instead of AI.
Instead, your agent needs to mean what they say and converse in a friendly tone. Here are a couple of ways to improve the tone of voice in communication:
- Have a combination of highs and lows in the pitch of your voice
- Change the words you stress to explain things clearer
- Mirror how the customer is talking to match their rate of speech and choice of words
The tone of voice is one of the key factors that makes voice communication superior to written messages. The power of conversation can only be as impactful when your agents speak in an empathetic way to the customers.
3. Map Your Customer Journey
Customer journey mapping refers to all the touch points your customers will have with your company. From interest to purchase or conversion, your customer support team needs to map out the journey to know how and why customers approach them at a certain point.
The goal is to identify the areas where customers encounter difficulties, frustration, or gaps in your business model or offerings. By pinpointing these nuances, you’ll know exactly where and how to improve your customer service. You’ll then enhance the customer experience—earning their loyalty by helping them achieve customer success.
4. Run Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Listening to your customers is part of an effective voice communication system. One of the easiest ways to do so is by carrying out Customer Satisfaction or CSAT surveys.
Typically, these surveys include the question “How satisfied are you with [company name]?” followed by five choices for the customers to choose:
- Extremely dissatisfied
- Somewhat dissatisfied
- Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
- Somewhat satisfied
- Extremely satisfied
These kinds of customer feedback surveys will help you assess the effectiveness of your support team in providing high-quality service. Conduct them frequently to monitor customer satisfaction over a period of time.
5. Better Utilize Technology
There are many software products out there promising to make your customer support team more efficient. However, there is danger in using the wrong kind of automation and AI—removing the human voice and touch from customer service.
Instead, look for software that will help you scale personalized customer service. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with customers; don’t limit your business to what your team can manually achieve. Using cloud-based call center software is one solution—minimizing friction in the customer experience while allowing your operations to grow exponentially.
Choose a cloud-based call center instead of an on-premise one. Doing so will centralize all customer information, increase support team efficiency in processing customer requests, and keep all involved departments informed of customer needs.
By using these methods, you can better connect with your customers and enrich their experience conversing with your customer service team.
Quality Voice Communication with a Cloud-Based Call Center
While first-call resolution is important, speed is not what makes customer service exemplary. Instead, it’s all about positively conversing with your customers—ensuring that they feel heard and valued with every interaction.
Voice is a powerful communication channel that can help you connect with your customers on a deeper level. With the power of conversation, your support team can enhance customer experience by seamlessly weaving your voice into the omnichannel experience.
Not sure where to begin? With a cloud-based call center like Aircall, your company can achieve the quality of customer service that will outshine your competitors.
Aircall is a cloud-based call center software that connects your phone system to your Helpdesk or CRM, enabling your team to focus on communicating with your customers effectively.
You’ll have features such as Call routing, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Warm Transfer, and Tags to help your team resolve customer concerns seamlessly. Calls will be directed to the correct agents every time with customized distribution and ring rules. Agents can also anticipate customer needs, as the necessary context from previous interactions will automatically show up before the call reroutes.
Get in touch with our team today for a live demo! We’re excited to help your team integrate and improve voice communication in your customer experience.