Will Digital Communications Overtake Voice For Customer Engagement In 2020?

Will digital communications overtake voice for customer engagement in 2020?

As omni-channel customer experience solutions gain traction, organisations need to think carefully about how voice communication fits into their pre- and post-sale customer engagement plans. A report entitled “State of Customer Experience 2017” from West (now Intrado) stated that “88% of organisations are expecting digital customer interactions to overtake voice by 2020”. The study drew on qualitative and quantitative research with over 200 professionals involved in delivering customer experience.With 2020 just around the corner, are we seeing this shift in the market?
Voice communications have changed a lot since 2017, when there were far more on-premise systems being purchased. Over the last two to three years, there’s been a steady increase in the digitisation of voice over IP and the cloud. So rather than people moving away and replacing voice, our partners and customers are now looking for enhancements to their voice propositions. A key element of voice communications compared to digital channels is that it delivers far more information such as tone and inclination. For Tollring, that means that voice communications are here to stay and will become even more important in the future, as we move into the territory of speech intelligence and sophisticated analytics.

Market requirements

Different markets have different needs and the methods of communication depends on the complexity of the product or service. At the top end of the scale are the larger enterprises where digital interactions and omni-channel are definitely expanding. This applies specifically to organisations with a simple sales model and repetitive transactions. For example, many FMCG retailers have managed to cut their calls dramatically by streamlining online purchasing. So, for these types of transactional activities, the 88% figure becomes far more credible.
However, voice communication is still dominant for business-to-business and business-to-consumer interactions within smaller and medium sized enterprises, where the relationship is important and the product or service has multiple conditions against a purchase.
In these SME-level organisations, the percentage of digital interactions overtaking voice won’t be happening anytime soon. These organisations tend to have limited funds and are unlikely to invest precious budget in unknown and complex processes. Our partners serving these organisations are focused on helping them to improve staff productivity around the phone. They are asking us for features typically reserved for formal contact centres and interaction analytics around voice as the primary focus.
Another area developing fast is internal communications. In this area, the 88% figure is more feasible. For those working within an organisation there is greater demand for analytics around collaboration. Tollring’s OEM partners are looking for our suite of analytics products to deliver metrics on staff productivity that involve other digital forms such as Microsoft Teams and UC collaboration tools. Although voice is still an intrinsic part, the requirement is to measure more internal interactions that use non-voice methods.
Going forward, this type of internal collaboration will eventually become more normalised and will expand into the external customer environment as a way of working. However, for external audiences, it’s unlikely to get to 88% by next year.

Enhancing voice analytics

For its partners and customers, Tollring anticipates a major expansion in how digital interactions and omni-channel solutions can enhance and supplement voice communications rather than overtake it.
The current challenge facing organisations is capturing an insight into what is happening across all methods of communication. This ecosystem still hasn’t been established yet – the exceptions being where an organisation is willing to spend a considerable sum of money. The digitisation of voice communications with speech intelligence and analytics is still an expensive and time-consuming exercise for most.
The analytics and new features around voice elements are continually evolving and that won’t change. We are looking to measure staff productivity more closely alongside workforce management elements and the ability to democratise voice data through speech analytics. This will deliver a far greater understanding of customer requirements.
With a deeper insight into customer interactions, organisations will be able to understand how they need to talk to their customers. And whilst some organisations today have already made a move to digital channels, with greater understanding a company may find there’s no need to abandon voice and push towards other forms of communication.
It’s a journey, and analytics can help organisations to make informed decisions about the right forms of communications for them, empowering the customer experience and bringing the two things together. The primary focus is always to improve customer interaction and achieve first contact resolution. With supporting analytics, the phone call can be made more efficient and organisations can react more intelligently in order to improve the customer experience.

As featured by UC Today