In today's world, a smart interplay of voice and non-voice services enables the top quality of customer service. Voice-based services, i.e., telephony, is the most traditional and effective way of offering support. However, with evolving technologies, customers are moving over to more convenient options. This is where non-voice-based services come in. These include website chat, in-app chat, video chat, social media messaging, Whatsapp, email, and SMS.
Considering the services mentioned above, there is a small debate on which is better for customer support. As the customers are available more digitally, there has been a stronger inclination towards non-voice channels. Data-driven insights back this claim. However, this does not make telephony obsolete. More than 30% of customers still prefer calling the company for support and 80% of the high priority concerns are routed over voice channels.
Both the processes are evolving with different innovations and automations introduced in the customer service segment. With proper planning and customer insight, significant goals become more achievable. No process should be exclusive to the other; instead, it should be a smart interplay of both. With omnichannel strategies, businesses can achieve a proper unification of multiple channels and an insight of the customer journey.
Before we decide on which process is better, let's get one thing straight. Every business is different, and these decisions totally depend on each company's goals. Having that being said, let's look into some primary factors that differentiate these two processes.
People have a natural tendency to rely on voice service when the matter is urgent and is of a higher priority. Rest non-priority tasks can be easily managed over non voice channels while they are doing multi-tasking. However, millennials and digital natives, are comfortable with non-voice channels for high priority tasks as well. There is also a growing utility of social media channels as these channels have the ability to make the customer voice not only reach out to the brand but also to its competition and existing customers. Brands listen to social media channels very carefully and react at the earliest before the concern gets out of control and becomes viral.
Phone support is costlier than it seems. It requires investment in different steps of the process. From hiring agents to onboarding, weekly training, scheduling, voice processes are a costly affair. Moreover, there's a constant need to upgrade these scripts that your agents will use. Your IVR solutions also need to be on-point to guide your customers to the right agent with an array of necessary options.
Above all, in a voice process, only one agent can attend one call at a time. This requires more personnel to keep up with the levels of daily call influx.
In comparison, non-voice processes are less expensive as they are a very generic and standard mode of interaction. Most agents are familiar with how social media and chat services work. They require minimal training to get familiar with the process, and the quality formalities are easy to follow compared to voice. This saves money and time on training and managing these agents. Moreover, one agent can respond to multiple chats and tend to several customers at once compared to call-support. Most of the messaging or chat platform doesn’t cost for inbound and outbound messages unlike phone calls where the telecom or VoIP provider charges for inbound and outbound call minutes. All-in-all non-voice support will still be cheaper than phone-based support.
Your agents' response time depends on the volume of requests you receive concurrently - which is again based on the kind of services your company offers.
Real-time interaction is possible with both voice and non-voice-based services. However, non-voice support is definitely faster than your voice channels. Live chat agents are supposed to have the lowest response time, as canned messages can be used for generic queries. On top of these, the live chat interaction can be enhanced with bot-support. That can reduce the response time significantly.
Compared to that, phone agents cannot be as responsive. The standard is that agents should answer most calls within the first 20 seconds of ringing. However, we all know that's not always the case. As agents get tied up to each call, the response time reduces for the consecutive customers who get queued up for minutes. Then there is an entire ordeal of navigating through IVR, which, if not optimized correctly, can delay the customer unnecessarily.
Both voice and non-voice services essentially deliver some metrics which are analyzed for further improvement. Phone call recordings are important for quality analysis which are further stored for training purposes. In some industry it is necessary from regulation standpoint.
Similarly, live chat conversations also record the transcripts automatically, which can be viewed for quality and training purposes. Most of the analytics tool work over the text data, so voice calls need to be transcribed before the analytics can be run. In case of chat/messaging, the text is already available in the transcripts.
Customers do prefer immediate support over chat. However, they become skeptical when they need to share personal information. Due to the traditional form of things, customers feel safer sharing personal details like security numbers, bank IDs, etc., over the call with an agent. C-Zentrix provides PCI/DSS compliant IVR, so that all such personal data is masked and not available to the agent.
The idea is that agents bring the human connection where trust is built when sharing sensitive information. That is not the case for non-voice support. Non-voice support feels more rigid and distant. This also hinders the process of various instances in which the customer needs dedicated attention.
Therefore, when it comes to personalization and empathy, voice-based support will always triumph as nothing can replace human influence.
It is now evident that the scales can weigh both ways based on individual factors. Therefore, it is best to employ the processes and invest according to your business goals. High-touchpoint business like banks and hospitals need to deploy both voice and non-voice services. Low touchpoint business like small e-commerce businesses or local service providers can practically rely on non-voice service alone.
C-Zentrix is the specialist in both voice and non-voice solutions and all such channels can be seamlessly integrated over a single platform to provide an unified omnichannel experience to customers and agents. We can recommend which touchpoints can be the right one for your business.
Author Bio: Sweta is a passionate technical writer with an experience in digital marketing. Outside work, she is a devoted Esports advocate.