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Customers are becoming more adept at communicating via social media, live chat and other digital communication channels, so is there any longer a role for voice contact?

The increased use of social media, including the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter and online customer communities, is certainly having an impact on customer engagement.

Some customers may prefer not to use the phone

In general, the consumer embraces multi-channel communication and wherever possible will opt to use online communication unless of course phone contact is a necessary part of the process. Nowadays customers understand the online marketplace and are now used to researching and buying products and services online.

An evolving channel

It’s clear that voice contact is still very necessary at certain points throughout the customer life cycle, and we think it will remain this way. Some organisations use real-time data including on-site behaviour and customer profiles to target the most attractive prospects for live phone calls – whilst they are still online. Using a call me now capability, contact centre agents can see exactly where the customer is on the website and can guide them through to check out or help them answer their query.

Our main focus then is shifting from the number of calls to quality of voice contact with the intention of driving customer satisfaction and sales.

The new multichannel contact centre

So telephone contact still has a major role within the multichannel approach but the emphasis must be on engaging the right person at the right time with the right channel. The challenge is one of the cultural transformations where agents become highly trained expert advisors, delivering a consistent quality of service regardless of the channel. This shift to multichannel is freeing for the organisation of the future; more agents will be able to work remotely; customers will be able to interact and have simple queries dealt with 24/7, and the customer service experience will improve.

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