There are so many ways your customer can contact you: SMS texts, Live chats, social media, and email. So why invest in the phone channel?
Consider this: 74% of all customers still call when they need help1 with making a purchase or when they need technical support. They call when they want to complain, praise, or even learn new ways to use your product. In fact, 30% of consumers report their inability to reach a real human being as the worst part of a bad customer service experience. *
So, how come customers across the globe continue to call contact centers? What value do these interactions deliver? We explore five benefits that you can get ONLY from customer interaction over the phone.
#1. Easier Interactions.
Not all people are comfortable with written communications. When they do write/type, communication can be unclear or even misunderstood. It’s not easy to pick up on their frame of reference, and it’s often hard to nail down the severity of the issue being reported. That apart, it almost always takes longer to write out a detailed explanation. In some cases, literacy levels might inhibit some customers from reaching out. Issues may go unreported, causing frustration. For all those folks it’s just so much easier to pick up the phone and talk to someone. They feel more in control and they know that this is more likely to lead to a resolution. In fact, according to a Harvard Business Review article3, 75% of companies accept that phone is the easiest channel to resolve issues on.*
#2. Faster Communication
Written communication issues are exacerbated when the problem is complex. In fact, American Express’s Global Customer Service Barometer found that 40% of customers would rather talk to a real person over the phone while looking to resolve complex issues like payment disputes. * The phone makes it faster for your customers to communicate all the relevant information. A skilled customer service representative at the other end of the line will know how to ask the right questions and drive the conversation. They may also be able to pick up non-obvious patterns or linkages from the customer’s story. Gathering better and more comprehensive information gives you a better chance of resolving the issues.
#3. Instant two-way relay
Other than chat, the phone is the only media that facilitates a two-way conversation. Unlike chats, however, once they’re connected, your customer is assured that someone is actually listening. There are no long drawn out pauses in wait for a response. Trained customer representatives are available to get down to the root of the problem and address it —mostly reaching a resolution within a single transaction.
#4. Better Marketing
A phone channel is also a powerful marketing tool. That’s why adding a phone number to your website gives brilliant results. For instance, Less Accounting demonstrated a 1.8% increase in conversions by just adding a phone number to their site. Allan Branch, a co-founder of Less Accounting theorizes that it’s about the emotional connection. A phone channel indicates to customers that you’re there to help. And they appreciate that. “ Everyone is trying to automate their web apps—turning customers into cogs. We’re trying to reach out and touch customers, “ he says.
Digital Drum, one of my favorite digital marketing blogs, also encourages the use of phone numbers on your website. She explains that adding a phone number to your website “signals to prospects that your company is real, not just online” and has “live humans who want to talk to you.”
(Also Read: Consider adding KOOKOO’s unique click-to-call widget to your website to offer your web visitors the best of call and chat)
#5. Emotional Insights
The phone channel provides a unique insight into your customer/prospect’s emotional frame of mind. Remember Alber Mehrabian’s famous 7-38-55 rule?* 38% of what people want to communicate can be understood by their tone of voice.
Your trained sales or service reps can understand from the volume, words, and tone of the customer’s voice whether the customer is annoyed, angry or frustrated. They can respond appropriately based on your customer’s emotion. Moreover, your agent’s emotional state can also influence your customer/prospect to be calmer, friendlier or more optimistic even.
The phone is firmly embedded into the customer communication ecosystem and it’s up to you to make the most of the opportunities this channel affords. Instead of shying away from using the phone channel, adopt features like click-to-call widgets, and queue callback features to be more easily available via phone. Use call routing features to answer more calls with fewer agents. But most importantly, have empathetic, knowledgable agents for callers to connect with.
Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos drives home this point, “When people call our call center, our reps don’t have scripts, and they don’t try to up-sell. They are just judged on whether they go above and beyond for the customer and really deliver a kind of personal service and emotional connection with our customers.”
And that emotional connection is the true value of every phone interaction.