3 Ways Your Voice Channel Can Transform Customer Engagement

Exceed both customer and employee expectations with your voice service channel.

August 2021 | Time to read: 7 minutes

The next big digital customer service revolution is voice. That’s right: voice. The phone is still overwhelmingly the most-used service channel, especially for complex issues.

However, contact centers have historically separated voice from other service channels, like email and SMS, as well as routing processes. While advancements in computer telephony integrations (CTIs) have helped, limitations left agents without critical customer insights across channels or the ability to engage with other departments.

Luckily, telephony has rapidly evolved to bring voice into a unified digital channel experience. Phone calls come through the cloud. A centralized, automated routing system manages inbound and outbound calls. Agents answer from anywhere — at home from their laptop or in the contact center. And all service data is available from a single platform to keep agents focused on the customer.

We recently launched “Voice Built for the Modern Age of Customer Service” to explain how digital telephony works and the ways it improves customer service engagement. Here’s what every service leader needs to know.

What you need to know about digital telephony:

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Get an in-depth look at digital telephony.

Read "Voice Built for the Modern Age of Customer Service" to learn how to:

  • Increase loyalty with better customer service engagement
  • Exceed expectations without sacrificing speed
  • Improve call center management in today’s hybrid workplace
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1. Improve customer service engagement with voice as a digital channel.

The majority (76%) of service professionals say the phone is the preferred channel for complex issues. Whether customers call in after attempting to find an answer on your help center or they simply prefer to speak directly with an agent, they want to feel heard, understood, and like someone on the other side of the line has their back. In fact, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs.
 
 

76%

of service professionals say the phone is the preferred channel for complex issues

 

66%

of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs

 

52%

of customers describe most service interactions as fragmented

However, companies can only track a limited amount of details on previous interactions with CTI technology — such as who the call was routed to, the interactive voice response (IVR) path, and how long the phone call lasted. Agents don't see how the customer engages with the entire company — from marketing and sales to service — and supervisors are unable to manage capacity and workload across all service channels. That makes it hard for agents to do their job, especially when 79% say it’s impossible to provide great service without full customer context. As a result, 52% of customers describe most service interactions as fragmented — and end up feeling like a number, not an individual.

Cloud-based digital telephony expands upon baseline data to track, measure, and influence all aspects of a call – from pickup to wrap-up. It dynamically integrates with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform so agents get a complete view of the customer without clicking through multiple screens.

“Cloud-based digital telephony expands upon baseline data to track, measure, and influence all aspects of a call from pickup to wrap-up.”

 
Patrick Beyries
VP, Product Management, Service Cloud, Salesforce

Digital telephony automatically records and transcribes the call in real time. The call data is accessible and immediately searchable. In comparison, CTI keeps telephony completely separate from your other service channels and has limited functionality to transcribe calls.

The integration helps agents become active listeners. As call transcripts automatically record, real-time discussion prompts help agents empathize with the customer and reach a resolution faster.

“Moving to cloud telephony has really enabled us to continue to pave our path to an omni-channel experience, helping us consolidate all the channels into a single platform. But most importantly, it has enabled us to provide contextual data to the associates regardless of the channel. This ensures that they get everything they need to know in order to resolve the customer's problem effectively.”

 
Jesser Cruz
Senior Program Manager, Remitly
Companies can take customer service engagement further by matching a return caller with the same agent from a previous interaction to build a deeper connection. Or, they can give a new agent what they need to immediately establish a strong rapport with a script that recaps the situation during the call introduction. Lastly, analyze voice data for primary keywords in call transcriptions and typical communication flows to develop scripts for future scenarios.

2. Meet customer service expectations for fast, quality support.

Sixty-three percent of agents say it’s difficult to balance speed and quality service. Digital telephony solves this challenge. With a complete view of the customer and the ability to anticipate needs and streamline routine, typically time-consuming tasks, agents stay focused on the customer interaction at hand.

Here’s how it works:

Assign the best agent for the case.

When you assign the next available agent with the right skill set, you reach a faster resolution. Dynamic, intelligent IVR captures information about the reason for the call and routes it to the most qualified agent.

Automate manual tasks.

Seventy-seven percent of agents say automating routine tasks allows them to focus on more complex work. Artificial intelligence (AI) analyzes call data to recommend next steps and guide agents through various processes. For example, if a customer asks about rescheduling an order, agents receive an automated workflow to follow. Or, if a customer mentions a product, agents can receive an auto-suggested next best action to upsell them.

Follow up with customers.

When you process call data like you would on any other digital customer service channel, agents automate follow-ups with customers on their preferred channels. For example, after a customer hangs up, you can send an automated email thanking them for their business and recapping the resolution.
Automated call transcriptions train your systems to identify trends and extract the meaning and key components of every conversation. AI objectively analyzes your data to understand customer temperament and satisfaction. Then, each customer is assigned an automated score that is more reliable and consistent over time than one that is manually added.

Improve agent performance.

When you detect a customer’s intent with real-time voice call transcripts, you can point agents to the right resources to help. As a result, agents are more satisfied and less stressed in their jobs.

3. Empower supervisors to level up call center management.

IVR and live transcription bots act as a call center manager’s extra set of eyes and ears. They help call center managers identify opportunities to improve performance, effectively map out workloads, and offer a helping hand in real time. Here’s how:

Stop problems before they start.

With digital telephony, call center managers view real-time call transcripts and can provide immediate assistance to help agents work through resolutions. These transcripts also give managers visibility into surging scenarios or regional issues that require additional resources.

Bring in an expert to help.

All the best practices, insights, and tips for handling challenging scenarios are just a keyword or intent trigger away. With digital telephony, you can send alerts in real time with coaching, suggestions, and prescriptive next best actions. You can also bring in an expert to help agents work through a complex scenario, known as case swarming. Once you resolve the problem, the steps are automatically documented to help with future issues.

Understand agent performance.

AI extracts insights from hundreds of call transcripts a day for call center managers to gain critical insights into agent performance. These insights help them give objective feedback based on customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, average handle time, and other key metrics.

Effectively manage agent workloads.

When all customer service data is available on one platform, call center managers are better equipped to manage agent capacity. A supervisor dashboard helps them identify available agents to take calls, determine the length of the calls, and review in-progress chat transcripts.

Find opportunities for call center coaching.

Digital telephony makes it possible for service leaders to collaborate with agents on individual career development plans as well. Call center managers add notes to call transcripts, such as an opportunity for training on communication basics. Give your service team access to on-demand training with platforms like Trailhead, where you can help agents grow their careers and empower call center managers to hone their management skills.

“The customer doesn't think about just needing service. They think about their entire experience with Sonos. So why wouldn't we?”

 
Ruth Sleeter
CIO, Sonos

Turn voice into a digital channel for your organization.

With digital telephony, voice is no longer a separate service channel. Data is available across all channels from a single screen so that voice becomes a digital channel in its own right that drives customer service engagement.

To discover how you can solve phone cases faster and smarter for your organization, discover Service Cloud Voice and keep learning with our guide.

 
 

About the Author

 
Patrick Beyries
VP, Product Management, Service Cloud, Salesforce
 

More Resources

 
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Grow Your Career and Hone Customer Service Skills

 
 

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