In the past years, the number of customer contact channels has grown significantly. Old channels like fax and regular mail have almost completely disappeared and been replaced by digital channels such as chat(bots) and social media. Email is used less. And then there’s telephony. One of the oldest channels but still alive and kicking. Research indicates it’s often one of the most appreciated channels as well. What are the reasons for this channel’s longevity?
Telephony has been used as a customer contact channel for almost 60 years now. And despite of all the new digital developments, it’s still an important player in the channel mix. Research indicates that its popularity differs per generation. In Sep Hyken’s 2020 Achieving Customer Amazement Survey Report, telephony is the favorite channel in the age category above 40 years. The younger generations prefer social media, and telephony is one of their least favorite channels.
5 reasons why
This doesn’t mean that the younger generations never reach for the telephone. In certain situations, they too prefer the telephone to other channels. That’s why overall telephone still scores high in most chosen channels. So just what are the reasons why telephony remains important:
The above-mentioned research by Sep Hyken asked how each channel is experienced when it comes to convenience. Telephony scores high in all age categories. That’s because it’s such an easy channel to use. No need for apps, accounts, typing, etc. Simply grab your phone, look up the number and call. Everyone knows how it’s done, and it works (almost) everywhere.
- 1-on-1 personal connection
Telephony is the only channel where you really have a 1-on-1 personal connection. In chats and social media, agents often have multiple conversations at the same time, which means customers have to wait longer for an answer. With telephony they have one conversation at a time, and the caller gets the agent’s full attention. As a result, questions are resolved faster, which contributes enormously to customer satisfaction.
- Room for emotions
That personal connection also makes room for emotions and empathy. Is a caller frustrated, angry, or sad? An agent will immediately hear it. He / she can respond to those emotions and show understanding, reassure, or comfort. Positive emotions such as a laugh or joke more easily come across in speech than in written text. On the phone, agents can really hear if a customer is satisfied with the answer and end the conversation in a positive way.
- Best suited for complex and urgent questions / concerns
People easily solve simple questions themselves via FAQs or digital channels. But as soon as things become complicated or urgent, calling is the easiest and fastest channel. It’s far easier to explain a complicated issue in speech than in written text. There is less room for misunderstanding because you hear it when the other person doesn’t understand something. You can ask for clarification, explain a solution step by step and that way resolved issues faster. Because of that personal contact.
The fact that your company can be reached by phone makes it feel more reliable. Of course, this is less applicable for established brands. But if your brand is new, it’s a good idea to provide customer service by phone. When you do, also make sure that the telephone number and opening hours are easy to find on your website and not hidden in the FAQ or elsewhere. Just imagine how annoying it is when you want to call a company and the number is hard to find.
Key to sustainable success
Now physical shopping has seriously declined in times of corona, the importance of telephone contact has significantly increased. People can’t simply walk into a store anymore to ask a question. At a time when products or services are more and more interchangeable, providing excellent customer service distinguishes brands from their competition. Brands that provide telephone customer service understand the added value of the human voice. It creates a more personal and lasting connection. This is crucial for customer satisfaction and your brand’s reputation. It is the key to sustainable success.
This article was originally published in Dutch on Emerce.nl