When you think of digital transformation, it’s probable you think of emerging technologies, e.g. artificial intelligence, machine learning and the like. The simple, straightforward concept of “voice” is something usually overlooked when it comes to data. This isn’t “voice” in the sense of smart speakers or smart assistants, though those certainly have their place in the digital transformation narrative, but rather “voice” as in the live conversations that consumers have with brands, often through the medium of a call-center. Our smartphones have become a central hub of technology and connectivity in our lives, lest we forget why we have them in the first place: to make phone calls.
With a premium being placed on authentic, personalized brand experiences, it’s no longer good enough for marketers to sit at the top of the funnel. Marketers must follow through each and every touchpoint to ensure a cohesive brand experience carries all the way through. Voice channels like call-centers already have technology that offers the ability to influence these conversations that otherwise would have resulted in a missed opportunity, however they’re not connected to the top of the funnel today. This means, if you’re skipping over “conversation tech” as part of your holistic brand strategy, you’re missing touchpoints where you have more capability to control the message than most anywhere else.
"Not only does conversation tech save big money and drive revenue, but nurture consumer relationships"
Rethinking The Call Center
What comes to mind when you think of a call-center? Probably nothing more than a desk where someone takes inbound customer service calls. It’s time to instead think of the call-center as a personalization platform. Think of how easily we can change someone’s digital experience with your brand based on past interactions. This is what can - and should - happen in the call-center. More than 75% of people expect customer service representatives to have visibility into previous interactions and purchases.
As an example, the call-center has the consumer’s phone number - one of the strongest, most persistent, forms of the consumer’s identity. Even though every ring at a call center averages just six seconds long, you can learn a lot about a caller before even answering. Understanding the “who” on the other end of the line allows the receiver to do most anything they could do if interacting with a customer on its website. This translation from a digital experience to call-center results in better call handling, and the outcome is major cost savings and a revenue driver.
Let’s use an airline as an example. As one benefit, an airline call-center already knows who the traveler is just based on their phone number. A frequent flyer could automatically be bumped to the front of the queue, ensuring this brand loyalist is treated with top-notch service and priority. Second, it answers the question of where to push calls by putting a customer on the line with whichever call agent is most likely to help them based on their known preferences. Third is script selection. When the agent presents the caller with a relevant offer, they know then the last time you purchased was and if they’ve reached out to the call-center before.
And then there’s the monetary benefits. It’s no secret that call-centers are expensive, but in using the aforementioned insights to better handle inbound calls, there are major savings to be had - to the tune of $1,000 a minute, in fact.
Deepening Customer Relations in the Midst of a Tech Revolution
In short, the value and significance of conversation tech for marketers who are operating in the digital economy is vital. The use of AI, machine learning and big data in voice channels like call-centers lend efficiency to processes and workflow in the name of ROI. Not only does conversation tech save big money and drive revenue, but nurture consumer relationships. Be it through improved call handling, better call routing or agent selection or enhanced script selection - all things that can make or break an interaction with a high-value customer.