How Voice Still Rules in Call Centers

In theory, the more channels available, the less that voice — and therefore humans — will matter. But people still want to connect with people.

With all the investment in technology and AI in call centers, where does that position human-to-human conversations? Omnichannel technologies, defined as those which provide a seamless customer service experience across channels, have seen major growth in popularity over the past few years. In theory, the more channels available, the less that voice — and therefore humans — will matter.

We asked executives to rank how often they use certain customer service channels today and how often they expected to use them in 10 years. Human-centric channels like voice, email, and live chat with a human remained in the top three spots.


Consumer Loneliness Is a Call Driver

This may not be a surprising finding considering that we are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. In fact, by 2026, Gartner predicts that 75% of customers will call service lines due to loneliness — not because they have a customer service issue. 

In a survey of over 20,000 respondents, it was found that 33% of the worldwide population experienced regular feelings of loneliness. In the United States, this number was 31%, but it was as high as 50% in some countries. Post-pandemic, Americans today have fewer friends and social support structures than ever before. 

Regardless of how seamless a self-service option is, or how simple a process is for finding a solution online, customers may opt to call in and speak to an agent directly to fulfill their interpersonal needs. This could lead to:

  • Lack of customer adoption of self-service channels.
  • Longer handle times.
  • Increased demand for high emotional intelligence in agents.
  • More emotional labor for agents that can lead to attrition down the line.

According to a recent publication in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Lonely consumers replace social interactions with marketplace relationships with salespersons, online consumption communities or even virtual companions with anthropomorphic features.”

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