Let’s All ‘Hear It’ For That Neglected Mighty Thing: Voice!

Voicesage.landline.image.2014Isn’t there some old gag that whoever it was that discovered water, it wasn’t a fish?

It’s very easy, in other words, to ignore what’s around you as it’s just becomes background. That’s true even when that ‘background’ is actually incredibly useful – as it is in the case of our fishy friends, who are quite dependent on the stuff, after all!

I think something similar has for some reason happened to what is still the primary way many of us have for contacting our customers: the humble land-line based voice call.

That’s pretty daft, actually – as voice is often really the only way some companies can effectively contact customers apart from snail mail. It may surprise you to learn, for example, that even for the most tech-savvy, top tier utilities, in 50% of cases they just won’t have an email or a mobile option in the records for an individual customer – it’s land line or nothing, I’m afraid.

Voice, the old reliable

Perhaps we, on the customer contact supplier side have got something to answer for here, as we have tended to talk a lot in recent years about the great potential of land line/voice alternatives (or additions, really) of text messaging, email and Web chat.
But voice messaging is still there. It absolutely has to be. And it’s time to give the medium some love again.

Here are just a couple of scenarios where voice is really going to help:

1. A shipping company loading up the fleet the night before a busy day. The last thing anyone wants is for a delivery to go out and either get missed (which starts the whole hassle of delivery cards, visits to industrial estate collection offices, re-attempts, etc.) or be the wrong or incomplete item. So how useful is it to give the customer a super-quick automated voice call the night before and double check he or she will be in for that special delivery of fluffy blue slippers (or whatever it might be)? That saves time, keeps the process nice and smooth – and ensures the logistics process keeps working at peak efficiency

2. A customer is in the middle of a purchase on on-line but something’s gone a bit skew-whiff. You could wait until the thing crashes and burns completely, running the risk of not just a lost sale but the guy maybe going on to social media to moan about how flaky the payments engine is. Zipping a quick voice call in and getting an agent to walk through the process and rescue both the specific sale but also potentially the relationship in one move.

3. And in a similar scenario, if there is some blunder stopping a customer from completing an on-line financial transaction, wouldn’t it be incredibly helpful to be able to helicopter in some great virtual voice help to get them out of the sticky mess that they’ve somehow ended up in?

Don’t stop doing human-human interaction!

What links all these scenarios is the tremendous inherent power of voice. It’s just so immediate, so ‘full bandwidth.’ One human talking to another can just sort things out so much quicker than human-robot, as we all know. And it also shows that companies don’t lack the human touch, but that they really care enough to put some personal attention in to make sure the customer really does get what they want.

So if voice was still hugely central and important by virtue of the fact that it’s still a reliable outreach medium, it deserves more respect. But the fact that you can use the power of the human voice to do all this, too… yup, I am sure you agree: respect to the humble voice call – still perhaps the most powerful sales and customer relationship tool after face to face!

voicesage.martin.williams.image.2014Martin Williams

Sales & Client Management at VoiceSage

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