Why Customers Are Abandoning the Telephone for Customer Service

by Karen McFarlane, VP of Marketing, Americas

Image - SocialGone are the days when customers want to talk to you directly. Even that phrase is so 1990’s. Every activity from listening to music to reading the news takes place online using the computer or a mobile device; and this includes finding answers to their burning questions about your brand. (See the cartoon to the right to illustrate this point!)

The fact is that picking up the phone and speaking to a live agent to ask a question is no longer a first point of contact, but rather a last resort, particularly for Millennials. Instead they will scour your website, filter through website forums and social media, or seek out third-party sites to get the answers they need. While you thought you had it covered with IVR and live chat, this new generation wants to solve their problems with just a few taps of their thumbs.

So what does this DIY society mean for call centers? According to Frost & Sullivan, the call center is dying. In fact, they predict that contact center seats will shrink down to 4 million seats by 2017. This is not due to less demand for answers, but rather more demand for a different way of engaging. Like all companies who rely on customers to keep their businesses afloat, you must adapt and invest in technologies that allow customers to talk, type and tap within any medium they choose.

Our customers are already making the shift. They are seeking ways to improve online engagement and to create more meaningful, interactive experiences with their customers. They are becoming less reliant on live agents and more reliant on self-service methodologies like virtual assistants that provide quick, accurate and quality answers to customer queries. The results are pretty amazing, and quite definitive. In the testing phase, some of our clients offered customers the choice between speaking to a live agent or a virtual one. Customers overwhelming selected the virtual assistant. But not to discount the value of the human touch, our virtual assistants are smart enough to know when to escalate to a live agent.

On Thursday, June 11th we’re going to talk more about this subject with Jeff Cotrupe, the Industry Director of Big Data & Anaytics from Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan. Jeff will provide some compelling data on changes and challenges in the customer service industry and talk about how virtual assistants can help fill the gaps and provide creative opportunities for brands to raise their customer satisfaction through the roof. We’ll also provide some examples so you can see the technology in action.

Register for the webinar and you’ll also get a complimentary copy of Jeff’s whitepaper – Customers Want Fast Answers Online, Not Waiting on a Phone Line: Virtual Assistants Are Essential.