Communication in business used to be so simple. If you wanted to contact a company, you’d have to write a letter or pick up the phone. The internet quickly changed things though, and email soon became the standard method of getting in touch. Today, there seems to be no end of options, from social media and onsite chat to Zoom calls and even virtual reality.
With all the different channels available, I’m often asked whether voice communication is still important. While traditional phone calls are typically associated with slow response times, the latest digital solutions for voice chat make it possible to respond instantly, in a way that’s convenient to both businesses and customers. As more communication channels appear, businesses have to decide what channels they should use and whether voice should be a part of their plans.
Why the way we communicate has changed
Today, people are more likely to chat with their friends through WhatsApp or Facebook messenger than pick up the phone and call them. With minimal effort, they can talk with their friends on a group call or video chat, without worrying about call charges or wait times. If it’s so easy to talk with our friends, how come communicating with a business seems to be so much more difficult? As personal communication has changed, people now expect to be able to talk with businesses and brands in the same way.
Along with changing behaviors, consumers are expecting quick resolutions to any issues. While picking up the phone may seem the ideal solution, people are concerned about being left on hold for hours at a time (before being disconnected and having to start all over again). Email may seem more convenient but doesn’t allow an instant response. Customers may worry that the message will never be seen or acted on, just another email in an overflowing inbox.
Unlike traditional phone calls, digital voice solutions provide consumers with a synchronous channel that allows real-time interactions and quick resolutions, in a way that’s comfortable and familiar. Based on current trends, we predict the use of digital channels will continue to dramatically increase in the coming years, changing the way we think about voice communication.
The power of voice in communication
However, while traditional phone calls may be losing popularity, that does not mean voice is. Voice communication has unique benefits, ones that every business should take advantage of. By being able to talk directly with their customers, customer support teams can resolve issues quickly (rather than having to send twenty messages just to confirm what’s going on), freeing up time and improving efficiency. Sales teams can answer a prospect’s questions instantly, increasing the chance of making a sale.
For customers, talking directly to a company rep and hearing their voice can build stronger customer relationships and increase trust, something that’s essential when selling expensive and/or complex products. A customer may not feel the need to chat with a rep every time they buy a pair of socks, but if they’re buying a security system for their house or accounting software for their business, it’s more likely they’ll want to get answers to all of their questions and concerns. Answering those concerns with a voice call leads to greater customer satisfaction, in turn increasing customer retention and sales.
This is especially important when shopping online. According to a Forrester study, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. While this might be through a text-based live chat, voice can often be used to answer those questions faster and to the customers’ full satisfaction. Voice also enables both parties to have a greater understanding of each other. A customer’s tone of voice can quickly reveal whether they’re happy and confident or confused and skeptical; no amount of emoji can make up for the nuances of hearing someone speak. Going further, seeing a customer face to face over a video call or resolving issues via screen sharing can be even more powerful.
Voice is just as powerful as ever. The important thing is knowing how to use it effectively as part of your digital communication strategy.
How to effectively communicate with your customers
Bearing in mind the current trends we’ve already discussed, businesses need to take advantage of the newest channels to communicate with their customers and offer the best possible experience. This means using a combination of channels. At SnapCall, we’ve found that written communication is usually the ideal starting point, then offering voice as an option when discussing complex issues or for building relationships.
For example, a live chat channel on your website is a great way to interact with visitors, using either a bot or a rep to answer simple questions. For the majority of casual visitors, that will allow them to find out what they need to know without too much investment (either on their part or yours). However, if it would benefit the exchange, you could then use a click to call button to switch directly to voice chat, without the visitor having to open another chat window, wait on hold, or submit any additional details. From there, you could escalate to a video call or a screen-share, depending on the nature of the call.
Offering a voice channel doesn’t just make things easier for your customers; it’s good for business too. When Freebe started noticing that many of their prospects were leaving the website soon after arriving, they soon realized that visitors weren’t getting the information they needed, and the only way to contact the team was too inconvenient. When they embedded a digital call button on their homepage, the bounce rate dropped and more visitors signed up for their free trial.
The way we communicate is changing, but voice remains a vital part of the way businesses talk with their customers.
In the future, even more of these interactions are going to start from the website/mobile app, whether that’s through messaging, live chat, chatbots, or completing a form. However, those queries that require more attention to detail, more trust, or simply live human interaction will be escalated to digital audio and video calls, all directly embedded into the written communication channels.
While written communication will continue to be necessary, it’ll be increasingly used to qualify users who would most benefit from a switch to voice interaction.
Want to take advantage of voice to effectively communicate with your prospects and customers? SnapCall makes it simple for your website visitors to call you directly from your website, wherever they are in the world and without waiting on hold. Get started with a free 14-day trial today.