The golden age of voice communications
Published: June 17, 2020
The Impact of Voice Services on Customer Experience
It wasn’t that long ago that it felt like websites, chatbots and mobile apps would completely replace voice-based channels as the preferred method for inbound customer engagement. Add in a growing population that favors text over talk, and it’s not hard to see why some wondered if we’d soon be living in a world without call centers.
But rather than decline, toll-free IP traffic continues to hit record highs, with Verizon alone topping 40 billion minutes in 2018. In fact, contact center agent seats continue to grow, along with voice channel usage and omnichannel voice services, impacting the customer experience. This results in an increased level of customer engagement that translates to more effective selling, revenue generation and customer retention.
The reality is that we are living in a golden age of voice. While people certainly appreciate the convenience of chatbots and websites for simple tasks like changing passwords and looking up account balances, they also want to talk to another person—especially when they need to resolve an important issue.
Smart home devices powered by services like Alexa®, Google Assistant™ and Siri® are training a new generation of consumers to get information or ask for help via voice instead of searching through a web browser. So voice is at the center of the customer interactions that truly define the customer experience. Rather than the death of voice, it turns out that voice has never been more relevant to consumers and businesses alike.
To meet customer expectations and demands in an ever-changing environment, sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) is being used by enterprises to drive powerful speech analytics that can yield an invaluable treasure trove of customer intelligence. Everything from emotional level and customer sentiment to competitive mentions and personal information is now being recorded, analyzed and mined for valuable insights.
Thanks to such technologies, enterprises now want customers to talk as much as possible, whether it's to an agent or a voice-powered digital assistant. That places a lot of responsibility on us to maintain voice quality, as speech analysis algorithms are more sensitive than humans to poor voice quality. Any degradation in voice quality will greatly reduce the speech analytics yield and make the voice files worthless.
There’s no doubt that voice is here to stay. And we are doing more work than ever before designing and implementing contact center voice networks for people and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) speech algorithms to address advancing technology. Our voice engineering effort is focused on, but is not limited to, technical design and commercial issues that need to be addressed when deploying a next-generation inbound voice infrastructure for high-volume customer calling.
At Verizon, we’re continually exploring the exciting world of voice, from the various aspects identified above to the ways voice services impact customer experience. Our team of experts includes voice engineers, product developers, contact center operators and customer experience designers, all supported by the insights we get from our technology partners, customers and analyst community.
Together, we go beyond the glitzy talk of the potential of voice and get down into the weeds to share best practices for implementing and operating a voice network that can do much more than just facilitate conversation.
Click here for more information about our customer experience solutions.
Read our series of blogs to learn more about effective voice communication strategies:
• Part II: Building a Strong Voice Security Strategy