Karl Reed. Image supplied.
The handling and nature of voice calls are changing despite the communications technique remaining a critical part of a contact centre, believes Karl Reed, chief marketing and solutions officer at South African company Elingo.
Voice calls are the primary function of contact centres, but the percentage of voice calls as the total proportion of interactions is now between 60 or 70 per cent.
Reed said other communication channels including SMS, email, social media, instant messaging and fax make up the rest and are slowly increasing, but voice will not disappear completely “in the foreseeable future”.
However, Reed said the nature of, and the way in which voice calls are handled, is changing because voice is increasingly being positioned to handle complex, revenue generating queries, which are managed by highly skilled agents.
Reed said contact centres would do well to manage voice calls effectively because they may also improve customer loyalty.
“The simple queries will become the domain of automated responses, through a variety of other channels. This is because of changing consumer demands and the variety of new communication channels available to them,” said Reed.
He added: “However, it is important to note that a blanket approach to automation is not the solution. The automation system needs to be intelligent and respond in a personalised way, delivering all the required information.
“By attaching intelligent process management to these queries, the contact centre is able to quickly respond to the customer, making better use of resources, and spare agents the tedium of answering the same question over and over.”
Concerning the role of agents, Reed reiterated the importance for agents handling complex queries to be appropriately skilled with up to date training, because it is possible for an agent to “destroy” a business if they do not possess the skills and appropriate information.
This is applicable to both the company’s internal functions as well as for customers.
“As the contact centre evolves from call centre to contact centre and multi-channel support desks, the tools to support this evolution are becoming increasingly advanced too,” concluded Reed.
“Now, intelligent interaction automation and information systems are available to enhance the voice component of the contact centre work, allowing for more streamlined operations that deliver a superior customer experience.”