Customer Service is one of the most critical facets of a successful business. It’s not only a great way to drive sales and grow your customer base, but it can also help retain customers for future purchases.
But there are two different types: Voice and Non-voice Customer Service. What is the difference between them? Which style is best for your business needs? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each form of customer service so that you can decide which kind makes the most sense for you.
Importance of Voice and Non-Voice Customer Service
BPO, comprising both voice and non-voice services, is an effective means for marketing, advertising, and surveys. While the former provides direct customer engagement, the latter amounts to a crucial back-office role. Because third-party help from BPO can enhance the customer experience through excellent and innovative service, intelligent companies have used both voice and non-voice-based BPO to facilitate effective marketing strategies and leverage market penetration.
Customer service relies heavily on both voice and non-voice interactions. Voice Customer Services involve communicating with customers over the phone, while Non-voice Customer Service entail resolving customer queries through chat, SMS, or email. An omnichannel contact center seamlessly integrates both mediums to enhance customer engagement. Non-voice customer services go beyond sales and service and may encompass HR, hiring, tech support, appointment scheduling, notifications, technical support, back-office processing, and other outsourcing tasks.
Voice and non-voice customer services can extract a wealth of detail concerning user experiences that correlate to valuable customer feedback. By acting on this feedback, businesses can improve products and services and provide optimal customer experiences. Employing an outbound sales call center is an excellent strategy for enabling a business’s marketing team to work more efficiently and effectively toward achieving its goals.
What is Voice Customer Service?
All phone interactions throughout a customer’s journey are voice processes, including initial interactions, after-sales services, troubleshooting, and technical support. Agents must possess excellent communication skills and proficiency in the customer’s language to provide quality voice contact center services.
When contact centers outsource to cost-effective regions, having a language-proficient workforce that can neutralize accents is crucial to guarantee callers understand the agent. Additionally, agents should be culturally familiar with your products and services. Outsourced agents must understand the customer experience to provide the best service possible.
Type of Voice Customer Service
Voice Customer Service can be divided into the following two categories:
Customer-initiated calls, known as inbound calls, are pivotal to businesses. Whether from marketing efforts or seeking support, incoming call centers require sales reps and service staff to answer customer queries satisfactorily. Ensuring quality service is vital to customer conversion and long-term retention.
To maintain this level of service, performance metrics, including CSAT score (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), ASA (average speed to answer), FCR (first contact resolution), and CES (customer effort score), are critical.
Outbound calls refer to calls made to customers or prospects for sales, marketing, follow-ups, notifications, and surveys. Outbound calling campaigns are initiated with one or multiple messages in an outbound contact center. If these calls are unexpected, they are known as “cold calls.” To increase the likelihood of better contact rates, it’s recommended to warm up cold calls by sending an email, SMS, or other messages to prepare the recipient for the upcoming call and to provide context for why they are being contacted.
Success in outbound campaigns relies on agents possessing strong language skills and effective salesmanship and persuasion tactics. The metrics used to measure campaign performance depend on the goals pursued. These may include metrics such as attempts, connection rates, completed presentations, conversion rates of those who accepted the message, and adherence to quality standards.
What is Non-Voice Customer Service?
Non-voice customer service, which includes chat, SMS, and email, is becoming increasingly popular. Live chat is the most preferred method of communication, with 41% of customers favoring it over other options. Surprisingly, only 32% of customers prefer phone support. Regarding billing concerns, SMS is the medium for 68% of consumers.
Providing non-voice customer service requires excellent writing, product knowledge, and problem-solving skills. Back-office work may require specialized skill sets rather than communication abilities. Businesses must adapt to these evolving customer preferences to excel in customer service.
Type of Non-Voice Customer Service
Below are the three types of Non-voice Customer Service:
Email and ticket support are important non-voice channels that many businesses utilize. By offering these options alongside chat support, more customers can have their preferences met. Generating tickets helps bridge communication gaps and allows for troubleshooting and solutions even during off-hours when a live chat or call support is unavailable. This 24/7 support is crucial for customer satisfaction.
Drafting skills are essential for timely email support, which involves processing information and providing appropriate responses. Although there is no direct voice interaction, answers must still be resolved quickly. Email support can effectively gain customer trust by resolving issues systematically and unobtrusively without causing any disturbance to the customer.
Live chat and chat support function similarly to inbound calls, with incoming messages relating to new purchases or technical support for previous purchases. Omnichannel contact center services also allow customers to ask queries through social media messages. Customers often prefer chat support for its speedy response times. To boost efficiency, contact centers use chatbots alongside human staff.
The quality of service provided by knowledgeable staff is crucial in creating a satisfying customer experience. As a result, performance indicators such as CSAT, NPS, AWT, CES, and FCR are measured to gauge performance on chat support and inbound calls.
Back Office Work
Back-office work encompasses a wide range of outsourced services that businesses require. Managing accounts and databases, staffing, HR, and data entry are among the most common back-office duties.
Which One Is Suitable for Your Business?
Let’s look into some primary factors that differentiate Voice and Non-Voice Customer Service:
The majority of people naturally gravitate towards voice communication for urgent matters. Other tasks can be effectively managed through non-voice channels while multitasking. However, millennials and digital natives feel comfortable using non-voice media for high-priority tasks.
Social media channels have become increasingly popular for customers because they allow issues to be addressed by the brand, its competition, and existing customers. Brands monitor these channels closely and respond promptly to any concerns before they become viral and out of control.
Evaluating Cost Efficiency
Investing in phone support may seem like a cost-effective way to provide customer service, but it involves a lot of expenses. The costs add up quickly, from hiring agents to onboarding, training, scheduling, and maintaining voice processes. Upgrading scripts and IVR solutions adds to the financial burden.
Furthermore, phone support limits the number of customers that can be helped simultaneously, as only one agent can attend to one call at a time. This necessitates additional personnel to handle the daily call influx.
On the other hand, non-voice customer services are a more economical option. Social media and chat services are familiar to most agents, requiring minimal training and more straightforward quality formalities than voice support.
One agent can manage multiple chats and customers simultaneously, making it a better choice than call support. Additionally, unlike phone calls, most messaging and chat platforms don’t charge for inbound and outbound messages, whereas the telecom or VoIP provider charges for inbound and outbound call minutes.
In conclusion, non-voice customer service is a cheaper alternative to voice customer service.
The Importance of Responsiveness
How quickly your agents respond to customer requests depends on the number of requests received at once, which is influenced by the type of services your company offers.
Real-time customer support is achievable through voice and non-voice channels, but the latter is typically faster. Chat agents have the fastest response time since they can use canned messages for common inquiries and even integrate bot support to improve efficiency.
On the other hand, voice customer services have more limitations on their responsiveness. Although they should ideally answer most calls within 20 seconds, the reality is that they tend to get tied up on specific calls, leading to wait times for subsequent customers longer. The frustration of navigating through an IVR system can also add unnecessary delays for the customer if not optimized properly.
Harnessing Backend Analytics
Voice and non-voice customer services provide essential metrics for analysis to improve overall performance. Phone call recordings are especially significant for contact centers as they help in quality analysis and are stored for training. At the same time, some industries also require them to adhere to regulations.
Meanwhile, live chat conversations are automatically recorded, and their transcripts can be accessed for quality and training. However, voice calls need to be transcribed to run analytics, as most analytics tools analyze text data. Fortunately, the text from chat/messaging is readily available through transcripts.
When it comes to customer support, immediate assistance through chat is preferred. However, customers may have concerns about sharing personal information with contact centers. This is due to the conventional belief that personal information such as security numbers and bank IDs are safer when communicated over the phone with an agent.
According to a recent survey, 68% of customers expect personalized interactions with customer service representatives. Personalization helps build trust, and voice-based support enables agents to bring a human connection to the customer’s experience. Non-voice customer service can feel impersonal, hindering addressing complex customer needs.
In conclusion, voice customer service remains unbeatable when it comes to empathy and personalization. Human influence is irreplaceable in building trust and addressing sensitive customer issues.
Overall, it is essential to understand each type of customer service technology and decide which one best suits the needs of your business. Regardless of your style, investing in customer service technology is essential in driving customer success and satisfaction. By having the right combination of people, processes, and technology in place, you’ll be seeing measurable improvements that directly impact customer experience overall.