Why Voice Still Matters in a Multichannel World

By Lisa Durant
On Jul 11, 2014
Friday, July 11, 2014

In its 2014-15 Enterprise Technology Benchmark, Nemertes examined how multichannel was affecting customers’ preferences for communicating with companies. Namely, Nemertes investigated whether non-voice channels were displacing voice or if customers still considered voice to be the most essential channel. It turns out that voice is still number one. 

In its 2014-15 benchmark, Nemertes found that 90% of multichannel contact centers stated that voice was the most important channel to their customers even though other channels were available to them. Ten percent said that email was the top channel for their customers while voice was the second most-important channel. In fact, companies state that customer demand isn’t what’s driving most of them to add multichannel support. Only 26% of companies say they are adding multichannel due to customer demand; 58% say it’s more about improving customer service. As one director of a large retail company stated, improving customer service means, “letting customers contact the company in whatever manner they prefer.” And, a lot of customers still consider voice to be the most important channel that companies must offer.

Having multiple channels into the contact center does matter; it makes companies more accessible to customers by enabling them to contact the company through the channels most convenient to them at any given time and for different situations. The Nemertes benchmark showed that email and real-time chat are generally the second and third most-important channels to customers. And, companies state that the issues they handle through non-voice channels are often just as complex as the issues they handle through voice.

Nemertes recommends that companies of all sizes engage both voice and non-voice channels in their contact centers. Management should also review their business practices to ensure that they are not overloading their agents at the expense of their voice channel’s quality. Nemertes recommends that even if agents handle multiple channel types within the contact center, they handle only one interaction at a time.

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