woman talking on phone

You’ve Been Doing Voice All Wrong

November 28, 2018

In a recent survey, Interactions found that consumers are actually split when it comes to preferences for interacting with a brand’s customer care channels. Nearly half (49%) prefer voice channels, or speaking, to resolve an issue. Which — if you think about it — makes a lot of sense.

Talking is Easier

If you take a look at the reasons why consumers prefer voice, it all relates back to ease of use. In fact, 61% of the survey respondents said they prefer speaking simply because it’s easier to have a conversation this way. Other reasons took a similar tone:

  • 57% said it enables them to resolve an issue faster
  • 54% said it’s more effective in resolving their issues
  • 52% said they can better express themselves this way
  • 51% said it’s less likely to create a misunderstanding

This is very useful and important information for brands, for a number of reasons. But primarily, as more and more digital channels start to become prevalent, it’s important to realize that consumers actually still want to use voice channels to communicate.

And since the majority of brands already have voice channels in place, this should be great news. There’s a problem, though, and it comes down to how voice channels have been implemented in the past.

94% of consumers have experienced frustration when using voice channels to communicate with a company.

That’s right — nearly all respondents said that they had experienced frustration with voice channels during a customer service interaction.

What are these frustrations? Commonly cited issues include:

  • Having to repeat themselves (52%)
  • Waiting for a live agent (49%)
  • Not being able to bypass an IVR system to get to a live agent (47%)
  • Listening to a list of irrelevant options presented by an IVR system (46%)

It’s not voice, it’s the way it’s been implemented

Many of the frustrations consumers report experiencing are closely tied to characteristics of legacy IVRs. Outdated IVR technology forces your customers to select from a menu of options and use “robot speak” in order to be understood. And if the IVR can’t solve an issue, the customer is handed off to a live agent who, more often than not, needs the customer to repeat all of the information they just gave to the IVR. This makes for a long, frustrating experience — which is exactly the opposite of what consumers expect when they’re using a voice channel.

As digital channels like chat, texting and social media continue to gain popularity and dominate news cycles, it’s easy to think that customers are moving away from voice channels and towards these newer channels. But this isn’t really the case. Nearly half of your customers say they would still prefer to interact with your brand using a voice channel, so it’s important to make sure that channel is easy to use and doesn’t cause frustration for your customers.

How to do voice right

Getting voice right is about a lot of things, but overall it’s about providing an effortless, conversational experience that’s an extension of your brand. So what are consumers looking for in a voice system? 85% say that the system should be available 24/7. And 79% say that the solution should have a human-like voice or personality as opposed to a computer-generated speak. And whatever you do, don’t force your customers to learn the language of your system — nearly 40% of consumers have been frustrated by the inability to simply state their problem in their own language.


To learn more about the full results of this study, download our ebook To Text or To Talk? below.

voice and digital ebook


To Text or To Talk?

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