No Voice Might be No Good

Voice, should you keep it, or should you toss it?

In recent times, the relevance and importance of the voice channel in customer service have become a subject of debate across industries. While the digitization wave urges businesses to transition to automated or non-voice channels, the voice channel’s authenticity and personal touch remain unparalleled. True, eliminating voice channels might offer some immediate cost-saving benefits, but the decision is not without its implications.

To use a real example, Frontier Airlines made waves in the contact center space in November of 2022 by being one of the first major brands to completely eliminate the voice channel from its support stack. According to, in September of 2022, Frontier had a -58 NPS and over the last year, it has dropped another nine points to -67.  Additionally, their CSAT shows a staggering 70% reporting “Very Dissatisfied” with their interaction.  Coincidence or direct result of the change in support?

Regardless of where what side of the fence you fall on this topic, to discern the best approach, it’s essential to analyze a range of factors including customer preferences, the intricate nature of transactions, and historical reliance on voice communication:

  1. Does your customer base want a voice channel? Dig into the demographics of your customer base and unravel their channel preferences. Looking into who is into live voice interactions and who leans towards other channels like back office, can reveal some fascinating insights into keeping as many customers happy as possible.
  2. What has been your historical strategy? Consider how long you have had a voice channel, its usage and customer familiarity. Evaluate this history and customer interaction levels to determine if and how you want to transition. Assess if a gradual or sudden transition aligns with customer expectations and readiness for a change.
  3. Consider the complexity of your transactions. Not all businesses should ditch voice interactions. Assessing contact complexity can help determine if axing voice would drive away customers. Ensuring a smooth transition for each line’s unique needs is crucial to avoid unhappy customers or slow transactions.

After considering all of this – here are some tips on how to decide if you should reduce your phone support to save cost, while still keeping your customer satisfaction high. Implementing these strategies can potentially help you strike the right balance between resource allocation and exceptional customer service.

  1. Let customer choices drive your mix of voice to back office support ratio: don’t have a concrete goal in mind for the ratio, instead let the goal be to improve your back office channels and the satisfaction and ease of use for your customers, so that they learn the new channel, and start to prefer it you can show the clients that the other channels and solutions are easier/more effective after learning it. You cannot use other sources as a definitive for what ratio to use without a proper conversion and learning
  2. If you are trying to save costs, and you have no choice but to increase the amount of back-office: Set up a means for customers to call you at different failure points in your back-office process (stopgaps/tollgate checks). For example – if a customer has reached out to you 3x on the same issue on the same email string, on the fourth email, from the agent – have the email automatically add the customer service hotline to the agent’s email signature so they can instead reach out and talk to a live person.
  3. Another possibility of saving costs is seeing if there are alternative voice solutions available: If you already outsource your business operations, it’s crucial to find the right provider. Look for one that offers flexible options like changing delivery locations, hybrid setups, or full work-at-home arrangements. These options can help you reduce costs while maintaining your brand identity. Choose the right outsourcing partner to optimize operations and achieve your business goals efficiently.

In light of the unfolding dynamics surrounding voice channels in customer service, businesses are urged to tread thoughtfully. This article underscores the need to weigh customer preferences, transaction intricacy, and historical dependability on voice communication. Cutting costs, while tempting, is just one facet of the equation. The implications of sidelining voice channels resonate deeply, potentially impacting brand perception and loyalty. A hasty move towards cost-saving might inadvertently diminish the authentic, personal touch only voice can offer. Thus, before making such significant shifts, companies should ensure that their decisions are not just fiscally driven but also cater to maintaining and enhancing brand credibility and customer trust.

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