Customers are always right. And with the growing popularity of price comparison websites and simple internet searches, customers now also have control and agency over costs and services. In comparison, with competitive new businesses battling for market share, organisations unable to meet low price expectations must differentiate in other ways and put in every effort in factors they can control – namely, the customer experience.

Thanks to the abundance of technology at their fingertips, consumers now have access to a vast amount of products and services and are accustomed to instant gratification. Cutting through this noise is a challenge, which can only be tackled with impeccable customer engagement. Customers now expect businesses to be their friends and demand reliability, authenticity, and the feeling like the brands ‘get’ them. With these increased expectations of quick and efficient problem-solving, businesses aiming to retain customers must embrace new 21st century tools and business models if they want to deliver.

Your call is very important to us

When people call companies, often it’s because they need urgent help. They need a solution, fast and can’t be hanging around waiting to get through to someone on the phone. These kinds of problems require interaction with a live customer service agent who can, not only understand their pain points and clearly detail a solution for the problem, but also express sympathy for their inconvenience. Better customer service can only be achieved by talking to customers to understand their needs and when organisations get it right the first time, not only will the consumers’ satisfaction with the business instantly increase but their trust in the business will grow.

Unfortunately, many of these customers are instead met with long hold times and unresolved calls. Frustrated, many then end up looking elsewhere for a more satisfying experience.  What’s more, many will be quick to relay their negative experience to others on social media platforms, shaming companies on their negligence with poor reviews to discourage new potential consumers.

Although an accumulation of these poor experiences has led many of us to anticipate bad customer service when we call, this doesn’t stop us calling when we have a problem and venting our frustration. This proves that, despite the introduction of social media and chatbots, voice is still highly relevant and perhaps a more effective medium to reassure and convert the angry customer.

The key differentiator: A sophisticated phone system

As companies strive to embrace innovation, especially in their customer relationship management (CRM) strategies, it’s important to recognise that technology isn’t just inventing new channels and platforms for communication – it has also completely transformed previous technology.

Phone system technology, for example, has advanced in recent years replacing legacy on-premises systems with more sophisticated cloud-based platforms.  The new capabilities of the technology make voice a revolutionary channel providing a rich data set for business. New phone technology now allows companies to safely record data about their customers, enabling them to see who the customer is, what they are calling about and the products and services they have purchased with the company. Equipped with a cloud-telephony platform, companies can ensure their call centre agents have a 360-degree view into all the customers they speak to and create a highly personalised experience. This removes barriers between brands and their customers by enabling them to build genuine relationships with their customers, providing a level of care that algorithms cannot enable on social media. While a website may be an organisation’s shop window and email a transactional communications channel, when it comes to trust, relationship building and delivering a high-quality communication experience, customers still need and want to talk to a real person.

Expectations are high in today’s digital world. We have become accustomed to same day delivery and using the internet to leverage a fast response. If companies want to prevent customers’ wandering eyes, they need to give them a reason to stay. Regardless of whether they can compete on price – they must exceed when it comes to customer service. For any organisation wanting to deliver the ultimate customer experience, it’s vital to realise the importance of delivering customer service via these traditional channels and understand how they can use new technologies to enhance and improve them.