The texting debate – it’s one that happens frequently in several of my circles as some prefer to text and some prefer to make the live call. The latter tends to be the preference of those in the older generation, although I encountered a young physician yesterday who not only didn’t like to text, he also didn’t have a smartphone.
Yet the desire to text among the consumer base is changing the look and feel of omni-channel customer engagement. A recent Aspect (News - Alert) blog examined the potential of the texting channel and what’s happening in the market today. A number of consumers do report that they prefer text to the live voice interface. The goal of the contact center shouldn’t be to invest all of their resources into this channel, however. The ultimate goal should be to create an environment where the design is based on the omni-channel experience, giving options to all users.
This takes into account those consumers who are not able to use all channels. The hearing-impaired, for instance, will need to use a secondary service for communication if the only option is the live voice call. If they can instead use text or even Web chat for immediate interaction, it saves considerable dollars for the contact center and empowers the customer to get the information and resolution they need in a timely manner.
For those who are sight-impaired, however, the live call is more appropriate as they won’t engage in self-help options where the website or mobile app are necessary to interact. If Braille displays and speech-to-text are available, individuals unable to use conventional methods can still present text easily and provide responses that are composed on keyboards or dictated to speech recognition technology.
When text is available for interaction, customers using augmentative communication devices have the option of levering a channel better suited to their needs. While they have the option to use the voice channel, the devices they must also use could create long delays which degrade the overall experience for the consumer. If these delays occur in IVR, it could be interpreted as a no-input interruption that could trigger the end of the call or a redirect to a different channel. In text, these delays are better accounted for overall.
The point is that every contact center trying to create the omni-channel customer engagement experience should be focused on how best to accommodate all customers. Text is a great option to make available so those who aren’t adept at conventional methods can still take advantage of great customer interaction opportunities.