John Greenwood

Changing role of voice within customer contact strategy

John Greenwood, Head of Technology & Payments, Contact Centre Panel

Where is the voice and how do we position this most effective mode of human communication, within a brand’s customer contact strategy?

When Robert Leiderman first published ‘The Telephone Book’ in 1990, the pages led the reader through a journey of structure, process and measurement and supported that narrative with sound marketing principles such as Millington’s 4 Leverage Points.  

‘The Telephone Book’ defined and scoped the effective use of the telephone as a business tool and set the framework for the development of call centres in the 90s.

The operating models so eloquently described by Leiderman, based on evidence accumulated through his work in the US with Simon Roncorroni, positioned the telephone as part of the customer communication process and was quick to highlight its weaknesses as a stand-alone communication tool. Working alongside data specialists driving voice contact, direct mail responses and brand development across print, TV, outdoor and radio, voice responses could begin to put more measurement around the brand orientated ads through the addition of phone numbers. This methodology, pioneered and developed by David Kyffin of Adlink, and later of Greys, focused on aligning response volumes with the ability of the call centre to answer the call, effectively putting CX above the volume of leads.

Fast forward thirty years and we now have a bigger response media toolbox, which provides greater transparency and measurement of data flows. That toolbox includes new solutions capable of augmenting the human component of customer interaction, making customer engagement design much more complex and dependent (as Robert Leiderman so clearly stated) on robust measurement and understanding.

With so much technological innovation out there it’s easy to be distracted by the variety of available options. Now is the time to get back to basics and spend more time acquiring a deeper understanding of existing data flows and less time being amazed by the sexiness of ‘modern tech’.

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