Companies need to embrace voice to promote empathy and intentionality at work

This is a guest blogpost by Oliver Palihes, CEO at Aircall.

It seems that, in recent years, messaging and video have become the de facto modes of communication for businesses looking to optimise their workforce productivity as well as manage relationships with customers. Some are even abandoning traditional phone systems altogether.

Those companies, I would argue, are making a mistake.

That’s because voice still has tremendous value in the workplace of today.

No tool in isolation fulfills all of the demands of the modern hybrid workplace. There’s a lot to be said for knowing which communication channel is the most effective for each circumstance.

And while undoubtedly automated messages and text-based communication work well for certain situations, they’re not ideal for every scenario.

The future is experience-led

There are also specific types of experiences that any business looking to thrive in today’s world needs to encourage, and that are best served by voice-based communication in tandem with other technologies.

Empathy, for example, has become more important than ever during the pandemic. Companies can’t afford to frustrate their customers by asking them the same question 15 times before passing them to agents who have no context on what’s come before.

Instead, they need the tools to deliver a fantastic customer experience. Cloud-based calling software which provides real-time insights — from AI call suggestions to sentiment analysis — means they can do exactly that.

There is also an added intentionality to a phone call. Most of us can remember a time when, if you had something to ask, you picked up the phone and you called the person. That person wasn’t surprised to get a call, either.

Video fatigue, meanwhile, is a real phenomenon. It’s becoming more commonly acknowledged that video conferencing and constant instant messages can have a negative impact on productivity, and academics are speaking out about it.
In the hybrid working world, intentionality has become more important than ever. This universally-felt obligation to hold video meetings every time people need to connect together means that teams are less likely to consider whether that weekly meeting is required or not. They no longer evaluate whether that meeting could be reduced down to a straightforward phone call.

Hybrid working requires a hybrid approach to communication

All of this goes a way to explaining why adoption of unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) technologies has increased significantly to support remote work. The need for scalable, flexible, cloud-based digital technology solutions has skyrocketed as companies realise they need an integrated approach. A great example for us is our recent partnership with Deutsche Telekom, which brings our flexible, premium cloud-based phone solution to all German companies, along with their mission of empowering each business’ digital transformation. Businesses today are utilising cloud-based voice systems because they provide the flexibility, mobility, new features, and integrations that support better workflows as well as customer and employee experiences and efficiency.

Cloud-based phone system software gives you a wider variety of voice calling features than a traditional private branch exchange (PBX) phone system. Voice calling software helps a company increase its availability and serve customers faster with features like queue calling, ring groups, automated call routing, and much more.
Meanwhile, real-time analytics and dashboards showcase support performance, giving managers transparent, instant access to key wins or where additional training or coaching may be needed to support an agent’s development. And, of course, the more tightly connected and supported the service team is, the better the end customer’s experience of the business will be.

Ultimately, call, chat and video can be complementary extensions of each other. They can offer customers options for how they want to contact a business, as well as offer employees different ways to collaborate.

The past two years have left people craving real connection, and 2022 will be about finding unexpected joy in spontaneous moments. Voice is going to be a huge part of that and it’s something that a chatbot simply can’t replicate.

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