Real Live Voice as the Next Killer App

Some voice applications using click-to-call mean small businesses can skip the IVR lines and simply connect to a prospect for a friendly conversation.

What’s more, calls made from mobile phones are exciting because the customer is typically not tethered to a PC or laptop at home or work. They’re very likely on the move. They could be near your store. Or in your store! Mobile calls are goldmines, representing prospects who are thinking about your business, possibly within physical range of making a purchase and, most importantly, are available for old-fashioned person-to-person communication, persuasion and deal-closing.”

The art of persuasion, in real time, through live human interaction is a personal connection. It is an emotional intelligence that has not yet been replicated in “bots” and may never be – because even as technology is evolving, so is the human mind and consciousness. (We who created the bots may always end up being slightly more clever than they are). While marketers understand and deploy “click-to-call” from mobile apps, there has been little data available to quantify how these voice calls convert into revenue.

According to a 2015 BIA/Kelsey Advisory forecast, Americans spent more than $1 trillion in click-to-call commerce. In 2016, there were approximately 93 billion consumer-to-business phone calls from smartphones. This is expected to grow to 162 billion by 2019.

Those click-to-call sessions work in a variety of ways, but what brands are finding is that when the applications understand when to route an inbound voice call to an expert, consumers are thrilled.

A simple example is Watson’s handling of a voice call. Watson can respond immediately with accurate information (“your next available flight leaves at 3 PM”), and can respond intuitively by routing that click-to-call to a live expert (“I’m connecting you to an agent who can provide more options”) if the bot discussion doesn’t go well. 

This is not a new form of IVR. It is a new form of dispatching considerate, intelligent service at less cost to the business, and with a higher level of customer satisfaction. 

By the time that live agent speaks with another human, they have all the information in front of them. This includes “coaching tips” based on the tone of voice and sensed level of frustration from that harried traveler who just wants to figure out how to get home as quickly as possible.

Some voice applications using click-to-call mean small businesses can skip the IVR lines and simply connect to a prospect for a friendly conversation -- and closing business in minutes with a new customer without that customer ever having to dial a phone number. 

I strongly recommend reading this report as it provides real life data showing that the real live human voice as a part of our existence and e-commerce may, in fact, turn out to be the next “next killer app” -- even as billions of dollars are being poured into “the bots". I am certainly not opposed to bots. But I am also not opposed to the ongoing potential of the human voice and the humans who connect with each other to move through life conveniently – and connectedly. 


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