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    Voice still a key outbound customer engagement channel, but significant challenges seek to silence it

    While much is written about how messaging is now key to customer engagement, it seems that you can’t beat voice – so long as you get it right.

    A new study, The State of Outbound Communications in 2022, commissioned by Neustar, a TransUnion company and conducted by Forrester Consulting, found that 87% of the business and IT executives surveyed across nine industries agree that the phone is the most important outbound contact channel.

    The challenge is how to overcome significant and increasing obstacles in reaching customers. These include spam tagging, mislabeling as ‘unknown caller’, inaccurate CRM data, fear of fraud, and communication channel siloes. Aligning the voice and digital channel strategy is more critical than ever.

    “While many respondents said they’re confident that they can orchestrate an effective multichannel strategy, the majority admit their voice and digital channels are separate. Less than half are currently leveraging contact strategies to help them orchestrate a multichannel approach,” says Robert McKay, senior vice president at Neustar. “Those respondents that have adopted contact strategies that leverage behavioral insights of their customers and their calling habits have seen many benefits, including increased answer rates, improved right-party contacts, greater operational efficiency, an heightened customer experience and revenue growth.”

    According to the study, nearly three in four survey respondents said that the type of message and priority were the determinants of the outbound communication strategy rather than customer preference. Only 40% consider customer preferences and behavioral data analysis in channel selection, and 34% said their solution provides up-to-date contact information for clients.

     More than 90% of respondents said customers are not picking up their calls, in part, due to concerns of fraud, robocalls, and call spoofing. About 40% of respondents are turning to customer contact solutions to help them optimize their outbound strategy and reach key goals.

    Adopters of customer contact solutions report improved customer retention (57%) and better customer experience and customer satisfaction (68%), with  62% of customer contact solution users saw better regulatory compliance results through their solution.

    These benefits translate into increased revenues, as reported by 69% of respondent users, through reduced costs, greater efficiency, and happier customers.

    According to the study, rebuilding trust in outbound communication requires a focus on customer contact solutions that increase transparency and contact intelligence capabilities to create more customer-centric outbound contact strategies.

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