Marketing individuals have a lot of ways to interact and “read” their customers online thanks to the power of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Customers are posting their unfiltered opinions about movies, books, local restaurants and brands online after almost every interaction—a brand that can dig through the noise and clutter of social media to find real, valuable insights into the mindset of their customers can really differentiate themselves via the customer experience. When you know what your audience really needs and wants you can position your brand as the solution much easier.  Social networking sites are also becoming popular customer service forums, as well as powerful lead generating solutions for many brands. But online social networking sites aren’t the only places a brand can really connect with their target audience. The voice channel, including your contact center, is arguably your best channel for connecting with your customers to gain customer experience insights and enhance their customer experience.

What makes the voice channel so powerful?

1. One on one interaction between you and the customer.
There is so much noise and clutter on social networking sites that it is very easy to be dismissed by your target audience or lose them along the way. Updates, refreshes, videos, photos, links, ads, articles—they all keep the online social experience from becoming a one-on-one interaction between your brand and your customer. In the voice channel there are none of these distractions. Your customer and your customer service agent are interacting directly with one another, which can create a much more personalized customer experience.

2. Competitors can’t replicate your approach.
Have you ever heard the phrase “monkey see, monkey do”? Part of what makes social networking sites unique is how transparent they are—everyone can see what you say and what you do…including your competition. Brands that have a successful presence on social networking sites and cultivate great relationships and customer experiences are bound to have copycats. Suddenly your brilliant social media strategy is being replicated by 4 other brands; you have lost what makes your customer experience so special. But in the voice channel your competition doesn’t get an “inside peek” at how your agents handle customers. They don’t see what goes on between your brand and your customers which means they can’t copy it! Your customer experience remains uniquely your own.

3. It creates valuable partnership marketing opportunities.
Marketing partnerships are a great way to introduce your brand to a new audience and leverage the reach and brand authority of another company for your own lead generation efforts. The voice channel is another place to create and cultivate these partnerships and connect your sales agents with live, interested customers on the phone. As mentioned before, the one-on-one nature of the voice channel means you have much better chance of connecting with and converting those live phone leads. A lone Tweet or Facebook update might get some attention, but connecting with someone who chose to interact with your brand on the phone is a much stronger interaction.