Choice and experience

Once upon a time our communicating and viewing choices were simple. We talked or wrote letters, went out to see plays or to listen to music, and shared thoughts and ideas by issuing pamphlets, in newsprint or by giving lectures.

Then came an explosion in technology. The end of the 1800s saw the invention of the telephone, radio, and cinematography. Television followed hot on their heels, with the first public television demonstration in the UK in 1926. Over the intervening years we’ve seen a multitude of developments which have led to mobile phones, the internet, streaming services and so on.

However, for much of that time broadcasting and communicating were still relatively linear. We consumed what was on offer and we had little choice about when we watched. Looking back, it’s hard to believe now that streaming and on demand services are relatively recent additions to the timeline. Nevertheless these are the areas which are likely to grow further as people start to see entertainment more and more in terms of something which they pick rather than something which is delivered to them.

That’s a message which comes strongly out of an Ofcom article which looks ahead to the ‘big tech developments to watch out for in 2022.’ According to the article, the delivery of personalised experiences and content features high on the agenda. Moreover, that content will increasingly be delivered not only when people want to view but also where they want to view, moving experiences out of the home and into the wider world.

That broadening of choice has implications for businesses far outside of the entertainment industry. When people are used to receiving content and responses whenever they like, they are not going to be content with a 9-5 service. Websites and online ordering may go some way to meet demand but telephone systems may also need to flex in order to meet this new interactive world.

Interestingly some telephony solutions are hardly new. Take something as simple as a company information line. With the option of a single message, or multiple messages activated via push button or voice prompt options; the company information line can act as a 24/7 response mechanism for simple questions. And with businesses having the ability to change messages as often as they require, company information lines can not only be used for managing day-to-day queries, they can also be used as one element in business emergency response planning.

Another solution for companies which may find themselves stretched to answer their phone calls is the use of answerphone or virtual assistant services. Whilst answerphones can be of great benefit, businesses need to ensure that messages are picked up and responded to as quickly as possible in order for callers to have confidence in the level of service offered by the business. Virtual assistant services do have the benefit that the caller immediately speaks to a person who can either answer simple queries or ensure that messages are relayed.

Whatever the solution chosen, the key to delivering good and personalised telephone responses is to avoid the endlessly ringing phone or the message which is never answered. Choice and experience are here to stay and those choices and experiences need to be positive ones.

Written by Alison