5G will make Internet calling cool again, says Nuacom’s Toma
You could be forgiven for thinking that traditional telephony is on its knees. Declining numbers of landlines and growing use of free internet calls and messaging would have you believe that the humble telephone call will soon be consigned to history. Email and web searching threatens to do the same for businesses: why call when you can check online for opening hours, or send a question through web chat?
When digital technology gives consumers so much choice, loyalty might seem to be a fleeting concept, but it doesn’t have to be. A short phone call, delivered at the right time, remains a very effective tool to help a business build more lasting relationships with customers.
“A short phone call, delivered at the right time, remains a very effective tool to help a business build more lasting relationships with customers”
Even where the first contact or purchase may have come online, a simple follow-up voice call to say ‘hello’, or ‘thanks for choosing our product’, can be very powerful. At a time when many of us have grown used to dealing with large, faceless brands online, a local business can make a big impact by connecting customers with real people. It strengthens the relationship and builds trust.
Here’s where I believe developments in digital technology will make telephone contact even more relevant: 5G. While everyone is talking about the next generation of ultrafast mobile broadband in terms of enabling VR, or ultra HD streams, 5G’s higher bandwidth also promises to enable improved audio quality far beyond what we’ve learned to accept.
Consumer IP telephony, and arguably mobile telephony too, have lowered expectations for call quality. We far too easily accept calls with jitter and delays, or fuzzy audio that’s a strain to hear. Compression was needed to beat bandwidth limitations, but the result was poor audio quality. As broadband capacities increase, and with the imminent arrival of 5G, compression won’t be an issue any more. HD Audio frequencies that were unavailable until now will create a feeling of closeness in conversations between customer service operators and clients or prospects.
With crystal-clear call quality available to businesses, there’s a stronger argument for keeping telephony among a business communication channels.
Naturally, the role it will play depends on the business. For some, the phone will remain a primary means of communication – even if that’s to connect different teams in the same organisation rather than to talk with external customers. For others, email or web chat may ultimately take precedence.
One trend that’s undeniable is Unified Communication that combines all communications channels from email and voice services to SMS marketing and web chat. At Nuacom, we have developed our own business Unified Communication app, delivered through the cloud, so there’s no need to invest in expensive hardware upfront; for telephony, a standard headset is sufficient. By unifying multiple channels of communication, the business benefits because every employee has a single traceable number, no matter whether they are using their smartphones or laptops. It ensures consistency of communication with customers, no matter how they want to reach you.
There will be a certain demographic of customers who will be happy to engage with businesses exclusively through web chat, which is why it will be important to capture all types of customer interactions in a single platform.
Igor Toma is CTO of Nuacom