Voice: The Preferred Channel for Customer Support

A number of studies show that voice and phone remain popular customer support channels. Human touch is an essential part of the customer relationship, but some customer services struggle with the large number of requests, mainly due to the multiplication of channels, which lead to longer wait times and frustration.

Automated voice solutions can help relieve the load and improve customer satisfaction. But with all the different options available, which solution should you choose? IVR (Interactive Voice Response), callbots, and voicebots are today’s most popular solutions. For many decision-makers, they are all the same, but their use and satisfaction levels differ.

Here is a list of pros and cons to help you choose the right solution. 

Interactive Voice Response (IVR):

IVR is the most widespread voice technology on the market. In simple terms, you interact with IVR via a configurable voice menu. You can answer by pressing a button on your keypad (e.g., to pay your bill, press 3) or by speaking (e.g., for a question about your bill, say “bill.”)  IVR uses a funnel-like system to finetune the caller’s request (e.g., to check your bill press 1, to pay your bill press 2, to speak to an advisor press 3). 

The pros:

  • Reduced costs: less receptionists, and prequalified calls redirected to agents 
  • Availability: 24/7 for information-based questions (e.g., opening hours, phone line activation, etc.)
  • Better processing of requests: calls are less likely to be redirected from one department to another because they have been prequalified

The cons:

  • Although IVR is practical, users tend to think of it as a human substitute that holds less value
  • Users often encounter difficulties qualifying their requests and instead press random numbers to get through to a “human” agent as quickly as possible
  • If the scenario and prequalifying questions have not been properly thought out, customers can become irritated finally speaking to someone about their “urgent” problem
  • Using keywords or buttons on a keypad is not very natural and does not create a seamless journey


There are several schools of thought on the differences between voicebots and callbots. Both use the same technology. They are voice assistants that process spoken requests by converting them into text and submitting them to a server: STT (Speech to Text) and TTS (Text to Speech) for the answer. This process only takes a few milliseconds and creates a smooth conversation for end-users. 

For the purpose of this article, let’s define voicebots as the ability to interact by voice within a chatbot (whether on a website, app, or messaging system) or with a connected object (such as Google and Alexa).

According to the 2022 Digital Barometer, 40% of French people use connected objects, and 27% have a connected speaker.

Voice is fast becoming a key part of customer relations, and voicebots, unlike IVR, enable natural interactions thanks to increasingly powerful NLP models (natural language processing).

The pros:

  • Speed: talking is 3 times faster than typing on a keyboard
  • Multitasking: users can talk to the speaker while browsing the website, checking their account, etc., or doing something else.
  • Inclusion: voice is a simple interface that anyone can use and is accessible to people with disabilities or visual impairments.

The cons:

Similarly to text chatbots, voicebots need knowledge. Once you have added all the most common queries to your knowledge base, you need to update it regularly to ensure that your bot is effective and provides a seamless experience. This will minimize answers such as, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your question” or “Sorry, I don’t know the answer to that question.”


Callbots, like voicebots, process requests using voice and provide a seamless experience. Callbots are available by phone, like IVR, and help streamline the number of incoming calls for customer services. But the similarities end there.

60% of customers prefer the phone when contacting customer services.*

Callbots combine the benefits of IVR and voicebots to offer the best possible phone experience. The bot immediately interacts with callers like a receptionist: “Hello, how can I help you?” Customers can use their own words, and the bot will understand the request and context (not just keywords). The bot can also adapt its speech pace to match the customer’s, or to diffuse a tricky situation, for example. Callbots understand dates of birth, full addresses, order references, and any other variables. You can also connect them to omnichannel platforms at customer support centers. 

The pros:

  • Customer satisfaction: no more wait times and quick processing
  • Reduced costs: facilitates processing and reduces callback rate (savings of up to 40% observed)*
  • Business generator: processing of calls during non-working hours and prequalification of requests
  • Improved employee experience: valued expertise and more efficient management of incoming calls

The cons:

Callbots are effective when their role is well-defined from the beginning (scheduling appointments, qualifying queries, taking out contracts, etc.). They can handle requests from start to finish or put the user in touch with an operator but, to fully benefit from its capabilities, the scenario has to be well-defined.

Feel free to read this article to find out more about callbots: Callbots: Key features for a seamless experience.

Whichever voice solution you choose, make sure you clearly define your goals, take the time to set up different scenarios and check the interconnections with your current tools. If you follow these three criteria, you’ll soon see results, and increase your customers and teams’ satisfaction.