The internet has undoubtedly changed the way companies do business. In terms of communicating with customers, the internet and digital technologies have ushered in the era of online contact forms, chatbots, AI customer service tools, etc. And let’s not forget email. But telephones are not dead. In fact, consumer surveys prove that companies should still be prioritizing inbound calls.
If inbound calls are an afterthought for your company, you could be sacrificing business. Your company’s reputation might be suffering. We have been in the live answering service business for a long time, and we can assure you that inbound calls are as relevant and important today as they ever were in the past.
Below are five reasons your company should be prioritizing inbound calls. They are based on some surprising statistics regarding business phone usage in America. You can find the statistics here.
1. Consumers Prefer Phone Calls
When surveyed regarding the various customer support options available to them, 62% of consumers said they still prefer phone calls. They would still rather talk to a human representative than fill out an online form and wait for a response. When they contact customer support, they want that support immediately. Submitting a form and waiting for a response just isn’t good enough.
2. Older Customers Prefer the Phone
If your business serves a larger number of older Americans, be aware that they prefer phone contacts over all other choices. By a rate of 77.7%, those 51 years-old or older would rather speak to company representatives on the phone than chat online, use email, or submit an online contact form.
3. Customer Service Employees Confirm Customer Preferences
In addition to the majority of consumers reporting a preference for phone contact, 72% of customer service employees confirm those preferences. Surveyed employees report that their customers are happier when they can reach a live representative as compared to using a chatbot or filling out an online form. Being on the front lines of customer service, it is probably smart to listen to what these employees have to say.
4. Phone Calls Cut Response Times
Bearing in mind that customers don’t like to wait, survey data also shows that offering phone support cuts response time significantly. The average response time via phone support in 2020 was just over 54 seconds. The best of the best were able to reduce response times to just 20 seconds. That’s the kind of speed customers expect when they reach out to companies.
Incidentally, companies that integrate business phones into the overall CX design cut their response times by just over 41% on average. That is a significant reduction no matter how you look at it.
5. Phone Calls Also Lead to Faster Resolutions
Finally, providing support via phone calls leads to faster resolutions. The average resolution time for customer service employees in 2020 was just under five minutes. It is nearly impossible to resolve issues that quickly using any other means. Even live chat isn’t as quick when you consider that agents and customers can’t type as quickly as they speak.
Cell phones and VoIP may have all but killed the landline, but they have not killed the telephone call itself. Whether you are a plumber, an electrician, or the owner of a home services company, your customers want the ability to contact you by phone. Prioritizing inbound calls shouldn’t even be a question. If you are struggling to do so, Apello can help.