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60% Of Customers Still Prefer A Phone Call, But How Can You Fit That Into A Modern Business Model?

Woman on phone sitting at office desk

60% Of Customers Still Prefer A Phone Call, But How Can You Fit That Into A Modern Business Model?

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It’s fair to say that the ways in which clients and companies interact have changed a fair amount in the last few years. Now, businesses are expected to chat with customers on social media, as well as supplying the convenience of chatbots on their websites and all the rest.

Still, studies show that as many as 60% of customers would still prefer a traditional phone call over more convoluted online options. Unfortunately, countless companies have neglected this area of operations altogether, leaving phone calls very much in the last decade, and seeing even businesses who seem to be bossing it on the communications front failing to meet the needs of all customers.

The solution? Phone calls fit for a modern audience. But, what exactly do those look like?

One Of Many Options

If there’s anything customers expect from their favorite companies right now, it’s choice, whether that be around how to shop, how to pay, or how to communicate.

Far from honing in on one form of communication and sticking with it, companies need to offer phone calls within a one-of-many approach. Businesses certainly still need to embrace automated options like chatbots and online queries, but alongside phone calls that can either act as an end-of-line option for failed online conversations or appeal to people who simply want to get straight to the source from the off.

24/7 Availability

Internet shopping means that customers can shop at any time of the day or night, and most do. In fact, studies show that the peak eCommerce hour is 8 pm and 9 pm. In other words, there’s no such thing as the 9-5 where modern customer communications are concerned.

While most companies realize this with regards to online chats, etc., many make the mistake of shutting down their phone lines after a certain time and missing out on a great many potential sales as a result.

To avoid this issue, companies instead need to think about ways that they can offer 24/7 phone availability, too. Luckily, there are ways to make this happen, and the most affordability has to be a call answering service that answers your phones for you at any time. Equally, it’s possible to outsource phone centers or even employees on the ground overseas in different time zones for the same benefits. Either way, you need to know that when a midnight online shopper tries to get in contact, you’re at the other end of the phone in some capacity.

Easy At Every Stage Of A Call

Nothing kills custom faster than a dead phone line or a busy tone. While this was pretty standard around twenty years ago, customers simply don’t have time to keep calling a company these days, and nor should they have to.

Rather, you should aim to provide ease, and information, at every stage of a call, including call waiting, hold queues and answering machines. Companies like Scottish Gas are even taking this a step further, allowing customers to leave a number that keeps their place in a waiting queue for a call back while they get on with other things.

As well as ensuring that customers are far more likely to stick around long enough to talk to you and, hopefully, buy your services in the end, this is a fantastic step towards satisfied customers that are a lot more likely to shop with you again in the future.

Woman facetiming on a mobile phone

Pexels Image: CC0 License

Follow Up With Emails

Given that email marketing offers an astounding 4400% return on investment, it’s also worth noting that phone calls should forever come complete with follow-up emails. Not only does an email in the next day or two ensure that customers think of you again, but it can also make way for some more modern marketing techniques, such as loyalty discounts, referral codes, and even a call for reviews. The form these emails take can vary from call logs of the conversation (fantastic for avoiding a pushy sales vibe,) though to more blatant marketing materials. Either way, make sure to take email addresses at the start of any call and, if customers are happy for you to use that address for marketing purposes, never forget the all-important follow-up.

As the scope of business-customer communication grows, it can often seem like phone calls are fast falling out of fashion, but they still hold their place as a hassle-free and popular option. All you need to do is make sure that this potentially outdated go-to is up to date enough to appeal to your modern audience.

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