We love to laud the techy-er aspects of customer service. “Millennials visit self-service first.” “Live chart is the way of the future.” “Customers expect to be greeted by a chatbot.” Blah, blah, blah. Futuristic technologies are fun, both to use and to talk about. But guess what? Are you ready for a surprise?
The phone call is still the world’s number one favorite method of customer communication. Jaw = dropped.
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of novel customer service tools. Sometimes this results in businesses and customers alike writing off the “old-fashioned” channels of connection. But voice calls, if you think about it, wholly deserve their title as heavyweight champion of the customer service world. Don’t believe us? Prepare to be convinced.
Outbound vs. Inbound Calls
But first, you need to know what we’re talking about.
Outbound calls are the communications sent to customers by a business. These might be cold calls made by the sales department to prospective customers. They can also include emergency recall communications, customer surveys, and market research collections.
Inbound calls are the communications sent to businesses by a customer. The most common inbound calls include product issue inquiries, general questions, and complaints.
Outbound and inbound calls are still the ruler of customer service.
Voice calls remain to this day the most personal method of customer communication available.
Consumer support solutions such as Gladly strive to create text-based marketing, tech support, and service communications which maintains the individuality and personalization offered by face-to-face communication. But let’s face it, nothing beats a human voice. It’s possible to convey a sincere tone and conversational style over an instant messenger or email, but never to the degree that we can over the phone.
And customers love a personal experience. Here are some stats from Gladly’s own 2020 Customer Expectations Report:
- 79% of consumers say personalized service is more important than personalized marketing material.
- Lack of personalizations makes 64% of customers feel like a ticket number, rather than an individual.
- 84% go out of their way to spend money with brands that provide a great customer experience.
Beyond personalization and a great customer experience, here are some other statistics which may help to proclaim the phone call king:
- Customers like to move seamlessly between channels, without needing to repeat themselves. And 63% prefer to talk over the phone.
- 71% of consumers rate a customer service experience as “excellent” if their issue is resolved quickly. While live chats and email make your agents more efficient overall, a phone call remains the best way to resolve an individual issue quickly.
- It’s the way things are. 77% of consumers contacting Gladly’s customer support in 2019 chose the phone.
We’ve focused a lot on inbound calling experiences in this section. Let’s briefly talk about outbound calls.
An outbound sales or telemarketing call remains one of the most effective ways to reach prospective customers. Think about it: how many marketing emails do you receive in a day? How many do you open? Do they even make it to your main inbox, or are they just sitting in your promotional folder? Emails, instant messages, even targeted social media ads are easy to ignore or write off as an impersonal ploy to get a hold of your hard-earned money.
A phone call on the other hand allows customers to connect on a human level with a real representative from your company. (Plus, they’re much harder to ignore than an email.) Feeling seen and heard is important to consumers, even if you’re the one calling them. To this end, phone calls are runner-up only to a face-to-face conversation.
Consumers like to be known by their favorite brands. 66% believe that the most important thing brands should know about their customers is their name and location. Customer segmentation is a fantastic way to ensure that your outbound calls are sending the right messages to the right people. To learn more about this marketing and customer service strategy, check out our article: Customer Segmentation.
Why it’s important to handle both inbound and outbound calls in your customer service flow.
Because phone calls remain the reigning champs of customer service communications, maintaining a healthy call center for your business is a bare necessity. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Although online shopping is the phenomenon of the century, many shoppers still make purchases over the phone. And questions about billing, shipping, and payment issues are often best handled over voice calls.
- Telemarketing has an eye-roll reputation, but has remarkably experienced a great deal of growth over the past half-decade. Businesses should never underestimate the leads and sales that may be generated from this notorious outreach technique.
- Surveys conducted over outbound calls can contribute to market research, and enable businesses to provide better, more personal service and marketing materials to their consumers.
- It’s important to remember that not all of your shoppers have access to the same resources, or even abilities. Consumers without internet access, or customers for whom navigating the internet is a difficulty, may depend on voice calls to reach your company, whether for support or to make purchases.
- It’s what the customers want. The stats don’t lie: phone calls remain the number 1 way for businesses and consumers to communicate. The consumers have spoken: make sure you’re listening.
How Gladly can help.
Gladly is a comprehensive customer communications solution that strives to provide customers with a radically personal omnichannel experience. We support both inbound and outbound communications, with all channels native-built to our platform: including phone calls!
To see how Gladly can work for you, get a demo today.