Market musings

Business and Communication 2017: The Surprising Stats

by Julie Montgomery
April 11, 2017

Is your business ready to communicate the way customers and employees want you to?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the smartphone has only been around for a decade, so completely has it revolutionized business communication. In that short time, customer and employee expectations have been radically reshaped, often outpacing the ability of business to keep up. In fact, researchers at MIT have concluded that smartphone adoption is outpacing any other kind of human technology in its transformative impact.

At the same time, a major extinction event is driving out legacy technology. Landlines are being rapidly dismantled and some experts predict that they will be completely gone in the next decade. Desk phone seem to be going the way of the dial tone, and often don’t get much usage, while employees give out their mobile number for the ease and mutual convenience of both themselves and the customer.

Does this mean that telephones don’t matter anymore? That people don’t need or want to talk on the phone?

Not at all. Click-to-call is becoming an important touchstone on the buyer’s journey, and a recent study of mobile users by Google found that 70% of mobile browsers have used the call button on a company’s website, and 39% use it frequently.

People want to talk to someone when they are ready to make a buying decision.

Voice delivers immediacy, clarity and trust.

The fact is that consumers still rely heavily on the telephone, even when they have trouble getting through. Consider these statistics:

  • 45% of consumers made a purchase by telephone in the last year.
  • 70% of consumers placing phone orders were made to hold
  • Business executives spend an average of 15 minutes a day on hold
  • 94% of marketing budgets are spent trying to get consumers to call.
  • Only 6% of marketing budgets are spent handling incoming customer calls
  • 34% of callers who hang up do not call back.

Click, type and tap

The emergence of text, social media and chat platforms have created multiple touch points across the omnichannel digital world, but despite the ubiquity of digital media, and the willingness of consumers to click, type and tap, one thing hasn’t changed, and has arguably grown even more profound: the desire for a personal, human connection. 

Customer experience   

In keeping up with digital transformation, an important question sometimes gets lost: Do the business communication tools you use help deliver the kind of experience your customers want and need?

Voice matters

In their race to optimize the digital experience, some businesses may have neglected an important channel. Although the buyer may want to read articles, engage socially, or chat as they browse online, they also may want to pick up the phone and talk to a person, especially when it comes time to make a buying decision.

Your customers want to talk to you, and it’s getting harder to connect with a real person. Customer service is at the center of every business’s success. Yet, more businesses are automating telephone support to save money, but are losing business in the process. 

What is the solution? Make it easier for customers to call you and talk when they need to. 

Employee mobility

What about employee productivity? One study shows that 44% of workers use their computer mostly for business communication, with 36% citing smartphones as their communication tool of choice.

In addition, 95% say they plan to use digital tools rather than incur the costs of face-to-face meetings. Research also shows that one in four U.S. workers periodically works from home, and 65% say they are more productive when they work do so. Telecommuting, by its very nature, requires telephone to stay connected with the office. 

The telephone remains an essential business communication tool for both customers and employees.

Business and communication:  What customers really think 

Can a more responsive better phone communication can improve the customer experience? What happens when customers can’t reach you?

  • 72% of callers hang up on an automated phone system.
  • 67% hang up when they can’t reach a live person.
  • 75% believe it takes too long to reach a live person.
  • Customers generally form an impression of any business within seven seconds.

Using an auto attendant to handle calls may save on payroll, but it may also cost you business.

You need to make it easy for incoming calls to reach the right party. Taking and making phone calls can help your sales and customer service and help you solve problems faster.  As the digital world becomes more textually and visually noisy, voice can help you get your message across in a powerful way. 

Business and communication:  What employees need

Workers are using their smartphones to maximize productivity, giving out their personal number as a contact number, and using their devices to access email and other channels. To promote greater productivity, today’s mobile workers are better supported by a virtual phone system that works well on your mobile phone infrastructure. The ability to mask personal phone numbers, access shared call logs, and reach colleagues and coworkers can save employees endless frustration. Imagine a mobile phone equipped with the following features:

  • Presence –Detects if the party you want is available before you contact him or her. It also informs you about the preferred means of contact (e.g., phone, text, or email, which saves a lot of time playing voicemail tag).
  • Employee directory and click to call – How much time is wasted sifting through your email or contacts to find the number you want? An integrated telephone directory with click to call makes it easy to find and connect with the right person. 
  • Auto availability – This feature shows availability and the context for the call.
  • Smart features – Virtual phone systems can deploy AI to help you make and take more calls. 
  • Conference calls – To accommodate today’s workforce, conference calls often take the place of meetings, so remote workers need to be able to dial in, share files, and quickly see support materials. 
  • Call transfer – Mobile-to-mobile call transfer

Do you have the right capabilities for today’s workers and customers? Does your business phone system help you answer more calls? Even more importantly, does it help you talk to people?

A virtual phone system that helps you talk

It seems obvious, but some business phone systems don't actually help people talk. They are too hard to set up and too hard to use. At Spoke, we believe that talking is the best way to solve problems fast, so we focus on getting more calls made and answered.

We've built a simple, intuitive interface that employees and customers will love to use. Based off how small and medium sized companies actually use their phones, we've learned that less is more when it comes to business phone systems. We've designed Spoke around the core phone system features small companies need and want. It's built to be deployed across your mobile phone infrastructure and administered from a simple app. Simple to install and easy to use.

Our smart directory keeps track of all your business calls and supports your company with features like an AI receptionist, easy call transfer, and group calling. You can choose a business phone line or port over the number you're already using. The Spoke app masks employees numbers so you can feel secure when they use their own device.

Let's Just Talk

Spoke was designed for small to medium sized businesses, 3-30 employees, giving you enterprise capabilities at a low per user cost. Activate your 21-day free trial -- no credit card required. See what you can accomplish with lower costs and better connectivity. Or contact us for a demo, and let's figure out how we can get you talking.