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Survey: Don’t overlook the importance of phone calls

A new survey of 500 U.S. consumers indicates that a good old-fashioned phone conversation goes a long way in making a sale.

According to the new “Invoca Buyer Experience Benchmark Report,” 68% of respondents find the human connection aspect of calling businesses attractive and say they prefer to communicate in this way more than any other channel, including online channels like chat or email. 

Most respondents call to do more research (44%) and because they feel most comfortable completing high-stakes purchases on the phone (30%). Fifty percent of respondents report finding agents more helpful now than before the pandemic, and slightly over half (51%) feel satisfied with their interactions overall, while less than half (45%) believe their business is valued.

A top reason for customer dissatisfaction when calling is long wait times. Three out of four respondents will hang up after being placed on hold, with only 6% of respondents holding out for 30 minutes or longer. Respondents also expect businesses to know their reason for calling, with 71% believing businesses already know these details; but almost 80% said they are rerouted at least once when making a customer service call. Transfers can cause respondents to feel frustrated (35%), less inclined to purchase (22%), and cause distrust in the business (16%).

"In these high-stakes transactions, consumers want to feel confident that they are making the right buying decision, and offering a human touch is the best way to provide that reassurance and build a rapport with them," said Dee Anna McPherson, chief marketing officer of Invoca. "However, this also means that businesses must pay close attention to the experience that their customers are having on the phone and implement the technology needed to perfect it, because it can make or break the reputation of their brands."

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