Top Four Reasons Why Customer Support Calls Still Rule
In this era of instant communications, it’s so easy to jet off an email or text message or post updates to social media. And so, when the phone rings, it can seem like an unwanted interruption. In fact, some researchers believe telephone calls will be reduced to just five percent of all business communications by 2015.
But a phone conversation, especially with customers and prospects, continues to be one of the most important forms of communication. Here are five reasons why customer support is often best delivered by phone.
- A phone call is the best way to resolve a customer issue. In a recent survey, 52 percent of respondents said they prefer to resolve an issue by phone, compared to 17 percent via e-mail. A phone call is tops for problem resolution because it’s immediate. Callers value their time and will appreciate a speedy resolution to this issue. In most cases, it’s also easier for customers to explain an issue over the phone than via email.
- Answering your phone shows you’re available. When customers have questions or require something right away, they don’t want their needs to get lost in someone’s inbox. By answering the phone, you’re showing that you’re available and that you care. And in so doing, you’ve gone a long way toward earning customer loyalty.
- It can be easier to land a sale. Prospects will likely be even more tempted to use your product or service following a positive phone conversation. As I mentioned recently in this blog, a 2012 Corporate Executive Board study found that, on average, B2B customers had completed nearly 60 of their buying decision before calling a company whose product or service they were considering. If the caller is already 60 percent decided on your product or service, a phone conversation with them can easily seal the deal.
- A phone call helps you connect. Your voice can convey so much more than words in an email, text, or other written communication. In fact, a famous study on nonverbal communications found that the tone used to express words often conveys more meaning than the words themselves. By comparison, words in email, text messages, and other written communications can be misconstrued without visual or audible cues to add context.
Short of actual face time or maybe a video chat, there’s nothing like a phone conversation for bonding in an informal, interpersonal way. In addition to conveying emotion and empathy, you can joke with the caller (when appropriate), ask how his or her weekend was, and have a meaningful dialogue in the moment. All of this helps you not just communicate but connect.
- Proactive customer calls are good for everyone. When done judiciously, calling customers about something they care about — an upcoming appointment reminder, for instance — benefits them and can likely cause them to take a desired action. It can also increase customer loyalty, which is good for your business.
For more on this topic, see my post “How Small Businesses Can Offer Proactive Customer Service”.