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Research: Brits prefer phone calls for customer service

December 1, 2023

From phone calls and email to web chats and social media, it’s harder for businesses to know which channels to prioritise for customers. Now, research from Gamma Communication suggests that voice calls should be a priority for businesses despite the increasing number of digital communication options.

According to the research, well over a third of Brits (38 per cent) say direct phone calls are their preferred method of communication with businesses over other channels such as emails, web chats, social media and video calls. A further 69 per cent of consumers are likely to contact via phone call first before trying other methods when seeking assistance from a business.

With the vast majority (91 per cent) considering it important to be able to easily call a business customer service line when they need assistance, phone calls evidently have a significant impact on the customer experience. To further underscore this, 80 per cent of consumers say they would continue shopping with an SME that offers superior customer service over the phone, suggesting impact on customer loyalty as well.

Chris Wade, Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Gamma Communications, commented: “When customers need support, it’s evident that businesses must understand exactly how their customers want to communicate. Even in today’s increasingly digital world, human connection is vital. Telephone calls have withstood the test of time for being one of the best ways to achieve that interpersonal bond. All businesses can use this to harness the, sometimes underrated, value of telephone calls to offer quality customer service and retain customers. Whether you’re a tradesman or a financial advisor, your voice has the power to yield customer loyalty.”

In the finance industry alone, evidence is clear on just how important customer support accessibility is to British consumers. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported finance firms had 1.8 million open complaints (a 5 per cent increase from 2022) in the first half of 2023 showing that customers will always, and increasingly, need business support. It’s how fast and easy they receive that support that leaves a lasting impression which can make or break a business’s reputation.

The research suggests the value of voice calls can be attributed to human connection. Almost half of Brits (46 per cent) value phone calls because they feel better understood when communicating verbally. The same number (46 per cent) find phone calls quicker and easier to use, while 45 per cent believe that the support and customer service they receive over the phone is of higher quality in comparison to other contact methods.

Similarly, the biggest frustrations Brits face when contacting customer support are automated responses or the inability to speak with a human (49 per cent), being subjected to long hold times (47 per cent) and having no phone number to call or the phone number being hard to find (31 per cent).

Gamma Communication’s research shows the ability to voice call a business is a necessity for customers and this is also seen across the UK regions, upon further breakdown of the data:

  • More than half (52 per cent) of customers in the East of England value phone calls with businesses as they feel better understood when speaking over the phone.

  • Nearly half of Yorkshire customers (48 per cent) value phone calls as they believe they are more likely to get an issue resolved faster over the phone.

  • Nearly half of South Western customers (48 per cent) value phone calls with businesses because it’s more personal than digital or automated messaging.

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Research

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