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Phone calls remain preferred method of business communication, surveys show

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Phone calls continue to be the preferred way for consumers to interact with businesses, according to a report by Hiya, a call performance management cloud.

Its annual State of the Call report, updated in June, lays out how despite a growing number of ways to communicate with customers, traditional voice conversations are still favored over other methods like email or text.

“There is power in the voice call that can’t be duplicated by any other communication channels,” Hiya said. “It’s fast, efficient, reliable, and above all human — it creates a vibrant connection in an increasingly digital world.”

As it relates to auto service providers, like collision repair facilities, 39% of consumers prefer voice calls, while just 19% want to be reached by email; another 5% of customers said they’d like to hear from the business by text.

The findings resulted from a survey of more than 2,200 business workers, 13,000 consumers, and 600 network carrier decision-makers throughout the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain.

“Consumers continue to rely on voice calls for their most important communications, especially when they involve sharing sensitive information, such as healthcare test results or credit card transactions,” Hiya said. “Consumers prefer picking up the phone across a wide range of industries, too — which means voice calls are driving business across enterprises. And it’s not even close in some sectors.”

An upcoming Repairer Driven Education (RDE) presentation at SEMA – Phone Etiquette and the Power of Mystery Shopping – will help collision repair facility workers determine whether their phone etiquette is helping or hurting their business. The hour-long session will offer guidance on everything from answering the phone to following through to improve the customer experience.
The session will be led by Tracy Dombrowski, Collision Advice’s director of training, who has more than 20 years of experience in the collision repair industry.
“With claims count declining, the customer experience is becoming more critical in the success of a collision repair center,” Dombrowski told Repairer Driven News. “Many of those interactions occur via phone or text, which requires the CSR to be more intentional in building a relationship with the customer.
“The new mantra is, ‘Know me, then know my car.'”

A separate survey by the cloud-based call center platform, TCN, reiterated those findings, determining that 53% of consumers still prefer to to interact with a live person when dealing with customer service.

The 2023 survey of 1,000 U.S. adults found that as it relates to the quality of customer service:

    • 54% said a willingness to help was most important;
    • 59% named the “ability to solve my issue” as a top quality; and
    • 47% said being knowledgeable about the product or service was key.

TCN’s survey also touched on how long customers are willing to wait on hold and found that while 90% were not willing to wait longer than 10 minutes, 58% said they have waited for longer than that. Another 16% said they’ve been placed on hold for more than 30 minutes.

The impact positive communications can have on customer loyalty or business reputation was also touched on in the survey, which found more than 70% of Americans were likely to abandon a business after a single negative customer experience.

Such surveys underscore the importance of effectively interacting with customers over the phone, including for collision repair businesses.

Those interested in learning more about the show or planning to register can do so online. To learn more about SCRS’ Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series during the show, click here.

Those planning to attend, or considering attending, can explore the RDE track in greater depth or add sessions to their show planner by visiting SCRS: Repairer Driven Education on the Map Your Show site.


Featured image: Chainarong Prasertthai/iStock

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