Why Your Customers Hate Phone Calls and What Channels to Use Instead

Denis Zhinko
6 min read
Mar 1, 2019
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Empty phone booth customers hate calling

To make their customer service instantly accessible and improve its quality, companies hire more service agents for their call centers and create 24/7 hotlines. However, the recent survey shows that 59% of consumers refrain from calling as long as it’s possible.

Let’s consider the reasons for customers’ hate of calling and think of possible options that make a change in the traditional customer service ways, increase service quality and customer retention.

What’s wrong with calling?

Bad phone call experience often backs the unwillingness to call customer service and usually includes:

1. Long time on hold

Customers want to solve their problems quickly. What they don’t want is to spend 11 minutes on average without getting an agent’s reply. According to Invoca’s survey, 53% of people will stay on hold for 5 minutes or less, which shows how businesses risk losing their customers making them wait so long.

2. Being bounced from agent to agent

Inaccessible customer service is bad. But being endlessly transferred between different agents is even worse for the customer. While the need to repeat the same information over and overdrives the customer mad, the chances of leaving them satisfied dwindle.

3. Talking to an unprepared agent

Assuming that long hold times and endless transfers are not the case, speaking to the customer service agent unable to help is another reason for customers’ disappointment (and their choosing other vendors next time).

4. Annoying music

The last but not the least reason for customers’ hate of calling the support service may be repetitive hold music getting on their nerves. And if it’s combined with long waiting time, customers may get irritated even before they contact your support team.

How to help your customers reach out

The obvious way to overcome the issues of calling is to use other options for customer communication. You may provide various opportunities to get in touch with your service team. Since the issues of calling can impact customers in terms of psychological comfort and demonstrate the lack of interactivity, we consider the efficiency of other tools from these 2 perspectives.

Live chat

According to Forrester’s survey, the percentage of people using live chat increases by 10% annually (the biggest growth among other communication channels), and it continues to rise.

What is more, customer satisfaction ratings for live chats are substantially higher than all other support channels.

In fact, more than 90% of customers are satisfied using live chat services as compared to other means of communication, including phone, email, and social media. Let’s find out the reasons for that considering the benefits of live chat technology.

First, it provides for the quick resolution of customer issues due to its high interactivity. By interactivity, we mean a conversational nature of live chat tools, allowing to get the needed help in live mode. Using live chat, a customer gets speedy and informative responses, maintains communication with an agent in the real-time mode and gets frequent updates on how their issue’s being solved.

Also, such a conversation provides increased psychological comfort to the customer as there’s no need for excessive efforts to reach the support, no prolonged waiting, no endless transferring loops or general replies from unhelpful agents.

However, high interactivity entails higher customer expectations for chat response time. Thus, statistics show that the average wait time for chat is 45 seconds. So, to ensure this quick response, a need for a larger support team may arise or an AI-powered chatbot may be introduced.

Livechat app screen

Customer self-service portals

According to Software Advice’s consumer survey, 73% of customers look for the answer online first when any issue arises. And here self-service portals come into play delivering the proactive approach in managing customer issues.

Before turning directly to your support agents, customers may look for the answer in the portal’s knowledge articles and FAQ sections. If the information there is both relevant and comprehensive, this may be enough to solve their problem.

This means fewer emails and calls, which spares your service agents more time for the customers that do not use the portal or didn’t find the answer there.

This method of customer issues resolution provides a high level of psychological comfort to customers. They can look for necessary info anytime they want to without waiting for the agent’s reply over the phone or trying to squeeze into their working hours.

Although this communication channel lacks interactivity, there is no place for pitfalls of human interaction, too. Still, if more interactivity is required, customer self-service portals can be used jointly with a live chat or email.

For example, a service agent can attach the links to related knowledge articles on the portal while chatting with the customer or replying to them by email.

Customer portal website screen


Being a traditional customer communication channel, email is still the most popular one: 54% of customers have used email customer service channels in the last year, according to Forrester’s report.

Reaching out by email is especially valued by customers who appreciate privacy and do not want to expose their issues to the public (like it’s done in social networks). Another reason of adherence to email is the fact that official email responses tend to look more trustworthy to customers since they feel they may use them as a proof in case of any dispute with the company.

Thus, the level of the customers’ psychological comfort is high. However, interactivity is lower than that of a live chat. The lack of opportunity to track the email’s status and know when the reply will come contribute to that.

Social media channels

More demanding customers, expecting a response within an hour, may resort to social media. The reason is obvious: higher interactivity is needed, and social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram seem like a sure way to get a response quickly.

Indeed, customers which expect the speedy resolution of issues, get it due to making their issues public, (however it may be challenging for introverted people, making them feel uncomfortable).

So, the way the company’s agents manage these issues puts not only the customers’ loyalty but the company’s image at stake. On the other hand, if the company’s service is good, this fact becomes wide-known, too. Here’s why good customer care in social media leads to 81% of revenue increase and 30.7% of ROI increase annually.

Why bring these tools under one umbrella

The above-mentioned channels allow their most efficient use only if tied together within one tool, which can be service CRM. CRM solutions like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, or Oracle provide opportunities for omnichannel customer service.

In particular, Salesforce Service Cloud supports live chat, phone, email, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Sino Weibo), customer self-service portals and web forms.

All these channels are aggregated in CRM, so service agents simply work from there with a big picture of customer interactions at hand.

Problem solved

The problem of customers unwilling to use the phone and still wanting to contact your support center is easy to manage with all the customer communication channels available today.

By providing customers with more communication channels and ensuring their productive coexistence, you make a big step towards delivering the customer service your clients are happy with.

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