One of the marked trends of modernity is our fixed focus on our smartphone — 81% of us own a smartphone. And for most of us, it’s our work assistant, our music player, our note taker, photo shooter, message giver… yes, even our phone caller.
The telephone has come an extraordinary way from March 10th, 1876, the day the first phone call was made. So extraordinary, in fact, that it is barely used for its original purpose — like much of Western holidays with their religious birth and increasingly secular presence.
Yet despite populations rising and mobiles multiplying, total volume of calls fell 1.7% a few years back. In fact, in 2018, the Guardian newspaper even called time on the device’s original purpose, announcing the death of the telephone.
But then the pandemic emerged and spread across the globe, disrupting day-to-day business as national and regional lockdowns came into effect.
Telecommunications operators prepared for the rise of internet traffic. And while that is clearly what played out, there was a surprising resurgence of the classic means of communication: the telephone.
According to Verizon, the number of daily phone calls has shot up to 800 million, which represents a 33% jump from last year. Is this, in fact, the revival of one of our most valuable — but recently underrated — forms of communication?
Well… no. (Sorry for the anticlimactic fall.) Despite throwing away our landlines in the early 2000s, and falling in love with the text message, we didn’t really forget how to have 1-1 talks. We have, rather, shifted the ways in which we make calls, whether it be on Facebook video chat and voice call, or on WhatsApp, or the rather old-school Skype.
But what about the Zoom boom?
In a strictly sociological sense fixed to business, it is interesting if we step back and monitor the pandemic as a global experiment in remote/online working practices. Many of us are working from home for the first time, or working out-of-office, something you may never have thought about doing before.
Since March, while there was a 90% spike in videoconferencing, these numbers have since simmered down. Published scare stories, like random people barging through the virtually non-existent security system, and hijacking video calls, exposed the weaknesses early on. But perhaps more fundamentally, we witnessed video-call fatigue.
Influence on sales
There are no longer one or two channels you need to focus on to drive growth. Rather, an omnichannel strategy that spreads throughout social media, and reaches customers who are shopping at the edge.
A strategy that aligns your ambitions and goals with a world-class website that is built on an ecommerce platform fit for scalability and capable of enhanced functionality, such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly known as Demandware).
However, for those direct interactions with partners, and those project pitches, and those closing of negotiations, one-on-ones are key. You simply can’t beat direct human contact when it comes to building and reinforcing trust.
It is thought that approximately $37 billion are lost due to poor communication — huge missed opportunities for brands and retailers. And an even bigger incentive to develop and sharpen your direct communication skills over the phone.