New Research Reveals Brits Prefer Traditional Phone Calls to Emails for Customer Support

  • 69% of Brits will contact a business via phone call first before trying other methods when seeking assistance
  • Direct phone calls are the preferred method of communication for well over a third (38%) of British consumers when seeking support from a business
  • 45% say the customer service they receive over the phone is better than they get with other contact methods

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, new research from the leading technology-based provider of communications services across Europe, Gamma Communications, suggests that voice calls should be a priority for businesses despite the increasing number of digital communication options.

According to the new research, well over a third of Brits (38%) 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% 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%) 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% of consumers say they would continue shopping with an SME that offers superior customer service over the phone, suggesting an impact on customer loyalty as well.

 Chris Wade, Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Gamma Communications commented on the findings: “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 1.8M open complaints (a 5% 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%) value phone calls because they feel better understood when communicating verbally. The same number (46%) find phone calls quicker and easier to use, while 45% 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%), being subjected to long hold times (47%) and having no phone number to call or the phone number being hard to find (31%).

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%) 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%) 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%) value phone calls with businesses because it’s more personal than digital or automated messaging.

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