We look at the statistics behind the importance of telephone communications for SME businesses. In particular, nurturing customers for success.


We’ve gathered some statistics about telephone communications for SME businesses that we are going to share. You already have an idea of how important the phone is for business growth. You may also have heard of omnichannel communications. That is the move, by some, to have all their different methods of communication in one place.

Far be it for us to criticise this move to the omnichannel model but we believe and our statistical research proves that the number one requirement for a successful business is the telephone and those who answer the call.

We’re going to be looking at these key areas of telephone communication:

  • The Customer and the Company
  • Marketing and the Call to Action
  • Nurturing the Customer for Business Success
  • Conclusion

The Customer and the Company

First a word about the omnichannel model, this combines all the different methods of communication and includes the phone but also email, chat, chatbots plus web forms.

You can see the value of this for an extremely large business with multiple support staff but one key is missing and we’re going to look at the importance of this key. The key, of course, is human interaction. A real person, who can adapt, at the end of the phone to your customer.

Don’t Lose Your Customers

85% of people who call and don’t receive a reply will not call back.

Source: message-direct. Although this is a call centre.

Can you afford to lose 85% of your potential customers? No.

66% of customers will switch companies because of poor customer service.

Source: Accenture

25% of callers will give up after they’ve been kept on hold too long.

Source: NewVoice

Along with the above, we have 30% of customers (Microsoft research) saying not being able to reach a real person is the most frustrating experience of poor customer service.

The way of combating this loss is to outsource your call needs to a dedicated service thus cutting down your business headcount and expense.

Complexity Requires People

40% of callers wish to talk to a real person to resolve a complex issue.

Source: American Express

This is where chatbots cannot compete with a well-briefed phone operator. From experience I can say once you have someone with an ‘issue’ on the line and they are angry; when you solve it you have a happy customer more likely to pass on their positive experience to friends and family. Therefore, creating something of value, word-of-mouth marketing.

But the key stat is that 77% of people believe a phone call is the most effective way to get a quick answer. Something a chatbot is unlikely to resolve every time.

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Marketing and the Call to Action

The device is important in this context. The majority of people will research, if not buy, a product or service via a mobile phone. An average between 60% and 80% of your website traffic is mobile (61% according to Exploding Topics, March 2024).

The ‘Click to Call’ feature in a mobile phone browser can increase the conversion rate of an ad by 200% (source: Quick Sprout).

If you are not prepared for the 52% of individuals (source: Luma Partners) who want to contact a business by phone after seeing a mobile ad, you’ll be losing a lot of business.

70% of mobile searchers say they will call after seeing a mobile search ad.

Source: Google

As Google is 93.75% of the search engine market you might as well say that’s 70% of everyone in the UK.

If you use a form on a website to gather leads you may wish to rethink. Webforms (especially on a WordPress website, in my experience) will break. The worst thing is you won’t know they are broken unless you test them every day. That’s because of this stat:

65% of people wish to phone versus only 24% of people prefer the form (source: Invoca). You’re right you should have both but the phone is the one for volume, safety and the best service.

Although online chat, social media and email are prevalent they cannot compete with the adaptability of a human phone operator.

Nurturing the Customer for Business Success

It’s not simply the call being answered that makes the difference to your business success.

Note this stat:

57% of people call as they want to talk to a real person.

Source: Google

That stat alone should help you consider your customer service options. Which are you going to focus on?

Web and phone can work hand-in-hand. We’re not saying the phone is the only answer. Here’s a stat that proves that.

If a web lead is followed up within 5 minutes, that lead is 9 times more likely to convert into a sale.

Source: InsideSales.com

Remember how we mentioned that word-of-mouth marketing can be created by human contact? Well, we have two other stats that go further concerning the human voice and customer interaction.

52% of consumers say they have made an additional purchase from a company after a positive customer service experience.

Source: Zendesk

86% of communication is made up of ‘tone of voice’ and just 14% of the words we say.

Source: ContactPoint

Can a chatbot, a social Direct Message or an email produce the right ‘tone of voice?’ To a degree but it will never replace the voice of a well-briefed empathetic human.


Even though the lines of communication are many the phone is the key to customer care and business success. The most startling statistic is the first one in this article. 85% who call and don’t receive a reply will not call back. Having the capacity to answer the phone as quickly as possible (within 2 – 3 rings) will impress your customers and contribute to a high level of retention.

We live in a mobile world and a business has to be au fait with mobile ads and have the trained staff to answer potential leads (70% of searchers seeing a mobile ad will call).

Real people mean real business, 57% of callers want to talk to real people and 52% are likely to make an additional purchase after talking to a skilled operator.

Make phone answering the core of your customer service for retention and to gain more revenue.

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