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Are phone calls really going out of style?

One of the hallmarks of business success is having a keen ability to interact with your customers. If you can have smooth and painless conversations regularly, you can manage both your healthy client relationships and your not-so-healthy ones. This helps you get insights on both what's going well and what areas you may need to improve.

In staggering numbers, people are abandoning old-fashioned phone calls and instead going mobile.

For a long time, the assumption has been that business phone systems are essential for keeping those lines of dialogue open. To a certain extent, that's still true. You still need to be ready whenever a customer may choose to pick up the phone and call you. But a significant trend is happening nowadays - in staggering numbers, people are abandoning old-fashioned phone calls and instead going mobile.

How will your company's strategy change in the smartphone era? What will you do differently in terms of marketing, sales and customer service? These are questions that you can no longer afford to ignore.

How customers' habits have changed

Traditionally, companies with an interest in strong consumer relationships have invested in phone systems for keeping the lines of communication open. That's still somewhat necessary, but people's tastes are definitely changing.

According to survey data from Smart Insights, the percentage of people using their mobile devices to search for brands is increasing every year. In 2015, it was 80 per cent, meaning mobile is gaining fast on PCs and laptops (91 per cent). As that gap continues to narrow, companies will need to adjust.

It's becoming clear that a great deal of customer communication now comes from mobile web browsers, not callers. Smart Insights also revealed that while more web visits still come from desktops - including 54.6 per cent for media and entertainment sites and 61.1 per cent for travel and hospitality - that gap is closing as well. As the mobile web gains prominence, brands will need a new approach to carrying on customer conversations.

Redoing your customer engagement framework

For many marketing and customer service professionals, it's time to rethink business phone plans, crafting new strategies that are a better fit for the modern landscape. According to CIO, this should begin with your organisational leaders sitting down and assessing their readiness for mobile marketing. Do they need new development talent? Additional funding? An entirely new strategy?

The mobile web is changing consumers' habits.The mobile web is changing consumers' habits.

A great mobile strategy should incorporate a few elements. These include a mobile-friendly website - one that's easy to navigate and has minimal flashy elements that might be distracting on a smaller screen. Additionally, responsive design is a valuable strategy as it helps create a smoother experience for mobile site visitors.

Balancing phone and cloud services today

At the end of the day, what we're really talking about here is a need for companies to find balance. On one hand, they still need strong phone systems, as calls are still a significant part of the communication landscape despite their relative decline. At the same time, though, they also need cloud infrastructures for helping them gather and store the information culled through mobile communications.

This is why unified communications are the answer for the 21st century business. UC is a way of integrating all your company's communication portals - phone lines, cloud networks and everything else - under one roof. This makes it easier to keep your employees productive and your customer relationships strong without worrying about any information being lost or siloed. For help with getting your company up to speed with UC, talk to the experts at Fonality today and get started.