Digital communication has become a primary way for managing customer contact but, for many businesses, the phone remains a critical tool to communicate with customers and close sales.

Research shows that more than 80% of Australian customers still seek human interaction and phone calls remain key to delivering positive customer experiences. Furthermore, the same research shows that in the US, up to 17% of customers will leave and never come back after a single poor customer experience.

Fonebox Australia and New Zealand regional managing director, Mike Mulvey said, “Customers who call tend to be the most valuable to any business. They also place a high value on positive phone call interactions, particularly when justifying big purchases or important decisions.”

He added: “Just one call can turn into a meaningful human connection that turns one-time customers into lifetime clients. It’s essential to let the customer speak up and be heard. But, if a call is missed, there is no guarantee that the client will call back or want to take the organisation’s return call. It’s vital that organisations can catch every call and spend time with customers on their terms and in their moment of truth.”

Fonebox has identified three ways missed calls can damage business revenue:

1.Unconverted leads

Most lead generation campaigns provide a call to action that includes either a phone number or email address. Customers responding to the call to action are just as likely to call as email, which makes phone calls an effective avenue to begin a lead conversation. By missing a prospective client call, businesses miss them in their ‘moment of truth’. This is when the customer is the most open and honest about their issues, and willing to talk to the business about their solutions. This valuable window is particularly hard to achieve, so it’s essential that businesses have the adequate resources and processes in place to ensure this opportunity isn’t missed.

2. Negative customer experience

Customer satisfaction is crucial to business continuity with one in three satisfied customers leaving a company after only one bad experience, and 92% leaving after two or three negative interactions. Businesses that regularly miss client calls tend to frustrate their customers, damaging the customer experience and brand reputation through negative word of mouth.

3. Workflow inefficiencies

Answering every phone call is challenging for all businesses, with priority often given to business output or in-person customers. For small businesses that may not have a full-time receptionist or customer service team, managing the delivery and administrative duties of the business can be near impossible as phone calls interrupt productivity. Business output can be affected if businesses answer every incoming call but, equally, the opportunity to convert a lead in their ‘moment of truth’ is lost and creates more work for the business when trying to call the prospect back.

“Phone communication provides a platform where clients are often at their most honest. This allows businesses to provide more value to their clients and prospects, through deeply understanding the core of their issue.

“If calls are being missed on a regular basis, it can lead to substantial revenue loss. Businesses must understand how and why these calls are being missed and implement processes and the required resources to ensure the opportunity isn’t missed,” Mulvey said.