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In a 2017 Ofcom survey, only 15% of 16- to 24-year-olds consider phone calls the most important method of communication.
Original source article found here: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/aug/30/the-end-of-phone-calls-why-young-people-have-silenced-their-ringtones
Now regardless of what the social consequences might be of teens and people in their early twenties taking less of their communication in the immediate present, I think businesses could see this as a massive opportunity for growth in the long term.
The problem with the phone call is that it’s one of the least efficient ways of communicating small problems. When big communication issues start, the phone call is probably one of the quickest ways to go from an extremely frustrated customer to a customer that has been communicated with and their issue understood.
But what if the most that you do is selling knick knacks or doodads online? Millions of small business owners sell their products almost exclusively through etsy, ebay, amazon, and other online marketplaces.
There’s a few ways that we can look at how this might change the future of employment and business. To me there are a few obvious ways this could change the way businesses run in the next 50 years.
Businesses just starting out in DTC can make more efficient use of their time.
A direct consumer business thrives on being able to send out as many products as possible. The more you can ship out to consumers, the more you can get off of your shelves, and the less you are paying in stocking fees, the higher your net profit will be.
It’s a simple starting equation for any small business owner. The last time you can spend in customer service and the more time you can spend in business development directly corresponds to how well your business grows.
Especially in direct consumer businesses, the problem of customer communication is something that can take up massive amounts of your time.. especially if you have to spend a majority of it on the phone. Phone calls are attention demanding, and take up your immediate time.
Alternatively, new methods of communicating with your customers have arisen that can make the time spent on customer service extremely efficient for small business owners.
Methods like direct to consumer chat, ai-based troubleshooting and indexed troubleshooting directories can all make it possible for your customers to settle their issues without ever grabbing your attention.
On the flip side, it is important to note that the bigger your business gets, the more important it is that you have an easily accessible phone service for your clients to get in touch with you. But during the early growth stage of a small business, phone calls can really be a time suck.
Product development, and quality assurance can take center stage.
Regardless of what you sell, whether it be skincare products or Hot Wheels, businesses that can reduce returns, and increase product pricing have a huge advantage in the market place.
Especially in the Amazon direct to consumer shopping era, making sure that your product is consistently the best your product can be is extremely important. The data tells us that if you have two identical products one priced 30% higher than the other but 10% better reviewed… These products will get picked nine times out of 10 over the slightly less expensive and slightly worse reviewed products.
I’m sure you’ve received at least one product on Amazon that offered you a discount or a Amazon gift card if you gave them a positive review. This is because businesses know that if they are the best reviewed products in their product category, they will sell 10x more than their competitors
Spending last time on customer service and less time interfacing with your clients about their issues, freeze up your time to focus on creating a better product. Gen z spending more of their time interfacing with businesses on their phones but without calling can open up that time for small business owners to improve upon their existing product line.
Phone calls make it difficult to give honest feedback.
In The godfather we learn that business isn’t personal, it’s just business. However, Phone calls make it difficult for us not to take critical feedback personally.
The natural timber of frustration comes out in our voices, and it can be difficult for a business owner not to take that frustration personally. Hell it can even be difficult for a customer service representative not to take it personally when someone has an issue with a product or service.
Giving customers a method of leaving feedback that isn’t a phone call, gives them the opportunity to leave feedback that is mindfully written and depersonalizes the feedback.
The more you can look at your reviews as a way of providing valuable customer service data that can influence the future of your products, the better your products and your business can be. 2D dimensions of customer feedback like text message, reviews, and email make it possible for us to convert qualitative data like reviews into quantitative data.
The top five issues that four-star reviews face, can be turned into a data she representing ways you can turn your four-star product into a five-star product in the eyes of your consumers.
If 45% of my customers complain of an allergy to a skin product that I sell, if I make a disclaimer that you know certain people with different allergies maybe you should look for a different product that I sell in a different sphere, we can turn that into additional sales for a second product and better reviewed sales for the first product.
Ultimately I do think we will have to see how everything pans out in the future, but one thing we can do in the present is as small business owners, take data and a depersonalize approach to our products. In this way we can improve our businesses and make massive growth potential based on numbers that we already have.
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