5 Revelations about Phone Conversations in Today’s Workplace

woman looking at phone with a shocked look on her face

Over the past 40 days, I’ve been hard at work completing a research project that’s very appropriate for The Phone Lady. It was inspired by a quick conversation last summer with a trusted colleague. We met on our neighbourhood trail in the early morning. Initially, he whizzed by me on his bike but was aware enough to recognize me and turn around. I’m so grateful he did.

When he asked “How are things going?”, I shared my uncertainty about the value of my work in today’s digital business environment. His reply, based on his wide-ranging experience and ever-present wisdom, was that phone conversations were having a resurgence.

Really? Why was this happening? How far-reaching was this resurgence? What challenges and opportunities would it present?

I decided to find out and today (I’m posting this on March 10, 2024), which is the 148th anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s first phone call, I’m sharing what I’ve discovered.

What did my research reveal? How does it impact your work, your team, your career? What will you do with this information?

An anonymous, self-selecting survey was sent out to 723 CEO’s and Senior Executives in a wide range of industries. A 15% response rate was achieved with 110 surveys being completed by individuals in Canada, the US, England and France. In addition to providing valuable statistics, 123 respondents were very generous in their commentary.

These five revelations are some of my favorites:

  • 73% indicated that phone communication is either very effective or extremely effective in achieving their sales and customer service goals.
  • A stunning 93% stated that their bottom line suffered when team members lacked the skills to engage customers and prospects on the phone.
  • Phone conversations create genuine, human communication that’s highly valued due to the growth of  AI and automation.
  • Digital communication, such as email, text and chat, creates inefficiencies and miscommunication that phone conversations eliminate.
  • Discomfort with phone conversations is present in every generation in today’s workforce.

The challenges, opportunities and future outlook for phone conversations in 2024 are all uncovered and examined in this unique report.

You can download your copy, without the necessity of providing an email address, here.

Two “asks” from me:

  • Share this information widely. The past 18 years has taught me that companies neglect the phone as a valuable resource until an urgent need arises. Yet the skills required to use this simple tool need time and practice to perfect. This research may provide much needed support for executives in your network.
  • Share your thoughts in the comment section below, via email or by phone. This level of research is a first for me. Your feedback is invaluable. It will assist me in determining how I structure this project for 2025.

Closing a sale is the natural outcome of inspiring great conversations and listening intently to our potential customers.

This natural approach still involves a process – a plan that moves potential customers through a journey of discovery with you. So ... what's your process? And am I the right sales coach for you? Let's find out.

6 thoughts on “5 Revelations about Phone Conversations in Today’s Workplace”

  1. Mary Jane, I agree with many of your findings. I am volunteering with MentoringPlus Strategies and we go into schools ( at the request of the Teachers ) and talk with the students, usually 16+years. Lately we were working with students regarding applying for jobs, writing resumes and doing interviews. I brought up the use of “the telephone” as being an asset to them and , of course, no one knew what a telephone was. Perhaps the school system should remind the students that telephones are still a vital source of communication to offices/businesses. i.e. Calling to make an appointment with your Dr. or a Walk In Clinic; connecting with your bank, to name a few. I feel that using a telephone is a skill and should be promoted not forgotten or considered ” a thing of the past”. Love your work and I am so pleased to have met you and to know that you are doing what you do for us. Frieda Burger, Retired Business Owner/Operator FRITZ’S in New Minas NS

    Reply
    • Thanks, Frieda, for this great comment. And I love that you are working with students providing them with skills for job search. This is one of the many reasons I decided to create the survey. Soft skills are in demand by employers and the #1 soft skill is communication. Phone communication skills are a great way to improve both our conversation and listening skills. When I deliver workshops on job search, I always encourage participants to use phone conversations to learn more about companies and to organize informational interviews. Feel free to share my report with teachers!

      Reply
  2. Hi Mary Jane,
    I read your weekly posts religiously and appreciate the time and effort that you put into every one of them. I personally cannot imagine a world where in Sales you do not personally talk to a customer before closing a sale. Here in Atlantic Canada this is an absolute must to build trust and a relationship with a potential customer. I always start with the email explaining that I will follow-up with a call to discuss the details. It works extremely well for me and would never close without the call. I actually try for an In-Person meeting as well. My close rate is over 60% so I think the formula that you recommended is working. Thanks for all you do Mary Jane!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Derek, for taking the time to post this comment. Strangely enough, I was just thinking about you the other day and wondered how you were doing. Apparently you are doing very well! So glad to hear you are thriving. And I’m glad to know that ideas we’ve shared continue to work for you.

      Reply
  3. Someone gave me great advice a few years back. If an email goes back and forth 3 times, pick up the phone! When you said emails/chats create inefficiencies and miscommunication it is so true! I have been picking up the phone more this past year and happy i have been!
    My main concern is catching someone at the wrong time (I hate unexpected calls). So knowing what days/times to reach out to people would be helpful.
    I believe you did a post on that once??

    Reply
    • It is true that phone calls eliminate a lot of inefficiencies and miscommunication. It is also true that unexpected calls are simply not appreciated … by anyone. Our work lives have changed so much and we schedule our time so diligently, that having our focus interrupted by a phone call is experienced as an intrusion. And there are no “ideal” days or times to make calls. There used to be, when our days included typewriters and landlines, but now each of us works the hours that best suit us. My go-to the past several years has been to allow the client or prospect to choose the time for the call. I use an appointment app to accomplish this and it works beautifully. I wrote this post to explain the how and why of it all: https://thephonelady.com/1-way-to-increase-your-phone-conversations-with-prospects-and-customers-in-2020/

      Reply

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What's The Phone Lady doing?

 

  • Remote learning experiences + one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs (More info about this three-year program here.)
  • Team and individual coaching with a national moving company to refine their sales process
  • Remote half-day training for provincial tourism representatives
  • Remote seven-part sales training program for US-based SaaS
  • Remote webinar on accounts receivable communication for industrial-services company
  • Remote webinar on validation to college students in entrepreneur program
  • In-person workshop on job search skills for women in the trades
  • Remote half-day webinar on written correspondence to customers

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.