Hiya, a call performance management cloud, has released its 5th annual “State of the Call” report based on more than 150 billion calls analyzed, and 12,000 consumers and 2,000 businesses surveyed in the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, Spain, and France.
The report finds that consumers and businesses prefer the phone call over all other methods of communication, and that spam and fraud calls are a growing problem globally. Following are the main points of the report:
Consumers and businesses prefer the phone call
Across the globe, consumers prefer to pick up the phone when they need to connect with their bank, credit card company, insurance agent, healthcare provider, pharmacy, delivery service, and even coworkers, friends, and family.
To connect with customers, businesses have turned to voice––particularly for time-sensitive interactions such as responding customer inquiries, scheduling appointments, and closing sales––and predict their use of voice will increase (36% of businesses) or stay the same (50%) in the next 12 months.
Unidentified calls hurt legitimate businesses
Consumers are screening calls more than ever before. Just 21% of unidentified calls were answered in 2021 compared to a 68% answer rate for identified calls. Consumers have grown suspicious of unidentified calls, noting that they think unidentified calls might be fraudulent 94% of the time.
This mistrust hurts business performance: Half of all businesses surveyed reported that they lost a customer or a deal by not being able to reach them by phone. To combat this problem, businesses believe adding identity to their outbound calls is the most effective way to increase answer rates, and 97% of US businesses would pay a premium per call for branded caller ID.
Spam and fraud calls are a growing problem globally
In the six countries surveyed (US, Canada, UK, Germany, Spain, and France) there were an estimated 117 billion spam and fraud calls last year, averaging 14 spam and fraud calls per month per user. One-quarter of consumers in these countries reported losing money to a phone scam in 2021, with an average loss of $542 per victim.
While the United States topped the list with the highest volume of spam and fraud calls, people in France and Spain experienced the highest number of calls per user––the first time that a European country has surpassed the US.
The categories of the most popular spam campaigns in the United States in 2021 included: auto warranty, Social Security number, credit card, IRS, and student loan.
Throughout 2021, the auto warranty spam campaign was the most common spam call, accounting for more than 1 in every 10 spam calls received by Americans.
Carriers are in a unique position to reduce spam and fraud calls, but just 42% of consumers think that carriers are doing enough. In the US, AT&T subscribers reported the highest approval (61%) and lowest disapproval (18%) ratings of their network’s call protection service.
“Despite the many ways in which our world has changed over the past two years, the phone call remains central to how we communicate,” said Alex Algard, Hiya founder and CEO. “These findings are more proof that nothing is better than the human voice for simultaneously communicating context, meaning, and purpose. That’s why we see businesses and consumers preferring voice as a channel, and why when people want to get something done, or need to have an important conversation, they pick up the phone.”