RingCentral recently surveyed 350 business leaders and technology decision-makers to get a sense of the state of enterprise communications. While enterprise messaging and video usage have increased significantly over the years, RingCentral’s data shows telephony continues to be the preferred mode of communication.
Telephony Remains Popular in the Enterprise
Most enterprises (over 90%) still consider the phone as their primary tool, according to the “7 Key Communication Trends for 2023
” report. Even 40% of companies that don’t primarily use the phone said it’s still one of their main tools. According to 95% of business decision-makers, the phone is also essential for customer engagement and revenue generation.
Although smaller companies with up to 99 employees are most likely to use the phone as their primary communication tool (58%), large enterprises with 10,000 or more employees mainly use the phone as well (55%). The findings show company size doesn’t really affect phone usage; it remains a popular tool for companies of all sizes.
The reason why telephony continues to be popular in the enterprise is because it’s used for both internal and external communications. The report found that 74% of the respondents use phones for internal calls, 59% for internal meetings, 82% for external client calls, 61% for external client meetings, 70% for external vendor calls, 64% for outbound customer calls, and 52% for inbound customer service.
A significant amount of industry chatter is around calling dying or claiming that the phone is dead. In reality, calling and video are the only channels that provides a human touch, and video is difficult to use in certain situations. Digital channels, such as bots and e-mail, are fine for low complexity and simple interactions. But when people want to discuss things like money, health, their jobs, or anything that can cause anxiety, the phone is often the best way to do it, as the person on the other end can react with empathy and understanding. That doesn’t happen with digital channels.
Despite the availability of cloud-based solutions, most respondents said their company uses mobile or on-prem phones. The data shows that 65% are using a business number on a mobile phone, 50% are using a personal number on a mobile phone, and 31% are using the cloud for business communications. More than half (53%) still rely on legacy on-prem phones. However, cloud adoption is expected to rise with enterprises moving to hybrid and remote work. Also, this shows the importance of UCaaS integration with mobile phones, as they will continue to be used as the primary business device.
The data also showed how resilient telephony will continue to be. The study found 29% of the respondents expect phone use to increase a lot over the next several years, 34% think it will increase a little, and 31% believe it will stay the same. Only 5% of the respondents expect phone use to decrease.
SMS/text messaging is also here to stay. More than 95% of the respondents are using SMS in some capacity, particularly larger companies. For 24% of the respondents, SMS is the main communication tool, and it’s one the main tools (not the primary tool) for 43% of respondents.
Enterprises Desire a Range of Features
Ultimately, businesses want flexible, feature-rich phone solutions that are accessible on multiple devices. When it comes to specific features, the respondents said they’re most interested in placing and receiving business calls (34%) and sending individual business SMS messages (30%) from a personal computer.
Businesses also desire several other calling features. For instance, the report found:
- 28% of respondents said they want the ability to record calls on demand and store the recordings in the cloud.
- 26% want high-volume SMS for mass marketing and customer care.
- 25% are looking to transfer existing phone numbers to a new provider.
- 23% require a way to automatically log calls in various business-critical apps.
- 23% are looking for visual voicemail and voicemail subscriptions.
- 23% want local, international, and toll-free phone numbers on demand for customer-facing teams to use.
- 16% need the ability to send and receive eFaxes.
It’s evident from the RingCentral report that enterprises will continue to invest in phone communication because employees and customers prefer it. While traditional systems are still widely used, more companies are choosing cloud-based phone systems to accommodate a hybrid workforce and to have more flexibility in the future.