Ooma, Inc., a smart communications platform for businesses and consumers, announced the results of a survey1 commissioned to discover consumers’ preferred method for communicating with local businesses. In this study, Ooma surveyed 500 people each from four different generations: Baby Boomer (55-75 years old), Gen X (40-54 years old), Millennial (25-39 years old) and Gen Z (4-24 years old). Overall, the survey findings show that across the board, all generations are seeking a human to human connection, preferring in person and phone calls over any other method of communication – largely driven by speed and accuracy of speaking to a real person when it’s important.
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Most notably, the survey busts a common myth about Gen Z. Viewed as the most digitally connected generation so far, Gen Z has a reputation for avoiding phone conversations and solely communicating through texting and social media apps. The survey indicates Gen Z, with an estimated purchasing power of $153 billion a year2, overwhelmingly prefers the phone and face-to-face contact when it comes to important interactions with local businesses. When given the option, Gen Z will choose a direct, personal conversation over all other means of communication.
- Authentic, human contact prevails: 57% of respondents prefer phone calls over electronic communication when dealing with local businesses. 35% of Gen Zers specifically said this is due to the speed and efficiency of phone conversations as compared to texting and social media.
- A phone call is key in professional situations: Phone calls are the most preferred when contacting service professionals, including doctors, dentists and other health care professionals, hair and beauty salons, auto centers and legal and tax services.
- Social media is least favored: Only 17% of Gen Zers like to communicate with local businesses over social media. Among them, 30% say it is impersonal and 35% claim slow responses to inquiries.
- Email is geared toward Baby Boomers: Email is more often a preferred method of communication for Baby Boomers, while Gen Z prefers email the least.
- Gen Z prefers human contact for booking hotels: 47% of Gen Zers choose to call a local hotel, compared to just 8% who would want to text with them, and 8% who’d communicate with them over social media.
“Despite Gen Z’s reputation for being glued to texting, tweeting and Instagramming on their devices, Ooma’s survey has shown that this generation, along with all others surveyed, drastically prefer to handle both urgent and day to day communications through their phone,” said Ken Narita, director of business marketing at Ooma. “Phone conversations provide an authentic experience that allows for quick actions and solutions, and it’s clear that local businesses need to offer a clear way for people to reach them and communicate in this preferred method.”
Ooma helps small- and mid-sized businesses make human connections through Ooma Office, a cloud-based phone service available at a straightforward fee of $19.95 a month per user with no contract required. Customers have their choice of hardware – conventional analog phones, IP phones, or virtual service through the Office for Mobile app, or any combination of the three. Advanced features such as a virtual receptionist, ring groups, call parking and extension monitoring give businesses the tools they need to avoid missed calls and get customers to the right person as fast as possible.
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