Yes, Voice Communication Still Matters for Small Businesses — But There’s a Better Way

By: Marco
January 30, 2023

It’s been three intense years since the pandemic reached our shores. Most consumers — although not all — were understanding and patient when businesses struggled with supply chain issues and labor shortages. 

But…it’s been three years. Some remaining supply chain and labor issues are still understandable, but patience is running out for poor communication. And now that many experts are predicting a severe recession, a robust communication solution is perhaps one of the most important and cost-effective investments businesses can make to retain existing customers. 

And yet, many businesses that are accommodating a hybrid or remote work environment haven’t yet updated their communication tools to match, and are instead relying on a combination of email, personal cell phones, and a few other ragtag digital solutions. And their customers and stakeholders have noticed. 

That Old Landline Served an Important Purpose 

Chatbots and great FAQ sections on a website can be effective in resolving common issues, but if you are experiencing a more complex problem, there’s no better way to solve the problem than by picking up the phone and connecting with another human being. Shrug off this statistic all you want, but 77% of people still believe a phone call is the most effective way to get answers. 

Voice calling isn’t the same as an in-person meeting, but it’s far quicker than email, less frustrating than a chatbot, and when there’s a potential conflict, tone of voice goes a long, long way. Recent studies show that 38% of communication is accomplished entirely by a particular tone of voice. 

If your customer can only send you an email to resolve a more complex problem, you’re missing out on 38% of what’s going on in their minds. And when you respond, they’ll be missing out on 38% of what’s going on in yours. It’s not ideal, and leaving more complex problems to email is sending a very bad message the old-fashioned way.

Common Problems With Old-Fashioned Solutions

There’s a time and a place for email. But if you’re still relying on limited 2000s technology to handle the pace of business in 2023, your customers and business partners are likely experiencing these problems with you: 

  • Delayed responses
  • No responses at all
  • Frequent errors in communication 
  • More misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict
  • A loss of trust 
  • A relationship that feels increasingly distant

Emails are easily buried, not everyone is a good written communicator, and when you have to fit a lot more email composition into an already tight day, it’s highly likely that more careless errors will creep into your staff’s communications with clients. Add all of that up over a few years and you might start to look like you don’t care, or that preserving the relationship just isn’t important to you.

If you have neglected voice communications, and you haven’t heard any complaints lately, you might be one of the lucky few businesses that has managed to still provide excellent customer service with limited tools, or your customer base may skew younger, where phone communication isn’t always preferred for day-to-day issue resolution

But it may also mean that your customers are already considering taking their business elsewhere — to a company that makes it easy for them to find answers, solve problems, and get business done quickly. You know, like your landline once did. 

A Great Solution for Small Business Phone Systems

As technology enthusiasts, we’re certainly not advocating for any business to go back to a Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) line. They’re absolutely obsolete. But voice communication absolutely isn’t. Hosted VoIP — also known as cloud voice — gives you all of the capabilities of a traditional landline (and a few more), only with less work and less cost. 

Your customers will be able to contact you quickly by phone, and you’ll be able to handle inbound and outbound calls through a VoIP phone (or a traditional handset with a VoIP adapter) or the smart device of your choosing. It’s perfect for working remotely or while traveling. And as your personnel changes, it will be much easier to add or change lines without needing an on-site technician. 

A Better Solution for Collaborative Businesses — Unified Communications as a Service

If your teams need to communicate frequently with one another or with customers, and tracking multiple conversations or accessing information quickly is a challenge, then Unified Communications (UC) might be an even better call — if you’ll pardon the pun. 


Common UC platforms include Zoom, Webex by Cisco, and Microsoft Teams. These cloud-based platforms offer numerous benefits, including the ability to make voice calling, video meetings, scheduling, collaboration, and more seamless. 

Of course, while these platforms are relatively easy to manage — at least compared with POTS lines — that doesn’t mean they don’t require technical expertise or maintenance here and there. For most small to midsize businesses (and some larger ones as well), it makes much more sense to have those needs met by a provider, hence the “as a service” part of UCaaS. 

UCaaS for Contact Centers

1-800 numbers have largely earned their poor reputation, but the fault doesn’t lie with voice communication itself. Frustrating voice prompts, poorly trained representatives, and long wait times can all be significantly improved through better technology. 

For example, with UCaaS, agents won’t have to track conversations in multiple tabs; they’ll have access to important information they need to resolve issues quickly and effectively. And if they ever do need to escalate a call, these platforms will also let them connect with an expert in real time to solve even the most complex issue on call one. Modern contact centers can also incorporate more tools to answer some questions via a far more helpful and intuitive bot, route calls intelligently, provide call analytics, and help keep call volumes manageable.

Finding the Best Unified Communications or Business Voice Provider 

Researching this topic online can be exhausting, and the solution that works incredibly well for one organization may not suit another. And if you’re still reeling from the past few years, cut yourself some major slack. But upgrading your communications doesn’t have to be a major ordeal when you bring in the right provider. 

At Marco, our voice and communication experts will get to know your business and its goals before we make a recommendation. Where you go from there is up to you. But thanks in part to our strategic partnerships, we are an excellent choice for clients that are looking to keep costs low and customer service standards high.

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Topics: Phone & Collaboration