Zoom may be seen as an increasingly popular platform, but Brits would still rather keep personal interactions with family and friends to their mobile phone and WhatsApp applications, according to research from Maintel, a specialist in communications technology.
Contacting parents for a catch-up call or a lockdown family quiz via Zoom will be a short-term trend influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the research suggests. Brits overwhelmingly said they would prefer not to use the platform for personal one-to-one calls.
Just 2% of Brits want to be contacted by either their mum or dad on Zoom, the research reveals – this is despite the fact that Zoom use skyrocketed 20-fold during UK lockdown, according to figures from Ofcom.
In comparison, younger-generation Brits are more open to using the channel for business interactions. Nearly one-in-ten (9%) 18–24-year-olds want to be contacted by a business on Zoom.
This may be because they are more open to new channels that use technology that is more convenient to their lifestyle, Maintel suggests.
The survey of 2,000 Brits reveals that the ways people want to stay in touch are changing. It revealed differences between the way people want to interact with businesses and their family, and how communication methods are evolving among different generations.
Mum’s on Mobile
While Brits may be reluctant to speak to their parents on Zoom, the use of mobile and WhatsApp has continued to boom. On the flipside, the landline has continued its steady decline.
Only a minority of Brits still use a landline to contact their family and friends, preferring to use their mobile instead. Maintel’s survey found eight-in-ten (79%) people had used their mobile phone to make a personal call within the last week.
By contrast, the traditional landline had only been used by 37% of people, and 36% claim to never use it at all.
When speaking to family specifically, just 11% of people want their mum to call on the landline, and that figure drops to just 9% for dads.
Brits would far rather use mobile or WhatsApp when it comes to catching up with a parent on a call, with 44% preferring to be contacted by their mum on mobile and 15% on WhatsApp.
By contrast, there is very little appetite for children to engage with their parents on social media – only 7% want to speak to their mum on Facebook and 6% to their dads.
|How do people want their parents to call?|
When broken down by age, the change in communication methods is even more pronounced. For example, nearly three-quarters (72%) of 18–24-year-olds want to be contacted by their mum via mobile but only 5% will use a landline.
Landline remains a favourite with 45–54-year-olds – with 20% percent still choosing this as a preferred method to be contacted by their mum – but mobile is the most popular with this age bracket too, but with only 46% citing it as the preferred channel.
Brits Expect More Formal Contact From Businesses
In addition to exploring people’s communication preferences for personal interactions, the research also looked at consumer expectations when interacting with a business. It reveals who they want to speak to, how they do it, and what channels they prefer.
While there is growing use of mobile and social tools like WhatsApp for personal conversations, some Brits are still clinging on to the use of the landline for calls with businesses. The research revealed that nearly a fifth of Brits still expect business enquiries to be handled on the landline.
This may suggest that for certain customer enquiries, consumers prefer a more formal approach, with social media or mobile communication reserved for personal interactions.
How People Want Businesses to Call?
- Mobile – 48%
- Landline – 18%
- WhatsApp – 5%
- Zoom – 5%
- Facebook Messenger – 3%
- Snapchat – 2%
- Facetime – 2%
- Instagram – 1%
The research suggests that, for now at least, people are satisfied with resolving most business issues and queries over the phone. However, in the same way that our personal communication habits have evolved in recent years, we can also expect this to change over time with social and digital channels increasing in use.
Rufus Grig, CSO at Maintel, said: “It is clear that the way people communicate with family, friends, and businesses is changing. British consumers currently prefer more traditional channels when it comes to businesses interactions, rather than the informal social channels they reserve for siblings and friends.
“However, this is likely to change dramatically over the course of the next decade, and businesses must be prepared for conversations to shift towards newer digital and social channels. The fact that one-in-ten younger generation Brits aged between 18 and 24 are now keen to be contacted by a business via Zoom is a reflection of that.”
“One thing that’s clear is that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Businesses must spend time building their understanding of British customers to deliver engagement when people want, on the channels they want.”
Independent research carried out by 3Gem Research and Insights with an online survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted in September 2020.
Maintel’s research report “Communications Re-imagined: It’s time for business to get the message that technology is changing the way we communicate” can be downloaded here.