COVID-19

In-app voice calls deliver on surging demand for audio communication

Sarang Paramhans
Sarang Paramhans Product Marketer
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The humble phone call seems almost like an analog form of communication today. With real-time video chat and text messaging, audio communications have drifted to the sidelines. Enter 2020, and audio is making a significant comeback.

Internally and across the board, audio communication is steadily rising. We’ve seen a spike in our customers’ in-app voice calls, which establish a personal connection to quickly accomplish small tasks. But actual phone calls and other audio communication are rising, too.

What’s causing this rise, and what does it mean for you and your business?

Auditory conversations make a comeback

You don’t need us to tell you that we’re in a transitional time in history. As our entire society has been physically separated, our need to feel connected to one another has grown exponentially. While we might meme and tweet about how we only want to be texted, it turns out that might not be the case.

Auditory communication is fundamental to feeling connected. During our current, socially-distant reality, hearing someone’s voice and deciphering subtle pitch changes are crucial requirements for meeting our social needs, behavioral scientists have found. We need to hear other peoples’ voices to feel connected.  

This need for audio connectedness might explain the recent surge in phone calls. Since the beginning of the pandemic, phone usage has increased more than internet usage has. In April, Verizon reported that it was handling 800 million calls each day, and total call time was up by 33%. (For context, that’s twice as many calls as there are on a typical Mother’s Day – one of the busiest calling days of the year.)

AT&T also had similar surges: mobile calls have increased by 35%, and wi-fi calls have doubled since the beginning of the pandemic.

Increased audio communication isn’t limited to phone calls. Even pre-pandemic, our interest in podcasts and audiobooks was growing as a society. Enter COVID-19 and, like most things entertainment, global podcast listens have soared by 42%.

Our desire to hear other people talk doesn’t stop there. The new audio-only app, Clubhouse, allows users to listen to audio talks in different virtual rooms. It’s like, “a mashup of listening to a podcast while scrolling through your Twitter feed and attending a conference remotely.”

The app’s endorsements are growing, and it’s already valued at $100 million, although it only launched to 1,500 beta users at the beginning of this year.

Evidently, as a collective, we’re yearning for more audio connectivity, but what does this mean for organizations?

In-app voice calls bridge the gap

Audio communication comes with many benefits, cutting down on miscommunication across the board. Think about how painstaking it can be trying to make sure that your text-only communication has the right context. (Should I add an emoji? Another exclamation point?)

We can easily differentiate between sincerity and humor in a phone call, whereas doing so in a text or email can be problematic. In a business environment, context can be a difference-maker in deals, sales, and partnerships.

Clear intention isn’t the only benefit, though. 

Audio conversations are crucial for consumer businesses because they help reduce transaction time and provide an easier experience for customers. Parties can quickly establish a personal connection to get small tasks done quickly over an audio call, from telling the delivery person how to find the back door, to confirming your medical data with a healthcare professional, or explaining to a plumber where the leak is. 

Brief audio calls at the point of need can help us all move faster and be more productive and efficient in our daily exchanges. Many companies offer live chat and web interactions as a primary point of contact, which are useful for fielding easy-to-answer questions – and they’re typically everyone’s first choice for a quick resolution. But the ability to escalate to a brief call is invaluable and can help avoid an exchange of hundreds of messages and mounting frustration on both sides. If a customer can easily click over to an audio call with a support rep to ask how to get that new gadget working in real time, the ease of communication is worth its weight in gold from a customer experience perspective. 

It’s time to rethink audio communication and enable different parties to contact each other directly within your system, whether you’re a marketplace, healthcare organization, on-demand service, social community, or in a different sector entirely. Building audio calling capabilities into your system through in-app voice calls should be a part of your strategy to serve both employees and customers better.

Integrating in-app voice calls

Incorporating in-app voice calls into your existing platform makes it easy for customers to engage with the click of a button. Even better, Sendbird’s voice chat API makes it possible for you to incorporate in-app calls quickly with little effort.

Our voice chat SDK allows for rapid time to market so you don’t miss out on higher customer engagement potential. Adding in-app voice calls to your existing platform shouldn’t take months to do. We can get in-app voice calls integrated in a matter of weeks using our voice chat API and SDK service – an efficient alternative to building your own voice chat solution in-house.

Give your customers the option of audio calls in one streamlined experience. Learn more about how we simplify in-app voice calls for organizations across the globe.