There is no question that the internet has revolutionized business. Many people are not only paying their bills online but also ordering products and services at an ever expanding rate as well. Businesses with a web presence have opened themselves up to a new market where many consumers take advantage of the ease of shopping from pages visually no different from a catalogue. Despite all that has changed in the last ten years, most companies that do business over distance and do not rely on local storefronts still see a large majority of their business come from the telephone. Several years ago, many business forecasters were predicting that the internet would have eclipsed the phone as the marketplace of choice by now. So why hasn’t that been the case?
There are two primary reasons why the telephone will always be necessary to consumer sales oriented businesses. The first is that while it is getting harder and harder to find a person who does not have a personal computer at their disposal, either at work or at home; it is practically impossible to find a person without a telephone. The second is about human interaction. Many people prefer to order from a person over the telephone. That issue in itself may have to do with perceived notions of security and fraud risk, personalized and efficient customer service, or simply the desire for human confirmation that a transaction has taken place. In any case, some businesses have gone to great lengths in recent years to become a major presence in their industry on the world wide web while neglecting to update their antiquated phone systems. What companies need to realize is that while web-based business will result in an overall sales increase as a result of consumers who use the internet as their primary marketplace, it will not do so at the loss of phone business if a capable phone system is in place. Keeping a phone system up to date and ready to handle customer volume should be a top priority for any business.