Phone Call vs. Chat – Is There a Winner?

Branimir author

Branimir Hrženjak

Content Writer

⏱ Reading Time: 9 minutes

Are you communicating via Viber, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, maybe something else– or just plain phone call? There have never been so many ways to get in touch with another human being, yet it seems we grew apart.

People communicate through the channels that are most convenient for them. And while some may prefer the immediacy of a phone call, others like to have the comfort of writing an email, adding and deleting parts of the text without hurry and without worry that they’ll say something that they’ll regret. So is it phone call vs chat or phone call AND chat what we’ll be seeing in the future?

🚀Read: Chatbot: What Is It and How to Build One🚀

As there is no perfect solution which would meet everyone’s expectations, and no clear winner,  we bring you a list of advantages and disadvantages of a phone call and chat, so you can decide who wins in the phone call vs chat battle.

Evolution of Live Chat

Comparing a phone call to chat, you’ll find that both have irreversibly evolved in the past decade. Enghouse Interactive wrote a compelling report about the evolution of contact centers, from white paper and calls to the future of chat communication. Dealing with a similar issue, Global Contact Centre benchmarking report states that:

“People want to engage with companies in a way which is familiar to them. So solution design needs to be framed around how they work, live, and connect with the world around them. The complexity of providing customers with a connected journey that frequently spans multiple channels. That including Internet, web chat, social media, and phone – requires greater capability and understanding.”

This speaks volumes and confirms the continued evolution and drastic changes made to different communication channels over the years. In the traditional sense, users usually just picked up the phone to call a company’s support center.

This changed with new and emerging communication channels, mobile apps, and cloud services. Social networks and webchat became the number one choice for users when it comes to contacting a customer support service. Today, more than 40% of people expect live chat on the page. According to Sproutsocial 90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand. And what is more, chatting on social platforms is the first contact option for 34.5% of people. This means that an increasing number of users don’t pick up the phone and call, except as a last resort solution.

Pros and Cons

Chat is the way of achieving desired service outcomes, although the phone call has its benefits. Most importantly, this involves a much faster understanding of the consumer’s message. How many of your calls last less than a minute? Even when taking into account the growth of mobile technology and the development of different kinds of mobile devices, the number of minutes spent on the phone is continuously decreasing. Chat is a great solution for customers because online chat solutions allow customers direct access to help, wherever in the world they currently are. In addition, users can multitask while waiting for an agents’ response. Same goes for the agents, who can browse for supporting information while chatting with a customer without having to mute them or put on some kind of boring waiting room music as they would do on phone call.


Picture 1. Live chat has the highest customer satisfaction rate

When we compare phone call vs chat, the downside of chat communication is that it lacks emotion, or at least it may get misinterpreted. Another thing that may bother you when using chat is the speed of writing. Even though it is faster than regular emails, it still lacks the fluidity of a spoken word. Some people, especially the older population, will have a harder time typing things than talking to an operator, thus the problem that occurred will be resolved quicker and easier. Also, agents may start copying and pasting replies to customer inquiries without completely understanding the customer’s needs and updating the template answer to deliver more personal experience.

Evolution of the Phone Call

People claim that chat is only an evolved form of phone calls. This is true when we look at services like Viber, Skype, and Facebook. Even then, Facebook supports audio and video calls, but almost no one uses them. Why? Largely because of millennials. Disliking phone calls, millennials prefer to chat, text and instant message. Looking at platforms like Facebook, chatting will always be the first option for its users. This says a lot about the success of chat as the primary channel of communication.

Millennials have a deep appreciation for their time and don’t want to waste it. The last thing they want is to buy a product or service, and then spend hours waiting for a response or assistance. They’re digital nomads and many of them are used to working with smartphones or laptops, home or abroad. Time matters – that is the main reason for using chat services.


Picture 2. Usage of chat by age

In his article about live chat demographics, Craig Borowski states that:

“Younger people (ages 18 to 34) are more likely to have used live chat “once,” “a few” or “many times,” while older people (aged 55 and over) are more likely to have “never used” live chat, or to have used it without success (meaning, they were unsuccessful in getting their question answered).”

Pros and Cons

Although millennials love to use chat, the foundation of customer support centers still remains a phone call.  They enable direct contact and two-sided communication, which is still valuable when attempting to resolve an issue effectively. However, a long time spent waiting in line for someone to take your call, or being put on hold can easily lead to customer frustration rather than the feeling of accomplishment. As we said before, it is difficult to read emotions through written communication. This is the field where call support gives the greatest guidance for operators in reading and handling customer emotions.  The tone of voice, attitude, and urgency in a customer’s voice are just some of the signs that can help an agent adjust the approach to the customer’s emotional status and communication form.

When we think about what’s better in phone call vs chat dilemma, as said earlier in the text, people speak faster than they write, Phone conversations can be handled quickly and easily, with the right scripts that include frequently asked questions as well as scenarios that often occur in facing problems. Despite everything, phone calls are still the quickest way for customers to ask a question and get the support they need. This allows customers to follow step-by-step guidance from operators and give instant feedback

Benefits of Using Real-Time Chat

Less frustration

Chat removes the frustration of a customer waiting for an answer – it’s instant. Waiting can be removed completely because the immediate feedback keeps the customer from leaving the chat while waiting for answers.

Reduced costs

Chat reduces the cost of telephone bills and consistently proves it can save the time it takes the agent to solve customer problems. Increased efficiency allows agents to handle multiple conversations at the same time, which means reducing the need to hire more of intermediaries for the company.

It’s easier to write than to speak

It’s easier to explain something in writing because you can edit the text. You have time to think about your words. Chat solves the problem of a misunderstanding of what a person is saying. For example, Viber is a great solution for chatting with customers. It offers public chat for communication between customers and companies. In a similar manner, using Facebook for business is a great way to communicate with your users directly.

Related: Live Chat for Business Guide

Improved customer service

Comm100 Live chat says that using chat to improve customer service and loyalty is helping companies to get a better understanding of customers.


Picture 3. Using live chat, email, and phone

„With numbers like these, it’s easy to see why customers return to businesses that provide live chat. Simply put, customers feel more confident doing business with companies that make support easy, hassle free and instantaneous. “ – Kevin Gao, Com100.

Finally, chat gives the power to users. It provides an easy way to talk and helps to provide immediate assistance.

Today’s communication is precisely developed for short messages with friends, family, co-workers, and the trend has just transferred to business talks. Companies are happy because chat is a trend, and it allows them to connect with multiple users at the same time. Talking with five users at once takes less time than telephone interviews with five users, which must be carried out one by one. Customers are always online, and they are increasingly impatient.

Using chat is excellent for the first contact with users and offers support for customers answers and queries. The very nature of the phone puts it at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with people, as it takes a lot of time and workforce.


Evolved chat apps

Chat apps like WhatsApp and Viber are used for “evolved” calls. Communication via these apps includes both audio and video, which is great for users because everything is available in one place. Also, WhatsApp and Viber support a variety of platforms, not just iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. They also support traditional phone ones, such as Nokia S40 and S60.

AI in customer service

Inclusion of AI in customer service is one arising trend that shows a lot of potential. Companies can reduce their operational costs with the use of chatbots if they use them right. While this trend is promising, companies need to stay on top of customer service trends as AI is still not capable to resolve all different scenarios that modern customers give. Also, many customers will rather chat with a human agent, just to have a personal touch.

Phone call vs. Chat: Conclusion

The development of new technologies has contributed to the evolution of chatting, and the phone call took a secondary role. Development of new communication channels and social networks provide users with more freedom in choosing the appropriate channels for communication with companies when it comes to responding to current user demands. 

The millennials are increasingly choosing chat as an optimal communication channel, which proves that phone calls are slowly becoming history. It’s easy to use and provides effective results. Chat history ensures that users don’t have to worry about forgetting what they agreed to, and don’t have to remember all the answers they got over the phone. Has chat killed the phone call or is the phone call still alive? Who won the phone call vs chat battle?

Whichever the outcome, companies shouldn’t forget the omnichannel approach and be able to provide the best customer experience no matter the channel.

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Phone Call vs. Chat – Is There a Winner? was last modified: June 12th, 2021 by Suzana
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