This week we will witness two interesting events, at first glance totally unrelated, but in fact a great example of the technologically advanced age we are living in today.
The first is Telia, the once-upon-a-time incumbent telephony company in Sweden, which is now decommissioning the last set of its' public telephone booths. This marks the end of an over 120-year long era of landline calling that culminated in the mid 80’s, just around the same time as mobile phones entered into the market. Hardly portable at the time, mobile phones quickly began to affect everyone's daily life and today I think it's fair to say that we can see the outcome of that development. Sorry Superman and Mr. Bond, you’ll need to look for something else from now on! RIP phone booths, you were good fun in the 90’s when we used you for various pranks.
The second one is Google, a company founded more than 100 years after the first telephone booth was ever set up. They will now change their ranking system overnight and rank websites that are mobile-friendly over the ones that are not, in the mobile search domain. They are clearly sending a signal to all those who have not made their website mobile-friendly, 'now is the time to act'. As a frequent smartphone user I can just say, "well played Google!"
I spend quite a sizeable part of my daily life commuting between home and work. Sitting on that bus with 30 other people who are all looking down at their smartphones, you really don’t need to be working in the field of space exploration to understand that people have gone mobile. Many are not just playing games or checking the weather, they are also calling to make appointments, getting that leaking sink fixed or arranging for that haircut they haven’t had time for yet.
Our figures tell us that calls made by mobile phones to businesses have increased more than 30% over just the past 2 years. Looking at the ratio between calls made by landlines and mobile phones, mobile calls are now clearly taking over. This wasn’t the case a few years ago.
For business owners out there it’s dead simple. Either embrace that people are finding you on their handheld devices or stay in your lane, put on your hat and watch competitors overtake. Also, don’t forget that the most native thing consumers can do with their smartphone still in 2015 is.... 'drumroll'.. call you! Consumers want to talk with you, so don’t think of your call center as a cost center, instead take advantage of intelligent tools to make your consumers perceive you as a business that plays along with the way the world works today and treat them with the respect they deserve.
Remember, thanks to the likes of the phone booth, they are just doing the most natural thing one can do these days - Call!