The return of

the Telephone

22 July 2022

In 2018, Captivate appointed Gartner to conduct research into the future of the telephone (voice) channel in importance to business and sales. Our goal was to obtain some guidance as to whether the message on hold or music on hold would have relevance in the digital age.

Gartner researchers informed Captivate Connect that at that time 72% of sales involved a human voice.  We know that in Australia the market penetration of message on hold in businesses was close to 50%, in the USA it was a lot less and in the UK music on hold was more popular though several dynamic message on hold providers were growing that market. The Gartner research indicated that the percentage of transactions on the phones would drop to 70% in a few years and settle at an estimated 68%. They concluded that while the percentage was going to be lower, the importance of telephone calls were on the increase.  

With businesses focussing budgets on digital, bots and such like, the voice channel remains the single most used channel for business and sales. The introduction of IP telephony has reduced costs of running your voice systems, the adoption of IVRs for press 1 for sales etc has reduced telephonists switching calls. These cost savings have been reallocated. Use just $5000 to improve the customer journey inside your business.

Why is the title the ‘Return’ of the Telephone?

I have just read this great book!

It is a great read (or listen) for business leaders, sales people and anyone who wants to learn how to be a better communicator. One of its early chapter uncovers the “E-Wall”, which is built by people not wanting to make a decision or listen to a persuasive argument as to why they should look at product. The book is great and it teaches good communicators that the E-Wall is put up regularly to hinder you making sales!  Sales people are a persistent bunch, their lifeblood and egos are at stake here, so this book tells them about the E-Wall and how to go around it.  Buy the book for the complete solution however part of the solution involves the Human Voice, be it face to face (which is harder than ever), the telephone or video conference. 

Every good leader and salesperson needs to learn better ways to influence people. Every man and woman needs to improve their influencing skills. 

One great example in the book is to go home tonight and ask your spouse to imagine they are in the future 3 months and telling their best friend that they are at having the best time ever in their relationship with you. Then ask them – what you did and what you did together – in that 3 months to make them so happy the relationship was at a peak. 

I asked my wife that this month and she booked an international flight for a 3 month holiday without me.  Whatever it takes to make them happy.

Music or messages on hold?

The average time spent on hold is 49 seconds. This varies by business however if we consider that 80% of callers wait 49 seconds – that is a lot of time wasted listening to music on hold. When you decide to make your customer wait – ask them what type of music they want to hear. Is it Greensleeves and many Telcos used to install? Better still give the waiting caller a choice to select their preferred Music On Hold. Clever copywriting and professional production can allow you to use this wait time to educate and inform callers with messages on hold.

Back to business – with the rise in use of the human voice call your customers will be forced to wait On Hold. Invest $2000 a year in an Interactive system that can ‘speak’ to your customers, allow the waiting caller to select their own music to listen to while waiting or play a quiz with them while they wait, send them a brochure digitally and invite a call back if they become impatient.

For a customised sample of the Interactive Captivate Connect call waiting service contact see or email

Categories: Uncategorised