SANTA BARBARA, CA: People use the call function on their smartphones more often than sending emails, updating social media, watching videos or using maps, according to a new survey.

Invoca, the call intelligence company, surveyed more than 2,000 US adults to assess their relationship with their mobile devices – how, when, and why they are using them and what this means for businesses – for its State of the Mobile Experience Report.

It found that the two most-used smartphone functions – across all age groups – were calling and messaging.

And while Millennials are often regarded as being a digital-first generation, 37% of this age group said they make calls more than five times a day, a higher proportion than the survey average of 33%.

Along with other demographics, they often prefer to contact a business with a call rather than emailing, filling out online forms or using social media, not least because they want a quick answer.

That impatience extends to finding a number. Half used Google or another search engine, one quarter a business's website, but one third (34%) only searched for a minute or less before moving on to another company.

These people are also often looking to express concern or get expert advice, the report said, adding that such conversations could accentuate a positive or poor customer experience.

Fully 80% of those surveyed said they were likely to become a repeat customer if they had a good experience on the phone. Conversely, 74% indicated they would likely or very likely choose another business after having a poor experience over the phone.

"This study shows that while nearly every other mode of communication is now available on our smartphones, we continue to value direct conversation with one another," said Kyle Christensen, VP Marketing, Invoca.

"As marketers, we often prioritise the other things consumers do on mobile such as email, display, search and social. But you can't be truly 'omnichannel' without calls – without conversations."

Data sourced from Invoca; additional content by Warc staff