“Business calls are dead ”, I’ve heard the phrase a million times, still today over 77 billion calls are made to B2B and B2C businesses regarding support, sales, inquiries and more. An article on Vanity Fair emphasizes this, but I disagree, at least when it comes to implementing phone calls in a customer’s life cycle.
With data driven communication channels like text messaging and chat applications, one would argue calls are not needed anymore. But, even today phone calls are as important as they were in the past, and maybe even more.
According to a recent survey by Invoca, phone calls increases the chances to convert by 30-50% compared to chances over web and email which is just 3%. That’s a staggering difference.
Each customer is different. In spite of what your offerings may be, a single conversation can give you a lot more insight than multiple conversations via other media.
Getting a prospective customer to spend a few minutes of their time speaking to you requires a lot of work from your end. Their interaction with your service or product before you speak to them needs to be hugely positive.
How can you make a phone number a part of a customer’s journey.
How can you generate interest which makes the customer pick up the phone and dial. Before we do that, a little something about phone calls and how it’s faring out in the market.
Phone calls are still alive and kicking
According to a report by Marchex , phone calls made to B2B and B2C industries in the last calendar year was about 77 billion itself (That’s a lot of calls in one year). Not just this, the report also expects that there will be 169 billion calls made by 2019 in the same segment.
The report suggest that phone calls are still way better than the newer sales and support channels (live chats, tickets etc). Conversions and sales garnered from phone calls all over the world was more than $300 million in 2014. That’s just the world average, when a market where phone calls are perfectly implemented is measured, it’s much more. For example, The market analysis in USA shows that sales and conversion transactions as a whole is projected to cross $1 trillion mark in 2015.
The one reason telephonic conversation seems like the goto option to get the job done is you feel more confident while making a purchase or reporting an issue. It also gives you a better idea of how a company functions.
So how do you get phone calls in the customer lifecycle loop?
Make sure your customers know how to reach you
It feels going off-the-track when you introduce something that takes a customer off the product-cycle. Making a phone call is an out-of-the-loop action taken for a service or product that supposed to be a one-loop solution. But phone calls is needed to make that human connection, garner that trust between you and your customers.
So it’s important at times to promote a customer facing phone number wherever it seems possible.
Here are some tips to maximize visibility of your customer facing phone number.
- Add it to your homepage, before the first fold. But remember it should be non-obtrusive to the customers.
- Add it to the top performing pages on your website.
- Keep playing with the placement, maybe do an A/B test from time to time to figure out which placement works the best for you.
- Add your phone number in every email as a part of your signature.
- Add an optional phone number field in your sign up page. Use these phone numbers and drive SMS and call campaigns from time to time to generate interest.
While we assume that this is something that is relevant only for Indian companies (well, we do like to talk), most international brands do this as well.
Add Call to action buttons on your Mobile App
Mobile app adoption rates are off the chart these days. There are more mobile users that are using the internet over desktop or personal computer users (52% over 48% desktop users) and we expect the rate to grow exponentially over the foreseeable future.
The very first advantage is that, that today maximum purchases made over mobile applications are done by Millennials. Now, reports suggest that Millennials are most likely to use click-to-call feature when a service is requested.
Another advantage is, when a customer is using a mobile app he or she is more likely to convert than a generic user over a PC. There is 4x chance to get a customer to convert if there is click to call button in a mobile search or a mobile app.
Track what drives these call activities
It does not just end with promoting your phone number blindly. Once you have a working strategy at place, it’s time to optimize your implementations, and here is where tracking comes in place.
Here’s what Hubspot says:
- The top pages generating the highest amount of calls from your website.
- The services that generate the most calls to your support/sales team and promote those services more as well as improve them simultaneously.
- Track down which source gets you the highest amount of calls like referral sources, marketing campaigns or organic leads.
- The age-group that reaches out to you and come up with a marketing strategy to get more people onboard.
- Trend in call duration, what days of the week you get the highest amount of calls.
- Regions and geographic locations you get the most calls.
I might have missed out on some metrics, feel free to add more points here as you feel fit.
Once tracking is implemented, it’s time to optimize
You have the data, you know what are driving these calls. What now?
For instance if you have a lot of calls from south India, say for instance Tamil Nadu, you should have more recruits who speak the same dialect as the customer. This will help in making the human connection mentioned above over a phone call between the brand and the customer.
And this is something we do at Exotel ourselves. You can read more about how we route calls based on the customer’s location.
Other instance is where you find out which are the services that are popular among your customer/user base. Knowing what the majority of your customers need, will allow to implement new ideas. It can be a landing page speaking about the popular services, it can be promoted in your email newsletter and more.
And sometimes you need to reach out
We at Exotel thrive on phone calls. Each and every client that we have today has talked to us over a phone call at least once.
For us it’s about building trust, making a customer feel special, serving them as if they were a member of our family and we feel speaking to them is one the ways to we can nurture such values within our organization.
Phone calls promote as well reinforce the relationship between the company and the potential client by increasing contact points with the customers.
Reaching out to customers boosts your branding. For instance calling a customer for a feedback makes them feel valued, gives them an outlook that the organization is concerned about their requirements. It demonstrates that you take your quality very seriously. And in the long run you start building a brand over service quality.
Look at how Amazon India works. After a product delivery, Amazon always makes sure that things at their end was up to the mark. Amazon has a very low delivery failure/error rate. All their deliveries are perfect. Honestly they don’t need to reach out for feedback, but from time to time their representative will contact you to learn how your experience was. This strategy is a way to ensure that the customer felt special due to a warm feedback call and in the end building a brand value that makes the customer coming back for future purchase.
A small gesture like this benefitted both parties, one, the organization gets more customers and I am ensured that it’s a service or a product that I can trust.
There are innumerous ways of driving calls and implementing it into a customer’s journey with your company. The data that you collected and the way to tackle the data, will help you build a smarter inbound sales strategy. The next time someone calls you up, you will know how to keep the customer glued to you.
Here is Invoca’s web presentation that inspired us. Click to read.