When the ecommerce boom was first firing up, it was easy to assume that every transaction could be completed online. Brick-and-mortar stores would be shuttered and the thought of customers picking up the phone to place an order seemed as likely as the Sears catalog making a comeback. Phone numbers were intentionally buried on websites to keep customers clicking and so dollars could go to digital instead of the call center. Then the mobile revolution came and flipped this thinking on its ear.

It turns out that downtown shopping districts weren’t reduced to desolate wastelands by online shopping. Perhaps more surprising is how mobile search has made the phone call more important to businesses than ever. Consumers do a great deal of research online, but when it comes time to get more specific questions answered or make a large purchase or investment, they’re going to pick up the phone. Which, conveniently enough, is already in their hands. Here’s why you want to keep them on the line.

Provide Instant Gratification

When a customer wants a question answered quickly, they’re more likely to pick up the phone than punch tiny touchscreen buttons to fill out a form. In a world where instant gratification is the only option, it’s no surprise that consumers want to call business to get immediate answers. According to research from Invoca, more than twice as many people prefer to contact a business via the phone than an online form. In fact, 75% of consumers say a phone call is the quickest way to get a response.

If you’re still hesitant to make it easy for your customers to call, you should be prepared to lose them to the competition. A survey of 3,000 U.S. smartphone users, conducted by IPSOS and Google, shows that 47 percent of mobile search users said they would “explore other brands” if they didn’t quickly find phone numbers. You can capitalize on this by making it easy for consumers to call from mobile channels by making sure click-to-call buttons are a central part of your mobile strategy.

To Build Personal Relationships

When an actual human is able to help a customer solve a problem or answer complicated questions, it’s going to give them a more positive view of your company than even the best online experience can. Think about the last time you called a business and a friendly person was able to solve your problem—you probably hung up with a smile on your face and remembered the experience for a long time.

On the flip side, a bad experience on the phone will also leave a lasting impression on your customers, and not the kind you want. Whether it’s an endless phone tree, asking the same questions over and over, or repeated transfers, there are many ways to drop the ball on a call.

Your customers expect you to know everything about them, so need a 360-degree view of them to make sure their call is routed to right person the first time. A highly personalized caller experience assures that your customers hang up happy and that your conversion rates are higher.

People who Call are More Likely to Convert

Once somebody has decided to call your business, much of their online research is likely complete and they are getting closer to making a purchase. We have found that calls across industries last nearly 5 minutes, indicating these are high quality calls that are likely turning into customers. We don’t say “calls are the new clicks” for nothing—phone calls have 30 to 50 percent conversion rates compared to only 1 to 2 percent for clicks.

Calls Provide Valuable Customer Data

When high-intent customers call it’s not just time to get the sale, it’s your best opportunity to figure out what makes conversions happen. When you have someone on the phone, they are revealing detailed information about what drove them to make a purchase decision, from their interests and preferences, to information about where they live and how likely they are to make a purchase. There is also a treasure trove of digital data that can show what digital campaigns and keywords are driving people to call, that is, if you’re looking for it.

If you are spending money on digital campaigns to drive calls without any insight into what is happening on the phone, you’re only seeing half of the picture. It’s like dumping your marketing budget into AdWords without ever checking Google Analytics. Call intelligence technology is a must-have to optimize your advertising spend, increase conversions, and deliver more relevant marketing messages based on calls and to provide a seamless experience for your customers when they go from digital to the phone.

Owen Ray

Posted by Owen Ray

Owen Ray is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Invoca. Prior to that, he worked with SaaS companies like Aria Systems, Glassdoor, and Mindjet. Owen sharpened his writing tools at San Francisco State University and Bay Area newspapers before working his way into the Silicon Valley creative services set. He hails from Petaluma, California and definitely does not leave work early on Wednesdays to go drag racing at Sonoma Raceway.

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