Digital MarketingPhone calls are making a comeback. Is your business ready?

Phone calls are making a comeback. Is your business ready?

In moments of need, consumers pick up the phone to get the information they're looking for. Why are phone calls one area where businesses barely track data?

As a millennial, I’m supposed to hate phone calls, and to be honest, for the most part, I do. My mother and I talk about our days via Facebook messenger. My father texts me photos of cool birds he sees. However, last summer I was on a road trip and there was a problem with my credit card. I checked my account online and couldn’t figure out the issue. There was a chat button in the lower right hand corner, but I didn’t want to talk to a bot. I needed answers immediately.

So I picked up the phone. Ten minutes later, my issue was resolved, and I was back on my merry way.

In many cases, the issue is not that we don’t want to talk on the phone to businesses. The issue is that we want that phone call to be productive. We want to buy something. We want accurate information, or our issue resolved. In other words, we’re only telephoneophobes until we need something. However, unlike causal clicks or social media impressions, a phone call is much more likely to mean customers are serious about a service or product. So why are phone calls the one area where businesses are barely collecting any data?

Content produced in collaboration with ResponseTap.

Phone calls aren’t going away anytime soon

While some naysayers claim phone calls are on the way out, in reality we’re seeing the opposite. According to Wired, some “teens and young adults are ready to change how they communicate,” and that means they’re no longer scared of the phone.

In fact, it seems the opposite narrative is true: top businesses are realizing that phone calls are a crucial way to reach customers. Calls to businesses from smartphones are projected to reach 162 billion by 2019.

On top of that, phone calls can oftentimes be the most effective way of connecting with consumers. Particularly when consumers are on the move, using mobile and local search, a phone call delivers what they want most: accurate information, right now. Google found that 69% of search users are likely to call from within mobile search results.

Giving customers an easy way to call you could boost sales, especially as phone calls come back into fashion. According to HubSpot, calls convert up to 10 times higher than clicks.

But if the phone starts ringing, businesses need to know what led that customer to that call, in order to best earn the conversions.

Data-based insight for marketers to optimize campaigns

A study by Google found that 59% of customers are calling to get an answer, and 57% are calling to talk to a real person. Businesses need to be absolutely sure that if they’re inviting customers to call, they’ve got a specialist picking up the phone ready to address their concerns.

More and more, customers pick up the phone not to speak with a contact center agent, but rather a specialist consultant. Happily, a future where inbound calls can be routed to the best person to take that call isn’t far away.

Giving customers a quick and easy way to call and then providing quick, spot-on answers is just the beginning, however. The humble phone call is actually a goldmine of valuable data that can be used for further campaign optimization.

Call analytics can improve your marketing

For example, ResponseTap, a company that works with brands like Virgin Money, gives businesses important data about the entire customer journey–from the time they land on the website through all subsequent calls and visits, from first click to last click and everywhere in between.

Call data is incredibly valuable for attribution–businesses can see in real time which channels are driving calls. Say a customer first clicks on a PPC ad and then, two days later returns via a social media ad, calls and converts–PPC gets first click attribution and social gets last. These insights can help prove how much keywords are really worth.

ResponseTap also offers a solution called Smart Match that can be used for outcome tracking, so you can add call outcomes to your reports and easily discover which marketing sources are driving your highest value phone sales. From there, you can optimize campaigns based on revenue or profit generated from each campaign and report an accurate ROI.

Human relationships aren’t going away

The reality is, when we need information or are serious about a purchase, most of us are very ready to pick up the phone. The key for marketers is being able to know which campaigns, channels, and keywords are driving those phone calls, so we can be ready to turn those calls into conversions the minute we pick up the line.

If you want to learn more about call tracking optimization, don’t miss ResponseTap’s new report “Call tracking comes of age.”

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