Put on your consumer hat for a minute—you bought a birthday gift for someone online and it arrived in eggplant purple instead of classic black and you have two days until the party. You immediately navigate to the merchant’s website and see a digital contact form, an email for sales, and a phone number. What do you do? I’m going to guess you give them a good ole’ phone call in order to fast-track a solution.
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Phone communication creates connections
Quick customer service is just one example of why the phone remains king when it comes to communicating with consumers. How are your clients communicating with their customers? Digital forms, emails, phone calls, live chat, and social media are all great ways to for your clients to interact with their customer base—and in most scenarios, it's a best practice to offer all of the above if possible.
However, establishing and nurturing a human connection is a sure way to improve customer experience. (86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience!). In fact, businesses that deliver better customer experiences obtain more repeat customers and revenues between 4 and 8 percent above their market.
How to set your clients up for success with a phone number
Adding a phone communication channel to your client’s workflow introduces a large audience that prefers to speak to a person prior to making a purchase. According to a study by Google, 61 percent of mobile users call a business when they’re in the purchase phase of the buying cycle. Digital communication channels are oh-so-efficient, but excluding a phone number could limit a business’s potential.
So how do you go about using phone calls to boost your client’s business? Start with these 3 tips.
1. Build the phone number into their website design
Including a phone number when designing your clients’ stores not only makes for a better user experience, it also helps sell potential customers who are uncomfortable buying online.
When adding a phone number to an ecommerce site, do us all a favor and make it easy to find. Having a phone number won’t mean much if it’s hidden. A phone number should be placed in multiple locations on a site and should be easy to read. Some of the most common locations to place a phone number are:
- Header or navigation bar at the top of the site
- Footer at the bottom of the site
- On a contact page
- CTA buttons on your mobile site with click-to-call (88 percent of visitors are more likely to contact a company if they provide a click-to-call button)
Below are some examples of how to prominently display a phone number on a business website.
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2. Use the phone number to their benefit in marketing
Including a phone number on an ecommerce site can also increase your clients’ sales. How so? From 2014 to 2019, it is forecasted that there will be a 110 percent growth in calls to U.S. businesses from digital ads targeting smartphones.
Not only do consumers prefer to call a business when they're in the purchase phase of a buying cycle, but those phone calls are 10-15 times more likely to generate a sale than digital form submissions. In addition,Google also found that consumers are more likely to call a business when making a high-value purchase.
That means that you can leverage your client's phone number in their marketing to drive more leads. Making the phone number prominent and clickable is just the starting point. Here are just a few ways to drive more phone traffic to your clients:
Optimize digital and social ad campaigns to drive calls, not just online conversions, by adding a phone number CTA to the ads.
Add a call CTA on campaign-specific landing pages. Use a different phone number for each campaign to measure their effectiveness.
Enable Google Call Extensions within your client’s Adwords account. This will enable potential customers to easily dial your clients when their ads appear.
Retarget callers who don’t convert. Although callers are more likely to convert than online visitors, they don’t always convert on their first contact attempt. Retargeting can positively impact conversion rates and is simple to set up.
Drive phone calls from mobile marketing emails. Their phones are already in their hands, what better way to acquire new orders quickly rather than directing them to the website?
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3. Set customer service expectations
Jeff Bezos, CEO and co-founder of Amazon, said, “The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works.” That explains why you won’t see many phone numbers on Amazon’s site, but we know this isn’t necessarily realistic for everyone. No matter who is at fault, orders arrive in eggplant purple instead of classic black, and it’s up to the merchant to provide their customers with a real-time communication channel to allow themselves the chance to rectify the situation.
We know that people want to talk to people, especially in a customer service interaction. A study by Opinium found that 4 out of 5 consumers prefer human customer service interactions. After all, a rescued customer experience is exceptionally beneficial. Not only will they keep the customer, in many cases, they’ll be more likely to sing your client’s praises in the long-term than customers who were pleased with the services to begin with.
So does that mean you need to tell your clients to hire an entire team to be trained and available around the clock? Not necessarily. It is true that consumers are more impatient and less loyal to brands than ever—64 percent of consumers expect responses in real time. However, helping your clients get to know their customers and their expectations will give them a better idea of where to focus. Here are a few simple ways to help your clients set customer service expectations:
Conduct research into your client’s target audience. This will not only help you create a sustainable customer service plan, but target all their marketing more effectively.
- Notice that a few of the above examples include hours next to their phone number. That way the caller knows when to expect an answer so they can avoid feeling lost and helpless. Work these hours into your website design to strengthen your client’s customer service expectations.
- Your clients’ customer service expectations should also align with the expectations they set with their employees. Advise them to set guidelines when it comes to expectations, for example:
- Answer all calls within 20 seconds
- Resolve all customer issues within 24 hours
- Keep customer contact rate to one per /issue
Helping your clients establish a customer support process, with goals and rewards that align with their customers' expectations, is everything.
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Phone calls can help your clients break the mold
Phone communication is a great way to humanize your client’s ecommerce business. A Forrester study commissioned by Marchex found that consumers who initiate inbound calls convert faster, spend more, and have a higher retention rate. Adding a phone number to an online store improves the user experience, increases sales, and helps provide great customer service—and your clients will have you to thank for it.
Have you helped clients introduce a phone number to their marketing campaigns? Share your experience in the comments below!