Marketers face a litany of tools to improve business performance, generate more leads, and grow their business. Often though, they are not given good direction on how to incorporate all of those tools into their multi-channel strategy so that they work together to deliver optimal leads to their sales force.
Connecting with customers and building relationships is increasingly important in order for businesses to compete and survive in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. Connections can be made online through Twitter, Facebook, live chat and other social outlets, but live phone conversations are often more productive and a better way to build relationships with customers. And so, encouraging customers to contact a business by phone, to have a live conversation, still plays an extremely important role in advertising strategies.
A recent study conducted by American Express Co. finds that 90% of respondents said they still want their inquiries handled by live representatives over the telephone. And, a BIA/Kelsey & Constat Local Commerce Monitor Wave study found that 65% of businesses rate phone calls as their highest quality lead source.
US consumers prefer to resolve their customers service issues using the telephone (90%), face to face (75%), company website or email (67%), online chat (47%), text message (22%), social networking site (22%) – Source: American Express 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer
Although it is undeniable that a company’s website is becoming increasingly important as a resource for their customers, it is still not always the preferred method for the sales force, or most easily remembered, method of contact for the customers.
Consumers have a 57.6% Average Higher Recall Rate of Vanity 800 Numbers over URLs: Respondents find it easier to recall a vanity 800 number over a URL after listening to ads featuring both response tools. – Source: InfoSurv Consumer Survey
Most recently, social media is playing a large role in the communication channels between companies and their customers. As with a website, this is not always the best way for customers to interact with a company. Tracking a company’s promotions and special events can be done effectively on these social media sites but they are not as user-friendly, or secure, when it comes to resolving a customer issue as a live conversation with the customer is.
Consumer preferences of having live interactions with companies demonstrate that it is prudent for businesses to include a phone number in their advertising campaigns. Doing so ensures customer satisfaction, higher customer recall, as well as improved lead generation and quality.
“We use 1-800-NEW-FORD in our radio and TV ads because it is easy for people to remember. Phone calls are more valuable than online web leads. Having an inbound phone call eliminates a few steps and shortens the sales process.” – Internet Marketing Manager, Auto Dealer