When consumers have questions, talking to a real person can be the easiest way to get answers. That's where a company's call centre comes in. A personalised and relevant phone call can help you earn new customers and keep existing ones. Learn three ways your brand can provide a great caller experience.
As easy as websites and apps have made it to connect with businesses, often times, nothing beats talking to a real person. A conversation over the phone can earn a potential customer's loyalty, especially in intent-rich I-want-to-know or I-want-to-buy moments when they need timely, relevant service. And, these conversations are becoming more common on mobile—calls to U.S. businesses from smartphones are predicted to reach nearly 162 billion by 2019, a 73% increase from 2015.
Consumers are 2.8X more likely to call from a search ad for businesses in the telecom and finance verticals.
"Calls are very important to get that one-on-one communication with the customer," says Dan Williams, chief revenue officer at 3 Day Blinds, a premium custom window treatment company. "More often than not, they have questions they need answered and it just can't be done online."
Supporting callers is especially important for businesses in the telecom and finance verticals, including insurance. In these, consumers are 2.8X more likely to call from a search ad.1 Unfortunately, bad caller experiences are all too common, with consumers citing typical pain points like missed calls, lengthy wait times, and poor service.2
Three pillars for providing a great caller experience
To increase conversion rates over the phone and win customers, invest in your call centre by cultivating personalised, relevant experiences — just as you do for your website and storefront. Here are three ways to optimise the caller experience:
#1. Make calls part of a seamless online-to-offline experience
When consumers are looking to connect with brands, they choose whatever is most convenient in the moment—whether that means browsing a website, stopping by a store, scrolling through an app, or using click-to-call to have a real-world conversation. To make sure you're there for your customers, make it easy for them to move from one channel to the next.
"We have always been channel-neutral," says Robert Fredrick, senior marketing director at DSL Extreme, a high-speed internet service provider. "Our priority is to make it as easy as possible for customers to research and buy the right internet package, regardless of whether that happens online or over the phone." Using AdWords call extensions, DSL Extreme gives customers the option to either call or click through to its website. And even if a customer opts to visit the website first, the company prominently features its phone number on every landing page to make it easy to transition from online research to an offline conversation. It also uses data from every omni-channel touchpoint to deliver the most relevant customer experience possible. Thanks to these insights, calls have become a "huge revenue driver."
#2. Optimise your call centre for your most valuable callers
Successful call marketers respond quickly with fast and helpful service when the phone rings—especially for their most valuable callers. At 3 Day Blinds, phone calls from paid search account for 50% of all of its appointments. "AdWords drives higher-quality consumers because they are intent-driven consumers," says Adele Nasr, the director of marketing. As a result, 3 Day Blinds has not only grown its call centre to be open 24/7, but it also has a specialised routing process for calls driven by search ads. "These calls specifically go into a priority one queue that makes sure they get to a representative immediately."
Tracking peak call times can help you staff your call centres properly. In general, most calls take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the fewest number of calls happening over the weekend. And, 71% of all calls are made during standard work hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.1
#3. Use contextual signals to tailor the caller experience
Answering the phone is only the first step. Knowing what to say is the second. By using online contextual signals, like which keywords someone searched or specific landing pages they were looking at, companies are able to identify what a user is interested in before they call. With that information, a brand's call centre can pick up right where that user left off and deliver a more personalised, seamless experience to win new customers or upsell existing ones.
Reservation Counter, a hotel booking provider, takes advantage of insights from AdWords to deliver better customer service. "The ability to understand what people are searching for before they call us is significant," says Scott Jensen, SVP of marketing. According to Jensen, if callers search on generic, research-oriented terms like "las vegas hotel deals," the company will provide more hands-on guidance through various hotel options and emphasise its large inventory and lowest price guarantee. But, if someone searches for a specific type of hotel, they're closer to booking so Reservation Counter's representatives will be more sales-focused by highlighting its biggest promotions.
To succeed with calls, brands have to do more than just feature a phone number on their ads or website—they also have to make the caller experience a great one. Working with your call centres and representatives to foster conversations that are timely, relevant, and seamless will reinforce your marketing efforts across all channels. And, it will help you be there for your customers whenever they need you.
1 Google Internal Analysis, Global, Jan.–Dec. 2015.
2 Google Internal Research, n=835, Aug. 2014.