By Joe McFadden
With all the fuss, excitement, and chatter about new media marketing channels – digital and mobile – it’s a wonder we can hear and think about anything else. But the voice channel remains a vital conduit for customer engagement, sales, and service. In fact, the digital marketing explosion, featuring tools such as push-to-call and mobile advertising, is actually driving more consumers to the phone. Companies therefore, have to keep the consumer phone-call process vibrant, dynamic, and effective.
Here are five reasons why voice remains a vital channel:
1) Live calls convert to sales at a much higher rate than other advertising channels alone, such as web advertising. An October 2011 Business Week article reported that twenty percent of Nutrisystem transactions that occur on the telephone result in a sale, while only 2 to 3 percent of consumers who click on an online ad continue on to sign up for the program. That’s a big difference – and one that companies should take note of.
2) People respond to human contact for sales. Greg Sterling, an analyst at Opus Research, told Business Week: “The naïve assumption that people made in the early days was that e-commerce was going to decimate other kinds of customer contact. When there’s a human connection, there’s a lot more that can be sold, and those customers are a lot more valuable inherently.”
3) Lead-to-sale conversions are supercharged when cross-sell and up-sells are based on product relevancy. This is especially true when consumers are in the midst of a trigger event in their lives. For example, if you are buying a house and you call the cable company to sign up for new service, you may also be interested in a new home security system, homeowners’ insurance, or even a home-cleaning service.
4) Live one-to-one interaction allows for greater insight into what the customer is looking for. There’s a give-and-take, a personal element, during phone conversations you simply can’t get with an online purchase.
5) Pay-per-call campaigns are typically performance-based, allowing advertisers to pay only for calls they receive or those that result in a sale. According to a September 2011 Forrester report, there is significant demand for call-focused digital advertising from small, medium, and large businesses, as well as medium and large advertising agencies. Forrester predicts US marketing spent in this new space will be at least six billion dollars by 2014.
With the onset of mobile and digital marketing, companies are continuing to invest heavily in their contact centers and finding ways to evolve them to meet the needs of today’s marketplace.
Joe McFadden is vice president of marketing for SalesPortal, a partnership-marketing network for enterprises using contact centers as a strategic customer engagement channel. He has more than twenty-five years of experience, primarily in marketing customer service software solutions to global enterprises.
[From Connection Magazine – May 2013]