Commentary

Answer It! Your Best Customer Is On The Line

According to a Forrester Consulting study, commissioned by Marchex, to examine how customers who initiate an inbound call during the customer journey perform against those who do not, found that the phone customer converts faster, spends more, and churns less. Customers who call directly to a business, are a marketer’s most valuable asset, says the report.

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Marketers in organizations deploying ads that initiate phone calls report that their other channels, online and offline, are more effective at increasing customer engagement than marketers in organizations that do not have these ads, says the report. 60% of marketers say that those who initiate an inbound call in the course of the customer journey convert an average of 30% faster.

In this study of US marketers, results confirm that winning and retaining customers are top priorities. Customer loyalty is a high or critical priority for 80% of marketers, alongside the traditional acquisition (79%) and retention (77%) priorities. Long-term engagement (71%) and maximizing relationships (78%) are even prioritized more than increasing conversion rates (68%), says the report.

Winning and retaining customers are still highly challenging for over half of marketers in this customer-empowered landscape, considering that 61% are challenged in increasing engagement and 60% are challenged in maximizing relationships.

 “How much is your organization prioritizing the following marketing objectives over the next 12 months?” (those selecting “high” or “critical” priority)

  • 80% Increasing customer loyalty
  • 79% Acquiring new customers
  • 78% Maximizing customer relationships
  • 77% Retaining customers
  • 71% Increasing long-term customer engagement
  • 68% Increasing conversion rates

“How much of a challenge are the following for your organization?” (those selecting “very” or “extremely” challenging)

  • 63% Acquiring new customers
  • 62% Increasing customer loyalty
  • 61% Increasing long-term customer engagement
  • 60% Maximizing customer relationships
  • 58% Increasing conversion rates
  • 58% Retaining customers
Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Marchex, June 2017; decision makers responsible for marketing strategy across digital and offline channels at US companies with 500 or more employees.

Marketers are plagued with managing the various channels that customers use to discover, explore, buy, and engage with throughout their life cycle. Specifically, marketers use a wide range of channels to engage with customers. More than ever, customers demand that brands offer as many opportunities to interact as possible, based on the time and place of their choosing. In response, marketers are managing an average of eight channels, both online and offline, says the report.

Customers want variety in the form of actions they can take to interact with a brand. But this complicates a marketer’s life when understanding the value of customer interactions. For example, the majority of marketers are still using last-click attribution, and the gap between connecting online activity to offline sales has still not been solved .

“What actions do ads that you serve to customers prompt consumers to perform?” (Select all that apply; Average number of actions prompted: 3.0)

  • 62% Enter an email address or other contact information
  • 61% Make an online purchase
  • 60% Access content on a landing page
  • 56% Initiate direct phone calls back to our organization
  • 54% Download a mobile app

This study focused on the value of customers who initiate inbound phone calls at some point within the customer journey, as well as the importance of phone calls within an organization’s marketing channel strategy, says the report. As mobile adoption is nearly omnipresent, increased digital engagement through mobile translates to increased inbound calls;

According to the report, mobile searches generated 30 billion calls to businesses in 2013, and will inspire 73 billion more by 2018. This means that customers initiating inbound calls are more likely to be engaged, and are more likely to make a purchase. Results from this study confirm that inbound calls:

  • Contribute to over a quarter of all sales. Marketers say that customers who initiate an inbound call at some point in the customer journey comprise an average of 27% of their overall sales
  • Marketers from organizations that use ads that prompt their customers to initiate an inbound call report that their other channels, online and offline, are more effective at increasing customer engagement than those who are not employing ads that prompt a call
  • The more engaged phone customer is more likely to convert faster, spend more, and churn less, making these customers more valuable to organizations.

Marketers in this study indicate that, compared with the rest of their customers, those who initiate inbound calls during the course of the customer journey:

  • Convert faster. 60% of marketers say that those who initiate an inbound call convert an average of 30% faster
  • Spend more. 60% of marketers say that those who initiate an inbound call spend an average of 28% more
  • Have a higher retention rate. 54% of marketers say that those who initiate an inbound call have a 28% higher retention rate

 

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