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Where do phone calls actually fit in the customer journey?

Giving your prospects as many touch-points with your business as possible makes your brand flexible accessible and enhances even more awareness amongst...

Giving your prospects as many touch-points with your business as possible makes your brand flexible accessible and enhances even more awareness amongst your target audience. But how can you record which touch-point or enquiry method is the most valuable in the overall customer journey? Which interaction truly led to the sale?

Even though we live and breathe online, telephone calls still hold a critical place in today’s consumer journey. In fact a BIA Kelsey report said businesses cite telephone calls as their most valuable leads. But what is prompting a call and whereabouts in their purchase phase are prospects picking up the phone? If an enquiry occurs offline do you simply not count this interaction in your attribution?

I’m going to discuss where telephone calls sit in today’s consumer journey and how you can ensure that you’re able to provide the right enquiry options at the right time and track back offline enquiries to source.

Click-to-call on paid ads

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According to recent research from Invoca, 61% of mobile searchers say click to call is most valuable in the purchase phase.

This means that the rising number of smartphone users are using the click to call button as a way to instantly get in touch with your business.  It means prospects are willing to call your business directly, drastically shortening the average buying cycle.

Offering click-to-call ad extension functionality in your Google ads like the example shown below can instantly boost enquiries, as another study showed that 70% of mobile searchers have used the call button directly from the search results:


















If you fail to use the click-to-call function on your mobile ads and also on your website and landing pages as well, you are most probably driving potential customers away.

To make a purchase or reservation

Data from Invoca shows that phone calls account for 30-50% of conversion rates for businesses, compared to the 2% of conversions from clicks. This suggests that no other interaction is as powerful in the overall path to purchase.

If you don’t offer a telephone number anywhere on your marketing collateral you’ll almost certainly be down on revenue, as the same report suggests that having a telephone number was able to boost sales for those business surveyed by $2.2 billion in 2014.

Not only is a phone call representing high buyer intent but, combined with your sales representative’s personalised assistance with an enquiry, the interaction can help to drive even more revenue.

So why would someone convert over the phone and in which industry is this more prevalent? Research shows that industries with “high consideration” products and services, where a purchase is of higher value or is more complex, are the ones which tend to see higher call volumes. These industries listed below are among the top ten sectors which receive the highest call volume.

  • Home services
  • Lead generation
  • Insurance
  • Financial services
  • Health and wellness
  • Home services

So, for example, insurance purchases often require a lot of consideration and research before a commitment is made, therefore these types of service providers see high volumes of call conversions. It’s for these industries that prospects really value the human voice as it builds trust, elevates doubts over the purchase and helps to answer any on the spot concerns.

But even if your business doesn’t fall within these sectors, consumers still would like the option to call a business. Ensure that you apply a telephone number to all aspects of your marketing.

They need assistance or purchase reassurance

75% of consumers say a phone call is the quickest way for them to get a response from a business or brand. This means that these people are interested in your business and but need a little reassurance to help make up their mind.

For these potential customers, getting them on the phone and being available to assist them can be crucial in turning them into a customer. Use your telephone call to answer questions and ease them through to a converted sale.   

Local intent

Mobile drives phone calls. Fact. With almost everyone carrying a smartphone in their pocket, consumers will be using their connected devices to get in touch with you.

Increasing mobile search volume is down to more sophisticated wireless connectivity which has meant that smartphone users can search on the go. For example, people will be looking for places to eat nearby, a brand’s physical store or to simply to book in an MOT. Whatever their need, mobile is driving even more local conversions.

A ComScore study recently found that 78% of local-mobile searches resulted in an offline purchase, whether that was over the phone or in person.

If you want to make sure you’re optimising for local search, ensure that your AdWords is set up for location based targeting and claim your Google Plus Local Business Listing as Google uses this to determine relevancy for listing local results.

How can you track all of these different behavioural patterns?

Even though digital drives the initial research phase in the consumer path, the telephone has got to be factored in to the buying journey, or you risk losing customers.

But, if you want to truly maximise this purchasing intelligence, you need to be tracking telephone calls back to the marketing source. Doing so will help you optimise your marketing budget based upon what is truly converting leads. For example, you might be spending a sizeable proportion of your marketing budget on offline media, but how would you know if a newspaper ad is pulling its weight compared to digital channels which are easily quantified thanks to the plethora of analytics tools?

Call tracking automation software, from companies like Mediahawk, is the only way to measure both offline and online enquiries and can show you where the purchase journey first started up to when a prospect picks up the phone. By inserting a small piece of JavaScript code onto your website a unique telephone number is generated for each visitor. So, when they pick up the phone, you’ll be able to see which web pages they’ve viewed and whereabouts they came from, be it organic, PPC, email, direct or from social media.  To measure offline response, simply apply a unique telephone number to your marketing so you can measure the resulting enquiries. 

You might have heard somewhere that “calls are the new clicks”. In many ways this statement is correct as you can see from the above examples that calls are of paramount importance in the closing phase of the purchase journey, especially for journeys that started online.

Talk certainly isn’t cheap – picking up the phone and having a conversation with a prospect can be incredibly powerful revenue drivers for businesses in 2015 and beyond.