Why are People Afraid of Phone Calls?
The rise of digital marketing isn’t just about the perception of reduced cost or the excitement over a shiny new technology. It is also a backlash against traditional channels of communication. Namely: phone calls.
Why are people so reluctant to get inbound calls these days? Especially considering how phone calls have been proven to be an excellent tool to enhance digital efforts and increase marketing ROI, one would think business owners would be more enthusiastic about this affordable marketing asset.
7 reasons that phone calls are an unappreciated tool for growth.
- Incorrectly assessing the cost. Yes, answering calls in an authentic way requires a human to pick up the phone. But when executives isolate the payroll line item cost of a customer support employee and are excited to reduce overhead, they are missing the bigger picture. Not only is digital not free (and requires labor effort), it takes many more interactions to convert than a phone call does. It lengthens the sales process and may inadvertently introduce competition into the mix through search engine results and paid ads, which could lose the sale altogether. Phone calls are not only more likely to convert than web leads, they are also known to result in higher revenue because of the ability to personalize and upsell on the fly.
- Focusing on transactions. One of the benefits of digital marketing is its ability to enable greater measurement. Marketing departments are ruled by metrics more than ever and decisions are made to maximize pipeline ratios at every step. What will it take to turn awareness into inquiry, inquiry into consideration, and consideration to purchase? This kind of mentality gets leaders hyper-focused on short term sales. It completely leaves out the lifetime value of a customer – through repeat business as well as becoming a brand advocate and referring new customers. Ultimately, the relationship that is built through a person-to-person phone call will be more profitable than a transaction made completely through digital channels. Short term transactions are good; long term relationships are better.
- Striving for perfection. Another advantage of digital marketing is the ability to compose a refined and polished answer to an inquiry. A phone call is immediate and demands good listening, quick thinking, responsiveness, and personality. If someone asks a tough question, there is no ducking around it or delaying. But it is precisely that vulnerability that helps to forge a stronger bond between a brand and a consumer. Consumers prefer transparency and honesty, even if they don’t necessarily get a perfect response. Most digital advice these days is to personalize, personalize, personalize! What’s more personal than directly talking to someone?
- Listening to outside influences. Media outlets always want to talk about the next big thing that will draw in readership. Right now, digital is sexy. It’s sexy and it’s confusing – a double plus for publications. Business owners are intrigued and also need resources to help sort it all out. Business phone calls aren’t sexy, even though they get the job done. You get a great phone number, connect it to your phone, publicize it, and answer calls from prospects, customers, and partners. That’s it. So, when you look to the body of knowledge and resources out there, it’s an overwhelming fire hose blast of conversations about digital, which skews the perception that it is all that matters. But guess what? You can do both at the same time. You can build and perfect your digital marketing program while also promoting voice connection. In fact, the data shows that including your phone number makes digital campaigns more successful.
- Confusing personal preference for professional preference. Once the phone jumped off the kitchen wall and into our pockets, the pressure of being always reachable has become overwhelming. A lot of people have personal preferences to receive texts or emails because it allows them to respond when the timing is right for them. However, when it comes to business, if you ask owners if they would rather have a prospect navigate to the website and complete a form or call to inquire about products or services, the vast majority are going to say phone call. It’s more likely that inquiry will close -- and close quickly -- if you get the consumer on the phone.
- Forgetting what it’s like to be a consumer. One of the toughest challenges for businesses is to stay focused on the mindset of target audiences. When a consumer has an inquiry, needs a question answered, wants customization, needs product support, or any other reason that you’d reach out to a business, in most cases they have a sense of urgency. A lot of business processes are built around what is cheapest or most efficient for the business and leave out what is the best or favored by the consumer. Even if your customer isn’t frustrated or confused or in need of reaching out, just knowing that you are reachable by phone because your number is displayed across all of your marketing materials sheds a positive light on your brand.
- Too focused on keeping up with the Joneses. The digital trends are exciting, they are new, they are flashy and have big promises. C’mon – robots are cool! But they are also a moving target, and trends require constant vigilance to keep up with. Phone calls are tried and true and very stable. You don’t have to give up the digital trends, just don’t leave out the solid marketing asset that is proven to work. Your integrated marketing program should be just that – integrated. Bring all your assets together to fill your marketing and sales pipeline as full as possible.
Building relationships is the lifeblood of any organization, whether it’s with prospects, customers, employees, suppliers, partners, the media or other important audiences. Strong relationships build strong brands. And the only way to build a relationship is to get close and personal and direct. And the only shortcut to doing that is to pick up the phone.
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