Fast, friendly and friction-free: Making phone calls easy for time-starved consumers

As such, savvy companies might consider the following to reduce friction in their customers’ lives
by: Custom Toll Free , December 20, 2016

A business buzzword among multiple industries today is “friction,” and companies are focusing on how it can be eliminated from customer interactions.

The word refers to virtually anything bound to slow down or irritate consumers in our increasingly fast-paced, technology-enabled world. And its reduction is being applied to everything from sales to e-commerce to customer service, such that companies that cling to inconvenient or burdensome methods are bound to be left behind.

A recent McKinsey survey across 44 industries determined companies able to reduce customer friction in functions such as onboarding, account changes and problem resolution can achieve 10 to 15 percent revenue growth and 20 percent growth in customer satisfaction.

“The companies that value customer experience go above and beyond to make themselves easily accessible to the customer on the customer’s preferred channel,” notes Blake Morgan in Forbes. “Your customers work hard in their daily lives. They have complicated family situations and jobs and a lot of balls they are perpetually juggling. Are you throwing another ball in the air for them?”

With skyrocketing smartphone use, mobile has become a preferred channel for multiple demographics when it comes to finding information, making purchases or resolving customer service issues. BIA/Kelsey predicts calls to businesses from mobile devices will reach an annual 162 billion by 2019; already, 54 percent of all calls to businesses are due to mobile marketing.

As such, savvy companies might consider the following to reduce friction in their customers’ lives:

– Switching to a memorable 1-800 number. For customers, that could alleviate the hassle of looking up your number every time they call. Research confirms people are 75 percent more likely to remember vanity 1-800 numbers than numeric numbers, and 58 percent more likely to retain them than URLs. Why? Neuroscientists explain our short-term memories convert to long-term when linked in our brains to something meaningful or already known.

– Trying a pay-per-call campaign. PPC campaigns work when your ad appears on customers’ smartphones; once clicked, it enacts an immediate call to your company, which is answered by a staffer trained to close. The methodology is highly convenient to any interested customer, and the ROI can be substantial; studies show PPC typically drives in leads that produce 30 to 50 percent conversion rates. In fact, 86 percent of small to medium-sized businesses report calls are producing their best leads, with the average call converting 10 times more often than a web lead.

– “Let-us-call-you” features. Many companies are being even more proactive by asking customers to indicate online if they wish to be called instead of calling themselves (see this Blue Cross Blue Shield example). The option appeals to customers who like to be in the driver’s seat and allows the agent to make the call at convenient times — often pre-armed with information about the customer.

Morgan points to recent customer research affirming the importance they place on easy business interactions.

“What impacts customer loyalty numbers is minimal customer effort,” she emphasizes. “But today’s companies aren’t moving fast enough toward multichannel experiences that are very low effort for the customer. Most companies still have the mentality of making it easier on their own company rather than easier for the customer.”

Custom Toll Free can take the friction out of your phone-based marketing. Contact us at 1-800-CUSTOMIZE.

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