Why do Customers Still Want the Option to Phone You?
In the age of email, instant messaging, social media, and live chat services, it’s hard to imagine that customers would want to get in touch with businesses in more traditional ways.
However, the reality is that plenty of people still prefer to make a phone call when contacting a company, or at least like to have this available as an option.
So what’s keeping this old-school approach to customer service alive, and why do you need to prioritize catering to this particular support need?
The enduring appeal of phone conversations
There are lots of motivating factors behind the seemingly unending demand for business to offer a phone number including:
1. Complex problem-solving
Having a chatbot or a social media marketing team on standby to answer simple queries is great. But when customers have a trickier conundrum they need solving, a call is a more efficient way to handle this for all involved.
In a conversational setting, customers can explain what they’re up against, and support team members can use their experience and knowledge to assist them in whatever way they can. This will lead to swifter resolutions for complex problems than if they were handled purely via a digital medium.
2. Emotional connection
Written communication can be terse and off-putting, especially if the customer is already in a state of frustration. Adding in emojis to express feelings can only go so far and might make things worse.
A phone call between two humans is different since team members can interpret customer emotions and adjust their tactics to temper them, rather than leaving them more irate.
When people call, they want an answer to a question or a solution to a problem as soon as possible. With an email or a message, the reply could take hours or even days, depending on your volume.
Phone queues are of course a caveat in this context, but the people who call will at least feel that they are being proactive.
4. Widespread adoption
While younger customers might not make phone calls very often, they are at least virtually guaranteed to have access to a handset that’s capable of placing a call to a business.
For older generations, landline connections are still the norm, so whether you’re aiming at the over-45s or the Gen Z newcomers, there’s no divide in terms of phone adoption and access.
How to get a business phone number
Now you know why people want to phone your firm, let’s discuss how you can meet their expectations with a number of your very own.
If you have a bricks and mortar location from which your business is run, getting a landline still makes sense. You can use VoIP tech to handle this as well, even outsourcing the hosting of the exchange to the cloud in the case that your support team grows beyond a certain size.
You can also use a business phone number app to transform your mobile device into a conduit for calls related to your company while still having a separate number for personal purposes attached to the same handset.
This leads us neatly into an examination of why you should have a phone line for customers to call, beyond the simple facts of it improving satisfaction levels.
The business arguments for adopting a phone number
Having happy, contented customers is all-important. But the reasons for offering a means for them to call your company extend to other areas as well, such as:
1. Feedback acquisition is straightforward
Without knowing what your customers think of their experience when interacting with your business, you won’t be able to improve and grow.
There are a plethora of methods of extracting feedback, aside from passively waiting for the vocal minority to get in touch with you to share their thoughts. Having a phone strategy which includes getting agents to ask callers how they would rate their experience and whether they have any input to give is one of them.
You can of course combine this with other options, such as sending out surveys via email or using site-based feedback popups to capture the opinions of visitors. However, remembering to also use the emotionally engaging context of a phone conversation to do this will make a big difference.
2. Geographic reach can be extended
For a company to grow and flourish, it needs to win over customers outside of its local area. Earning the trust of people in other regions or entirely different countries is rarely a cakewalk. However, business phone numbers can streamline this as much as possible.
You can have multiple numbers, each with geographically specific area codes, which feed into your main call center or to a single handset, depending on your setup. This makes it a marketing tool for national or international expansion.
The same benefits apply if you are going to open offices overseas or work with remote employees and need to have a connection with them that can easily be harnessed. Thus it serves a dual purpose.
3. Boosting conversion rates is achievable
Landing pages need a good call to action, and including an interactive button that lets site visitors call you directly can bolster the number of people who visit for the first time and eventually convert to paying customers.
In this way you can consider giving customers the option to call part of search engine optimization, or at least of conversion rate optimization.
Final thoughts on business phone numbers
There are some costs associated with having a phone number and deploying resources to handle inbound calls it receives from customers.
However, the upsides easily outweigh any fears about the expense, particularly as there are software and hardware solutions available to drive down the price of providing this service.
Adopting a number just to test out its impact is also entirely reasonable. Once you’ve got to grips with it, you can proceed to roll out a more rigorous call handling strategy across your company.