blog_icon_art The Marchex Blog

America’s Call Centers Revealed

Well sure, a smile is worth one thousand words, but did you know that a friendly greeting is worth $20 million?  We’re proud to announce our latest study, which clearly shows that improving how you handle inbound phone calls with simple changes like a warm greeting can dramatically increase revenue.

At Marchex, we power the world’s largest brands to truly understand the online-to-offline consumer journey and take immediate action to maximize advertising returns.  And with these data-driven solutions comes a lot of, well, data. Using Marchex Call DNA, the only conversational analytics technology to automatically visually map, classify and score every phone call, the Marchex Institute analyzed conversations, hold times and caller sentiment from a data set of more than two million phone calls placed in the last year by consumers to businesses across a wide variety of industries.

And while we’ve all heard that being nice to your customer is good for business, this study clearly shows that putting the golden rule to work inside a call center can spin pleasantries into an incredible ROI.

The Institute gathered an incredible amount of useful tips for marketers, here are a few highlights:

  • Consumer phone calls that resulted in a purchase were answered with a warm greeting 63 percent of the time, compared with 41 percent of calls that did not result in a purchase.  For a large call center, a warm greeting can equate to $20 million in additional revenue annually.
  • When consumer phone calls started off with an open-ended question, such as “Why are you calling today?”, conversion rates were 30 percent higher than when a consumer was asked a closed question.
  • Clear, no-pressure incentives lead to happier customers and more sales. Consumers that were offered an incentive to “buy today” were 20 percent more likely to buy.
  • Hold times are a huge source of losses for telesales teams. 50 percent of callers that hang up from hold time do so in the first 3 minutes. Americans are expected to endure 900 million hours of hold time in 2016, according to an earlier study from the Marchex Institute.
  • IVRs, or phone trees, can be confusing and frustrating to customers. 11 percent of prospective customers hang up during an IVR.

Consumers spend more than $1 trillion over the phone each year. The good news for businesses is that when they invest in better customer experiences it can lead to considerably higher revenues.

To learn how to improve call handling at your business, check out our post on why it pays to be polite.