Part 1 of a 3-part series on inbound sales call optimization
The Marchex Institute–a team of data analysts at Marchex tasked with slicing and dicing aggregate call data to find new insights for Marchex customers–recently reviewed millions of phone calls in the auto industry to understand how well dealerships handle their inbound calls. The automobile industry was chosen for several reasons, with one being that many buyers wait until very late in the buying process to choose a dealership to visit. So much of the pre-buying research happens online, there is no need to go to a dealership for education or even inventory questions until late in the purchase process. One of the few ways to influence a visit is the interaction that takes place on a phone call when a prospective buyer calls in with a question. This holds true for many businesses and industries.
Understand the modern customer journey
As mobile devices proliferate, shopping paths increasingly include a call to a business. In its research, the Marchex Institute found that while some businesses prioritized call handling, those that did not were inadvertently driving potential customers and future sales to other businesses.
To better understand the impact of these calls and the potential missed opportunities, the team reviewed calls in phases:
- when callers attempt to connect with a business
- when a call is answered by the business
- when the caller has a conversation with the sales team
This post involves phase 1: the point of connection. The findings showed that nearly 20 percent of all calls failed to connect with the business they are trying to reach, meaning that the calls went unanswered by the business or were abandoned by the caller before being connected. Failing to connect with one out of five callers is problematic since a percentage of these calls would likely go on and convert to a sale. Calls were typically abandoned while the caller was on hold, during a transfer or upon reaching voicemail.
Eliminate Unanswered Calls
So, what can businesses do to get more value from the calls they drive?
- Reduce or eliminate unanswered calls
- Staff and stock optimally so callers don’t need to be turned away
- Remove the conditions that cause callers to abandon calls (being placed on hold, being transferred and being routed to voicemail)
Businesses that focus on improving phone interactions can capture market share from those that don’t. Calls represent potential revenue opportunities, and when handled correctly, can represent a significant income stream for businesses. Offering a seamless experience over the phone should be a priority for businesses that strive to satisfy customers today and in the future.
To learn how your team can improve inbound call routing and handling at scale, check out our on-demand webinar: 5 tips to Close Customers on the Call.