The QWERTY keyboard was invented in 1870 for typewriters and it is still used today, despite the presence of newer and better typing systems. We are all creatures of habit and re-learning or changing behaviours is a hard thing to do! Some forms of technology simply seem to be essential to how we live.
The phone is a perfect example. Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876 and yet its prevalence and importance persist in the modern era through the explosion of mobile phones. Millions of people today still make phone calls to local firms for a multitude of services such as booking their cab journeys and ordering takeaways, even with the knowledge that there are many online ordering platforms and mobile apps as alternatives.
Phone calls are not just surviving, they are on the rise and billions are spent trying to generate them. This is particularly true for small business owners who value tangible results and outcomes.
Invoca, a call tracking platform, received $30 million in VC funding and so too, have several similar start-ups. Understanding call intelligence is a big thing to not just Invoca but many marketers who need to better understand call metrics. It was nicely said on on of their recent blog posts:
As we marketers continue to solve the problem of the smartphone paradox, we can’t lose sight of the fact that smartphones are not simply tiny computers. We have to treat them as devices meant to facilitate connections, not least of which is the ability to hold a conversation in the traditional sense – voice to voice
ResponseTap, another call tracking solution in UK, recently surveyed more than 4000 people in their “Voice is the new milestone” white paper and discovered that more than 61% of us prefer to pick up the phone and call compared to emailing or filling web forms. 70% of people claimed that calling gives them the peace of mind of being able to speak to a friendly operator who can help them quickly.
My startup Fare Exchange helps minicab operators nationwide to grow and has generated millions of booking calls; we’ve learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t, from both generating and tracking calls to understanding how to improve call handling. Conversion optimisation doesn’t just stop at your website – the people who answer your phones and interact with customers have a great impact on your brand and sales. Call volumes will continue to increase and those companies who realise that humans still need to talk and provide a service will need to consider the technological aspects of this massive growth.
The motto ‘it’s good to talk’ is perhaps most relevant to the minicab sector, where 90% of people still use the phone to make a booking. People want a personal connection so that they can be reassured that a minicab will arrive on time and in most cases they will save money by going direct too.
BIA/Kelsey predicts an explosion in commercially-oriented call volume to businesses. Mobile search alone will drive 73 billion calls per year by 2018 and SME’s value phone leads more than any other lead. Even social media giants Twitter and Facebook have been testing direct response ad mechanisms linked to calls.
With thousands of new smartphone activations every month and smartphone penetration at its highest, it seems unlikely that the phone call boom will slow down. Finally it seems we are coming full circle back to talking again!
So no matter what industry or service you provide; phone calls matter, and this is more truer than ever with the smartphone explosion and instant gratification required by many new potential customers.
What are your thoughts – are you getting more phone calls recently? Have you started thinking or are already generating generating more calls for your company?
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