Smart Numbers asks: Should you put a phone number on your site?

There’s some debate on whether you should have a phone number on your site or not. One positive aspect is that it can increase the trustworthiness of your website by adding phone support, local (01/02) or Freephone 0800 numbers. Many people (especially the older generation) aren’t comfortable in buying products online simply because they don’t know how to, or they don’t trust websites enough to pay with personal information such as credit cards. By adding phone support to your company you are giving these people a means to communicate via a trusted method, thus potentially increasing your up-sale opportunities.

The negative aspect of phone support? It costs money and time. If your business continues to grow you may have to hire customer service representatives to deal with over the phone enquiries.

So the question we arrive at is, what strategy is best for me and my website?  This post will show you how you can use testing and data to determine in 5 simple steps, whether having a phone number on your site is right for your business.

  1. Gathering qualitative data to determine your audiences preferences.

If you have a website currently live then we can gather data to see what your audiences prefer. Via a blog or pop-up, or even a page, we can advertise a poll which rates from 1 (not comfortable) to 10 (very comfortable) when visitors purchase a product or arrange a service online from your website. Leaving this for a month and then checking the results should leave you with a clear view of what your customers prefer. If even 10% of your visitors voted 3 or less, it would be worth testing a phone support for your site. This brings us to step 2.

  1. Setting up a Smart Number or VOIP tracking number.

This step involves using a dedicated telephone number which can be set to forward calls. To set up a dedicated tracking number is quick and easy, usually done within 1 to 3 hours (Smart Numbers offers a forwarding number package). Make sure your phone records can be exported to a CSV (Excel) file, Smart Numbers VOIP package allows for this. Our call forwarding package ensures you can answer a call from multiple numbers that go straight to a single mobile or landline of your preference. Smart Numbers or tracking numbers should also be equipped to record calls in order to evaluate the quality of enquiry and call handling customer experience. Once you have finished setting up a forwarding number we can move onto step 3.

  1. Running the test (A & B)

This is the easiest and hardest part of the 5 steps. Simply add any of your tracking numbers (the ones that you will be forwarding for the purpose of the test) and add them to your desired spot on your website, such as on the search engine results landing page or the contact page. From here you will be able to integrate the test with Smart Numbers Call Analytics, or any of your own conversion tracking software. We want to see:

A: How many users that sign up to the site use the phone support to make a purchase.

versus

B: Those that sign up and make an online purchase.

The hard part is putting people in place who can answer the calls for the period of the trial – recruiting and training can be difficult for this type of short term test. If you think this may be difficult for you, Smart Numbers can help by providing 24/7 telephone answering, either a dedicated team or as an over-flow to answer the calls you can’t. With costs as low as 69pence per call and a simple 30 day agreement it could provide the ideal solution to ensuring the calls generated are never missed.

  1. Extrapolating the data

After whatever time period you have set has passed, you should export all of your online conversion data from whichever tool used, such as Google Analytics, into one Excel tab. One column should be A) Phone Purchases, the other B) Online Purchases. From this you’ll be able to see how many people are using each method to purchase products/services and if your conversions are working correctly you will have conversation rates for successful sales for each method. Here are some outcomes which you should be specifically looking for from the data:

  • Total Number of Calls: Number of incoming calls received
  • Total Number of Callers: Number of distinct/unique incoming numbers that called you.
  • Caller Conversion Rate: Converted Customers / Total Number of Callers.

From this data you will be able to combine your online sales conversions against your phone support sales conversions.

  1. Accounting for more data factors

There are some considerations beyond whether you received more conversions through the phone compared to online:

  • Number of customer service representatives needed
  • Monthly cost per customer service representative
  • The test period within which you tested your phone vs online conversions i.e. Seasonal variations in your business, economic trading conditions, length of your sales cycle.

Based on your product sales and overhead/costs, this will tell you whether including phone support on your site was successful or not. Phone support requires people, time, resources and ultimately costs. A smaller business may benefit from just having email support or outsourced telephony cover,  whereas SME’s to larger corporations would absolutely need the phone support to deal with the large amount of enquires and customers visiting the site.

Conclusion: 

Phone support on your website could be a game changing opportunity to bring in additional conversions, a huge money pit that doesn’t increase conversions but instead increases overhead costs, or simply an inconsequential practice that neither increases nor decreases your revenue. Smart Numbers recommends putting together bespoke tests to gain your own data as eacbusiness-womanh business has different needs, you can’t always rely on the testimonials of others.

Smart Numbers offers number forwarding to landline or mobile destinations, 24/7 Live Call Answering, Call tracking, VOIP Services and website building/conversion tracking services. You can visit our dedicated telecommunications site at https://www.smart-numbers.net/, or read up on our website building services at http://www.smart-websites.com/.

Or why not phone us!!!

Call our mobile friendly number 03450 178 179, talk to us before you decide.

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