Message & Media: Marketing Guru Wanted
Your Phone Number
Speaking of calling, why do so many companies discourage phone calls by not providing their phone numbers, or burying them in mouse type? They must think it costs too much. But what about the people who visit your website, see your ad, or receive your mail piece and want to talk with a knowledgeable expert? Unless research confirms that your customers and prospects don’t want to call you, don’t hide your phone number.
In direct mail, put the phone number on every piece in the mailing (except, maybe, the envelope.) You never know which piece will be seen first or retained. In the case of your website, a “Contact Us” call to action should be on every page. Typically, it’s in the top or bottom navigation.
Here’s another thing about phone accessibility. Inviting calls from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday though Friday may work for you, but not for your customers who have 9-to-5 jobs. Test extended hours. Also, service, I call the advertised numbers and ask questions and pose problems. I want to hear first-hand how calls are answered. And here’s what I’ve learned: True experts don’t have all the answers, but they know where to find the answers, and they’re willing to call you back or email you with what they learn. Experts are resourceful and generous.
This is digital’s answer to traditional media’s toll-free number. Well-executed, live chat is a boon for both marketers and customers. The key to its success is two-fold: speed and knowledge. When your customers select the live chat option, they’re ready to talk NOW, not later. Immediate response is critical. They also expect to chat with someone who knows your product or service, inside out. Don’t give this job to a summer intern or new marketing coordinator, unless they’re properly trained and experienced with your product or service.