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The Forgotten Touchpoint in Your Omnichannel Strategy

Has your focus on digital banking channels been so intense that you've overlooked one of the most important consumer touchpoints: the phone?

“Omnichannel” is the new goal on the top of everyone’s mind these days. The “customer journey” is morphing into a complex web of interactions occurring over several different devices — search, web, email, TV, direct mail, phone calls, in-person visits. As consumers move along the new, winding, omnichannel “path to purchase” with its endless combination of touchpoints, they expect brands to meet them every step of the way, and with a relevant message.

While obsessing about creating a consistent, contextualized customer experience in digital channels, banks and credit unions may have forgotten something… that the moment consumers become a serious prospect, they pick up the phone and call.

Consumers Want to Talk

Across industries, consumers are using the phone — to actually talk to businesses — more than ever. BIA/Kelsey reports that mobile customer phone calls will reach 162 billion by 2019. That’s more than double the calls made in 2014. Smartphones should make the transition from online to offline seamless. After all, consumers can go from a website, ad, or email to a phone call with just the tap of a button, something they’re choosing to do so at an increasing rate.

This trend is especially prevalent in the financial industry, where both the products and the customer journey are complex; people often need one-on-one assistance. Yes, consumers will happily apply for a new credit card entirely online. But when they are in the market for a home mortgage or a wealth management advisor, digital doesn’t cut it. In fact, consumers are 2.8 times more likely to place a call from a search ad for financial services than they are in other industries. When it comes to personal finances, human conversations are the foundational building blocks of trust and long-lasting customer relationships.

Digital Drives Calls

In 2015, digital marketing channels drove 74% of all consumer phone calls for financial services. Not only are calls pouring in from digital channels, but they convert at 10 times the rate of pure clickers.

Whether they realize it or not, digital marketers are responsible for driving the majority of these highly valuable calls… and they need to start paying attention. Traditionally, phone calls may have been dismissed as the call center’s business, but the new omnichannel landscape has actually dragged them back to the forefront of your digital marketing strategy. Phone calls are a necessary component when trying to measure your marketing ROI. How can you craft an “omnichannel experience” if you don’t fully understand consumer preferences and acknowledge key behavior patterns?

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Achieving Offline ROI Attribution

Without tracking phone calls, financial marketers can’t measure the true ROI of their efforts. They need to know when consumers are calling, as well as the outcome of those calls if they ever hope to bridge someone’s online journey with their offline behaviors?

That’s why many marketers are leveraging new technologies that allow them to accurately track calls generated from digital channels. For instance, you can place cookies in users’ browsers that allow you to present a create unique, trackable phone number for each individual online user. Paid search marketers are using this type of call tracking to measure their ROI… right down to the individual keyword. They can track when someone looks on Google for a home mortgage, then clicks on a paid search ad, hits the company website, and then finally makes a call.

Without linking call data in this manner, there’s no way to measure marketing performance in terms of online and offline conversions. Good luck trying to figure out where leads came from when everyone is calling the same toll-free 800 number. But when marketers track calls, they can connect phone-based interactions with online users’ digital path-to-purchase, so they can see each touchpoint that helped contribute to each sale generated.

Getting a Clear View of the Customer

Marketers who analyze calls understand their target audience much better than those who don’t because calls contain a wealth of data that online interactions don’t. A single phone call can reveal a consumer’s buying stage, product interest, competitor awareness, and probability of converting. Simply “listening” to phone calls — using sophisticated voice analytics that analyze key signals within in call — marketers can deepen their level of insight into their audience, enabling more effective targeting with their audience.

Marketers can also glean mountains of demographic insights from phone calls — information that can be elusive in digital channels — including geographic location, age, gender, and household income. All these additional dimensions can be used by marketers to refine their strategy and tailor their messages.

Creating a Cohesive Customer Journey

Financial institutions will only be able to create a cohesive, personal customer journey when they know what’s happening offline. Today’s consumer demands that brands, and especially financial institutions, treat them as individuals. Mass marketing messages that don’t speak to an individual’s personal needs and interests don’t get the job done. Not to mention, having a customer explain who they are and why they’re calling is a poor experience and a waste of time.

Marketers can only understand the customer journey if they know when and why a prospect calls and what happens during that conversation. These insights can be used to streamline the phone conversation, making it extremely targeted based on the consumer’s digital journey up to that point. This data can also be used to inform and personalize the next step in the customer journey. A follow-up email, for example, can contain a cross-sell offer if the caller converted, or a display ad can target an unconverted caller with a relevant offer based on their phone conversation.

In an omnichannel world, “digital marketing” isn’t just about digital. If financial marketers want to gain a competitive advantage, they’ve got to be as “omnichannel” as their customers see themselves. That means including phone calls in their channel strategy. With more calls are pouring in from digital channels than ever before, the humble phone call is often the missing link to marketing ROI.

It’s time marketers start taking the “voices of the their customers” more seriously.

Amber Tiffany is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Invoca. Invoca gives marketers insight so they know who’s calling, why they’re calling, and what happens on the call. This data helps them automate and optimize the ideal customer experience.

All content © 2017 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

The Financial Brand Forum 2017 | May 17-19 | Las Vegas

Comments

  1. I agree with your perspective, Tiffany. As we continue to guide FIs to transform their websites from glorified online brochures and into websites that sell, we have seen that placing a focus on secondary “request a call back” CTAs has helped to increase digital leads by as much as 1,500%.

    Our findings validate Google’s ZMOT research as they too found that talking to someone in person, on the phone, or through email are the top three most influential sources for a consumer shopping for financial services.

    Because calls are so important in the consumer journey, this reinforces the need for FI sales and marketing teams to realign and become an FIs growth or revenue team.

  2. Surprised to read that the phone is becoming a larger part of the customer experience. Been reading the opposite — that the phone is an increasingly less desirable method of communication.

    @James – RE – A strong CTA strategy in the account growth process. We see upticks as well when the digital customer experience drives to the phone for more information.

  3. Hi, great article. Can I ask regarding…”For instance, you can place cookies in users’ browsers that allow you to present a create unique, trackable phone number for each individual online user. Paid search marketers are using this type of call tracking to measure their ROI…”.. – does this really mean that Cookie creates thousands or even much more different Phone numbers, so that 1000 different visitors can see 1000 different Phone numbers to call (that connects to the same Contact Center Operator)?

  4. Yes, that is correct — this approach yields thousands of unique, trackable phone numbers. These phone numbers are recycled quickly.

  5. Thanks, @Jeffry – would you agree by your experience that this approach is more suitable for Mobile Marketing whereby the customer can simply click to call the number instantly, rather than in Desktop experience, where the customer would have to dial-in the phone number in other device (mobile/landline)? (unless Skype click-to-call functionality is provided in Desktop)

  6. Dalibor, I’d say that utilization on mobile devices would be higher than desktop, but I wouldn’t use the phrase “more suitable,” as that makes it sound like the service isn’t appropriate for a desktop situation.

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