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As Businesses Reopen, Customers Are Coming Back — But They’re Calling First

Lori Eich Senior Product Manager, DialogTech

In March 2020, COVID-19 took hold in the U.S. and instigated an unprecedented, widespread lockdown. Businesses pivoted to remote operations when possible, but brick-and-mortar stores were shuttered and employees were sent home to wait out the storm.

While the landscape is still uncertain, our reality now is different than it was in March. Businesses are reopening and customers are playing catch-up on services that require physical interaction. Though many companies are inviting customers back inside (with the requisite restrictions and regulations, of course), businesses and consumers alike want to minimize in-person interactions as much as possible.

That’s why your customers are reaching for the phone. Where the first point of contact with a new customer used to be a friendly smile and a welcoming invitation inside, the first point of contact has now become a phone call. Across almost every industry, customers are more likely to call before dropping in.

Across the Board, Call Volume Is On the Rise

At DialogTech, we’ve noticed a recent surge in calls within industries that have recently reopened. For example, at automotive parts and repair companies, we saw an initial 20% drop in call volume throughout March when business closures began. However, as quarantine restrictions lessened leading into summer, calls to auto shops surged to almost 75% more than pre-COVID-19 levels. Compared to the relatively stable call volumes in 2019 across the same months, this is an unprecedented spike in phone calls. This data supports the new consumer behavior trend: people are calling businesses more than ever before. Whether they have questions about appointments, hours, or COVID-19 regulations, auto consumers are turning to the phone more frequently to get answers.

Change in call volume from Feb to June for Auto Repair

We’ve seen similar behavior in retail, especially for businesses selling high-value items like furniture and appliances. These purchases are highly considered, and consumers often call to compare options, ask specific questions, and check inventory before they buy.

Change in call volume from Feb to June for Retail

For building and home services businesses, seasonal call volume typically begins to accelerate in March. This year, we saw the usual acceleration — just delayed by a few weeks, likely due to COVID-19. However, since April, weekly call counts have skyrocketed and eclipsed normal volumes. While the home services industry is different from auto repair and retail — consumers are asking providers to come to their homes instead of going to a brick-and-mortar location — this rise in call volume still adds to the trend that consumers across many industries are making more calls.

Change in call volume from Feb to June for Building and Home Services

With Higher Call Volume, Call Tracking and Analytics Is More Important Than Ever

With more and more calls to wrangle, how do businesses adapt? This influx of calls can be great for your business, but they need to be handled well. As always, you want to measure which marketing channels are driving the most valuable calls. On top of that, you also need to ensure that you continue to provide great customer service to every caller, despite the changing sales environment.

Every inbound call to your business is an opportunity to learn more about your customers. They’re sharing valuable insights into what they care about, what they expect from you, and what needs they have. Don’t let that meaningful exchange go to waste! That’s where call tracking and analytics solutions like DialogTech come in.

With call tracking and analytics, your inbound phone calls generated by search, digital advertising, website interactions, and offline marketing are transformed into actionable first-party data. Phone conversations provide the deepest insights about a consumer — insights that marketers can use to optimize ad spend, messaging, and strategy to drive better business results.

Ultimately, call tracking and analytics not only helps you optimize your marketing dollars, but it also helps your team maintain the customer relationships you’ve worked so hard to build. By combining DialogTech’s COVID-19 and Appointment Cancellation KPIs, it’s easy to track appointment cancellations that are explicitly due to the pandemic. This helps you find the customers you should reach out to as conditions normalize, which can help you predict the impact to your revenue and recovery. DialogTech’s Lead Score and Sales Opportunity KPIs help you understand how you’re connecting with new customers, and you can create further touchpoints with them by integrating our KPIs with your bid management platform. With DialogTech, you can learn how your customers’ needs are changing and deliver an experience that will keep them returning for a lifetime.

A phone call is the closest you can get to many of your customers right now. DialogTech is here to help you connect with them.

To learn more about the powerful insights marketers can capture from inbound phone calls, download our ebook, The 10 Call Analytics Reports that Will Change Your Marketing.

Want to learn more about the insights marketers are capturing from inbound phone calls? Download our ebook, The 10 Call Analytics Reports that Will Change Your Marketing.

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