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Inbound Call Volumes Remained High Across Industries in 2020: Here’s What Marketers Should Do About It

Derek Andersen Senior Content & SEO Specialist, DialogTech

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as some businesses closed and others didn’t, consumers had lots of questions about a business’s safety measures, inventory, hours of operation, appointment availability, and other concerns. A phone call was the easiest — and sometimes only — way to get in touch with businesses and receive up-to-date information. As a result, we saw call volumes across industries increase dramatically in March 2020.

Now, as restrictions have fluctuated over the months and differ depending on a consumer’s location, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. For example, retail consumers are calling to ask if certain products are in stock before they visit a store. Home services consumers want to know about the safety precautions employees take before they enter a customer’s home. Healthcare patients call to ask if providers have the capacity to perform elective procedures.

After analyzing millions of customer calls, we found that call volumes remained high across industries through the end of 2020. Retail experienced the highest spike in calls — it had 34% higher call volumes in December 2020 than in December 2019. Similarly, calls to real estate brokers were up 24% and calls to healthcare providers were up 20% year-over-year. See the full breakdown of call volume increases below:

Change in Inbound Call Volume in December 2020 vs December 2019
Industry Change in Call Volume
Automotive +6.72%
B2B +16.38%
Banking / Asset Management +19.40%
Healthcare +20.41%
Health Systems +15.44%
Physical Therapy +13.84%
Senior Care +5.22%
Home Services +2.03%
Insurance +8.20%
Real Estate +24.51%
Retail +34.42%

Let’s dive into why marketers should care about this continued increase in call volumes and the actions they should take. We’ll also delve into some of the data-driven strategies you can use to increase marketing ROI from inbound phone calls.

Get Credit for Call Conversions and Make Smarter Marketing Optimizations

Phone calls are often the most valuable conversions your digital marketing drives — in fact, 84% of marketers report phone calls have higher conversion rates with larger order values compared to other forms of engagement. The increase in calls in your industry may mean that your digital marketing is driving more sales calls — so it’s in your best interest to track the call conversions you’re driving so you can get credit and make smarter decisions to generate more of them.

But, without listening to each individual call, how can you quantify the number of sales calls your digital marketing is driving versus the number of calls inquiring about support issues or COVID-19 safeguards? Conversation intelligence solutions like DialogTech solve this common problem, analyzing phone conversations at scale, detecting if the call was answered, identifying if they were sales calls and if they converted, and tying them back to the marketing source that drove them.

DialogTech Real Estate Call Quality Report

DialogTech report showing the number of sales calls each marketing source drives

With this data, you can get credit for all the conversions your digital marketing is driving. In addition, you can understand the campaigns, ads, and keywords that are responsible for driving the most conversions — both online and over the phone. You can then allocate more budget to the channels, campaigns, and keywords that are truly driving the most ROI and understand what copy and creative is having the most impact.

Get Voice-of-the-Customer Insights From Calls

In 2021, things are still changing fast as we continue to grapple with COVID-19. State and city guidelines are shifting depending on case volumes and, as a result, consumer behavior is transforming rapidly. As a marketer, it can be difficult to understand what your consumers need and the barriers they face on their path to purchase in these turbulent times.

One of the best ways for marketers to understand customers and their needs is to go directly to the source. With conversation intelligence, marketers can listen to and read what consumers are saying about their business on inbound phone calls. Solutions like DialogTech provide searchable call transcriptions and recordings you can review and share with your team. Depending on your unique AI model, the solution can automatically flag keywords or events such as urgency, price sensitivity, sales inquiries, sales conversions, and much more.

Sample DialogTech call transcription — not actual customer data

These transcriptions and recordings can help you make critical optimizations to drive more customers and revenue. For example, as you listen to your customers you may discover that your hours of operation are out of date on your local listings — you could then make the appropriate changes. Or you may discover you’re failing to clearly communicate your COVID-19 safety precautions online. You could then feature this information prominently on your homepage. Or perhaps you discover a high demand for a new service you have yet to offer. For example, one of our in-home senior care customers received numerous calls inquiring about grocery delivery. They then added this service offering to better meet their customers’ needs.

Create Seamless Digital-to-Phone Experiences

As a marketer, the end-to-end customer experience falls on your shoulders. This should also include the experience people have when they call your business. Creating a seamless experience as consumers move from online research to a phone call to your business will help you ensure that the valuable phone leads your digital marketing drives get answered and converted. But with call volumes spiking year over year, creating a seamless call experience is more challenging than ever.

Conversation intelligence solutions like DialogTech help use AI to detect when calls are going unanswered and when hot leads fail to convert. Using this data as a guide, marketers leverage the call routing and interactive voice response (IVR) features of their conversation intelligence solution to create experiences that result in conversions.

Sample DialogTech report showing unanswered calls by time of day

Below are some examples of routing and IVR configurations you can use to improve caller experiences:

  • Route calls based on the marketing source (channel, campaign, ad, keyword, webpage) that drove the call
  • Have calls from your most valuable marketing sources jump to the front of the queue to get answered first
  • Route callers based on the geographic location they are calling from
  • Have calls forwarded to specific agents, locations, or IVRs based on your business hours
  • Ring multiple agents’ phones at the same time — the agent who picks up first gets the call
  • Reroute calls from a location missing calls to a call center (if you have one), a different location, or to an IVR to help assist callers
  • Route calls to agents’ cell phones or home phones if they’re working remotely

Additional Resources

Learn more about how conversation intelligence solutions can help you capitalize on rising call volumes with the resources below.

Want to ensure the marketing calls you’re driving to your agents and locations are getting answered? Download The Digital Marketer’s Playbook for Unanswered & Unconverted Calls.

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