Discover The Easy But Hidden Way To Engage With More Customers And Get Ahead Of Your Competition
We’ve noticed a shift happening – customers are contacting businesses more and more with instant messaging, SMS text messages, and emails, and less with phone calls than they used to. This is great, but it comes with a catch! It’s super easy to know when your phone is ringing…but how do you know if you have a new message on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, or any other 3rd party messaging platform? Don’t let these customer inquiries slip through the cracks! In this weeks episode we share some tips and tricks to quickly engage with these customers, and win the sales that your competition is missing out on!
- There is a rise in the ratio of non-phone call communications for customer contact from websites
- Phone calls remain the most popular method of contacting local companies for service requests
- Often times businesses are slower to reply to emails than they are in handling phone calls
- Customers can easily contact many businesses via email in short order
- If you can promptly reply to emails, you will stand out above the competition
- Customers can also contact you via Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and other 3rd party messaging methods
- You can use screen recording apps (like Loom) to record a message, and link to it in your message replies
- Many customers choose messaging over a phone call so they can have a one-way conversation and avoid talking to a salesperson
- Strategically reply to messaging with smart and informative answers, communicating your points where relevant
- Emails and messages are easily shared by customers, so your replies should take that into consideration
- Instant messages are much more intimate and less likely to get lost in the shuffle, compared to emails or phone calls
- Messaging platforms like Yelp and Facebook will display your response (reply) time – a slow response time can turn customers away, and a fast response can gain you new customers
- Find all your communication inputs and understand how and where you are getting new leads from
- Use Google My Business to enable messaging (SMS) direct from your GMB listing
- Use Twilio or Intrycks Call Tracking to integrate SMS on your business phone numbers
- Integrate a live chat feature on your website to provide easy and immediate customer interactions
- Make sure you have a quote form or contact form on your website that is easy to find and easy to use
Thanks for Listening!
Here is a preview of the transcription from Episode 28 More Customers Are Contacting You Via Messaging So Optimize Your Business To Take Advantage;
Jesse: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics. Jesse Dolan here with Bob Brennan, as always.
And this week, we’re going to talk to you about something we’ve been noticing with our business and some of our clients, is emails versus phone calls. We live in a fast-paced society. About how old is the iPhone? 10 years? Somewhere in that range, something like that?
Bob: 2008. Yep.
Jesse: Really, in the last 10 years, especially, I mean, things have advanced at a crazy pace for communications, and how we communicate with ourselves. How we communicate with businesses. And we want to kind of dive into that topic today, because we’ve just been seeing this data staring us in the face, and we think it’s relevant for everybody out there.
So, this isn’t exactly an SEO ranking episode, but it is something that’s all about conversions. And I think it’ll help you in a tangential way for your rankings, by way of having better click-through rates, more traffic to your website, it’s going to drive your rankings with the signals to Google. But this is definitely something about handling those customers and converting those customers to win more business, which is obviously extremely relevant to all of us in business, too, just like the rankings on SEO.
So what we’re talking about here is, I think everybody knows one of our cornerstones that we use in marketing is tracking phone calls. So we have tons of data website-by-website, customer-by-customer, for our properties, for our customers’ properties, on how many phone calls we’re getting. And unique phone calls, at that. Per month, per year, per quarter. And we’ve started to notice a slow and steady decrease in the number of phone calls. Also, at the same time, a slow and steady rise in the number of non-phone call communications.
Jesse: A number of months back, we were looking at this, saying, “What the heck is going on?”. Some stuff didn’t make sense for web traffic, for revenues generated by phone calls dropping. And as we dug deeper into it, it’s all these non-phone call related metrics that are stacking up, which are a lot harder to put analytics behind, right?
Jesse: You got so many different ways people can contact you now. For phone calls, it’s super easy. There’s one dashboard, here’s all the phone calls that come in. There’s a lot of dashboards for all of this other stuff. So…
And we should give a quick asterisk here, too. Phone calls are still, by far away, the most dominant part right now of any communications. For anything we deal with.
As a side note, we’ve talked about this in some other episodes, make sure your phone number, no matter what you think after hearing some of this conversation here and what you maybe want to re-do on your website, your phone number should stare people in the face, it should be a color that’s bold, that’s sticky. It should be on there at the top of your page, at the bottom of your page. It should almost always be visible scrolling. If you can, it’s by far the most popular way that people communicate with businesses so … Take everything else here with an asterisk to that. Phone calls are still the most important.
But, there’s a shift happening, right?
Jesse: And for our company and for some of our customers that we coach, this has been something that’s kind of hidden. So when a phone call comes in, we’ve been training this for decades now right? The phone rings, go grab it. Two, three, four rings, you don’t seem anxious. Like “Oh, that was four rings. I’d better get there,” right?
And from the customer’s side, you start getting that third, fourth ring, you’re like, “Are they there? Is anybody here?” That’s how instantly we expect to get served, right? Now inversely, if you’re in business, a phone call rings, you’re on the phone, you get an email that comes in in your in-box, another phone call comes. You might handle three, four, five phone calls, and then you get to that email, right? Was that customer any less important on the email? No. It’s still a customer with the same inquiry. Nowadays, we’re just used to being able to send messages now.
So the first thing that we want to talk about is, find a way to make emails important. Sometimes you can have an audio alert on your emails, just a simple ding or “You’ve Got Mail,” back in the day. But that’s it. Your phone keeps ringing. Right? An email, if you even have it turned on, which a lot of times it’s not, you use your one ding and then it’s done. That customer may have wanted a quick reply. And to a certain extent, if you’re on Google, searching for a product or service, you can email three, four, five companies really quick. Right? It takes a lot longer to call somebody and engage with them on a phone call.
If you get an email from somebody asking about a product or a service or a price quote, it’s possible they emailed three or four other people with almost simultaneous-
Bob: And I think we’ve all been down that road where we’ve done it ourselves. I need a garage door. I send out three or four emails to a couple of different garage door companies and no kidding man, I get a call a week or two later, “Hey, you want to …” No, the deal’s done. It’s a $3200 garage door. Sorry bud, you’re late to the game. So and that kind of dovetails into, from what I’ve witnesses over time, and with the evolution of technology, we’re very comfortable emailing from our phones.
Bob: Right? You’re in the doctor’s office, you’re waiting for your x-ray or whatever it is … Man, I’m going to bang out an email and get that thing done. And so that’s, things are accelerating, our life is accelerating, we’re sending out emails in the bathroom or whatever the deal is. We’re trying to get stuff done. And we’re expecting that level of performance or responsiveness from a vendor or a company we’re trying to do work with.
Jesse: This is completely unsexy, but I had something that was parallel to some of your doctor’s office and bathroom talk there. I kind of felt like it was a small victory for me from an efficiency standpoint here. I was in the doctor’s office with my son the other day. He got a sports physical for going to school. And while we were waiting, I emailed a company to get my septic tank pumped.
Jesse: See the connection there?
Bob: That’s country …
Jesse: It is country. That’s real life. But quite literally after I did that, I was like, sweet. Like I had nothing else I was doing outside of reading the Sports Illustrated. I’ve been needing to get ahold of these people. I meant to call them, but I’m not going … I thought of it right now. I was like, I can handle this. I’m not going to call them because we may need to go in in just a second here. Literally banged out an email to them real quick trying to get some service set up to come take care of that. Within 15 seconds I was done. So I didn’t email them because I didn’t want to socially interact with them. I’m not adverse to that. It was just a speed and a convenience thing for me. But I could multi-task. I could do this thing real quick.
And like you said, because I had my phone in my hand which is a fairly new convention for us still, with that this little septic pumping company, a few days later I got a phone call which was what I expected. I just wanted to initiate that. But if this is more of a local service … Like this-
Bob: It all goes downhill, doesn’t it?
Jesse: It does all go downhill. But with this, I wasn’t shopping septic companies. I didn’t expect this speed of service, but back to our point … If somebody’s on Google searching and they fill out maybe some contact forms on your website or they just e`mail you off your website, your speed of contacting them back can win or lose you business in the same way that answering the phone or not did. And in business, I think we’re not quite caught up yet to operating in that speed. Or at least most of us out there.
And I think this is an area that our listeners and everybody out there … If you can start to put some focus on this, and some of this we’re going to talk about here, you can get ahead of the pack in your local area. There’s no way that everybody’s going to be operating at this speed, or give these things this kind of credence. If everybody listening, challenge yourself for the same scenarios we’re talking about where we get these responses hours or days or even weeks later. On emails or contact forms you submitted, that’s kind of the proof that you needed. How’s that being handled in your business?
Jesse: How important is it? And let’s compound this for a minute. You have Facebook, you’ve got Twitter, you’ve got Yelp, what else? LinkedIn …
Bob: Facebook Messenger …
Jesse: Google My Business. Yeah. This is not just a phone call and email thing. This is a phone call and non-phone call for communications. So even if somehow you were to set up some kind of audio alert on your email, well, it rang like a phone call would ring until you replied or opened the email, which I don’t know if that exists. If it does exist somebody contact us at intrycks.com/show, we can sit here and talk about that because that would be an awesome solution.
But even if that did exist, that’s just for email. What if somebody hits you up on your Facebook page and offers a post, or contacts you through Yelp. How do you make that some kind of constant or in your face alert to get handled in the same speed as phone calls because … Take Yelp especially. That’s a marketplace. In a sense, it’s not, technically I know. But people on there are not just searching for things, they’re looking to buy or to shop or to pay money somewhere. They can definitely fire off their issue to two or three companies real quick and if you’re not getting back to them quickly, somebody else did and you’re done.
Bob: That’s a good point. If somebody had a product, they could agglomerate all those and just ring your bell every time something happens, you’re in good shape. And I can speak to email leads in that in a business sense, you always kind of … Email leads that come off a form, we always kind of looked at them and, “Ah, if they’re that lazy … And all they want to do is an email and they don’t want to pick up the stupid phone and talk to me, how bad do they really want it.” I’m not going to waste my time or whatever the deal is.
Well, guess what? All that shifted probably a long time ago, but we have a whole generation that they, a lot of them don’t have cell plans. In the conventional sense it’s all data. And they don’t want to talk to anybody and this is how they communicate. So you’ve got to respond and then you’ve got to respond accordingly. And this brings up a topic … You may want to cut this later or whatever, I don’t know-
Jesse: Here it comes-
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