You’ve probably called a business before itching to lay down some serious cash only to get booted to voicemail or get put on perma-hold. All you can think is “why won’t you take my money?!” as you click on the next Google search result in the hopes for better service. You might also think “I know MY company picks up the phone when people call.” Unfortunately, you’re probably wrong.
We’ve found that about 26% of calls never get answered, according to Invoca customer platform data. In some industries, the unanswered call rate is over 60%.
We also found that qualified leads that come in over the phone convert at an average rate of 41%. And don’t go thinking that you can rely on voicemails to follow up on these missed opportunities — less than 3% of callers who get pushed to voicemail actually leave a message. Once a call goes unanswered, you’ve probably frustrated that customer and lost them forever.
So if you’re missing a quarter or more of your sales calls, you’re wasting marketing spend and missing out on a ton of revenue.
Why Missed Sales Calls Matter to Marketers
I know you might be thinking “that’s the call center or that business location’s problem.” It’s true, their KPIs depend on answering calls and handling them properly. But the call experience is also critical to driving conversions from your digital marketing if you’re spending ad budget driving leads to the phone.
This means that if you’re a marketer or if you’re in charge of digital strategy, you still have to care about this experience, because you can have the most awesome campaigns the best eCommerce site ever, but if your contact center is providing a bad experience, it’s gonna tank your conversion rate and waste that precious ad budget.
The Marketing Cost of Missed Calls
To make it clear why missed calls matter to marketers, here’s how much budget you might be wasting driving calls that never get answered.
If we just look at what you might be losing on paid search, the numbers are pretty staggering. This example is based on an Invoca Automotive customer that gets 1.2 million calls per month, with about 70% of those calls attributable to paid search. The average Google CPC in automotive is $2.46. And on average, 23% of calls to automotive businesses don’t get answered.
That equates to $53,000 a month down the tubes just on Google Ads. Any and all attributable advertising from social media to direct mail and other customer acquisition costs that precede a phone call will make this number significantly higher in reality.
Of course, this is a problem that not a lot of marketers think about. You just figure that when customers call, someone answers the freaking phone, and that’s a totally logical conclusion! But calls go unanswered, get missed, or dropped — there are a lot of things that can lead to a potential customer never reaching an agent. And it’s not just marketing budget that takes a hit, it has an even bigger impact on revenue.
The True Revenue Cost of Missed Sales Calls
Just how much revenue are you missing out on because sales calls aren’t being answered? It’s probably more than you think.
To put this in perspective, we have a customer that’s a large automotive repair and tire retailer with over 1,200 locations across North America. They get over 670,000 calls per month with a healthy 40% sales opportunity conversion rate, so they’re doing a huge amount of volume and there’s tons of potential in every one of the calls they get.
Like most businesses, they were unaware of the volume of calls that were going unanswered across all their locations. Using Invoca, they found that they were missing over 8,000 calls per month. With an average $220 ticket value per call, that was a huge leak in the funnel. Actually, it was a $16 million a year leak in the funnel.
This means that you need to have visibility into whether or not calls that your campaigns are driving are being answered. Here’s how you can get that visibility, reduce missed call rates, and turn missed calls into revenue opportunities with Invoca Lost Sales Recovery.
Get Visibility Into Missed Call Rates
By using voice energy detection, Invoca Lost Sales Recovery Signals can identify whether or not the calls were answered by an agent, if the call was sent to voicemail, or if a voicemail was left. It can detect these events with over 90% accuracy right out of the gate. Check out this blog post or watch the video below to learn more about how it works.
Having visibility into unanswered calls is the key to uncovering hidden issues like understaffing, ineffective or malfunctioning IVRs, or a phone system that’s dropping calls. Once you know why calls aren’t being answered you can address the issues, reduce the volume of unanswered calls, and follow up on any calls that are still missed.
Lost Sales Recovery isn’t just a tool for sales leaders to increase close rates, it also enables marketers to see how many quality calls their campaigns are driving and how increased answer rates and conversion rates can translate into better marketing performance.
Reduce Missed Calls at Business Locations and the Contact Center
Once you have visibility into your missed call rates, your first course of action should be to dig into the causes. Here are a few common causes to look out for.
Understaffed call center or business locations
If there’s a particular time or day of the week when unanswered call rates spike, check to see if this aligns with increased call volumes. If so, you’re likely looking at an understaffed call center or business location that can’t handle the spikes in calls. To solve this, they may need to adjust their staffing schedules to make sure more calls can get answered.
Marketing campaigns driving calls during off-hours
This may also lead you to discover that you’re getting a lot of calls after hours or days where the business is closed. This can be the result of ad campaigns that are running during off-hours. To prevent this, you can create ad schedules in Google Ads and other ad platforms to make sure that they are only running during business hours so you’re not wasting ad spend on driving calls that can't be answered. Don’t forget to adjust your ad schedule to account for any difference in your target customers' time zone!
Lack of alignment between sales and marketing
Another potential source of call volume spikes can be new ad campaigns running that the call center or business locations are unaware of. This is a prime reason that marketing, sales, and business locations need to be in alignment. Conversation intelligence platforms like Invoca enable visibility across these teams so everyone knows what campaigns are running, when call volumes are highest, and when staffing levels need to be adjusted.
Technical issues causing dropped calls and hangups
Technical issues may also be at fault. Calls may be misrouted or the IVR could be set up improperly sending customers into an infinite loop of frustration and causing them to hang up before speaking with someone. We had a customer using Lost Sales Recovery who saw a pattern of dropped calls, and after checking their IVR, they found that it was randomly switching between English and Spanish! Without insight into their missed call rates, they may have never spotted the problem.
No incentive to increase call answer rates
A great way to increase your call answer rate is to incentivize performance, which works particularly well for businesses with multiple locations. The store managers and employees are likely to be responsive to some friendly competition between business locations. Of course, bonuses always help heat up the competition, too! With visibility into missed call rates from the store level to the main office, everyone has the data they need to measure and incentivize performance to drive more revenue and improve the customer experience.
Prioritize and Follow Up on Missed Sales Opportunities
Of course, even the most effective call centers, multi-location businesses, and franchise locations are going to miss some calls. Since so few of these potential customers will leave voicemail messages, you need a way to follow up on the calls and prioritize if and how you will reconnect with them.
With Invoca Lost Sales Recovery, you get real-time dashboards and reports that give you the ability to prioritize your missed sales calls by combining your Lost Sales Recovery Signal data with other critical data like:
- Digital intent: If the customer called from a checkout page or an ad that shows high purchase intent, follow up right away. If they called from a help page, follow-up can be delegated to customer service. Hundreds of digital intent data points can be used to prioritize call follow-up.
- IVR Keypresses: Missed calls can be prioritized if the caller keyed to be directed to the sales department, or ignored if they were looking for business hours or locations.
You can also use this data to nurture lower-intent calls, whether or not they connected with an agent. Just because somebody wasn't calling to make a purchase right that second doesn’t mean that they will never become a customer. Though they probably won’t become a customer if you ignore them. While you don’t want to spend time calling everyone back, you can place lower-intent callers on your newsletter list or send them email promos to maintain their engagement and awareness of your brand. I mean, who doesn’t like a good coupon?
Are you ready to turn missed calls into revenue opportunities? Schedule a personalized consultation today to learn more about Invoca AI-powered conversation intelligence and Lost Sales Recovery.