Some of the best research comes from a live connection, and ours comes in the form of thousands of calls.
Dial800 receives over 100,000 misdials to our toll-free number inventory each month, with people trying to reach credit card companies, retailers like JCPenney, the Home Shopping Network, cell phone companies, and hundreds of other random companies. While redirecting callers to their intended destination, a few questions are also asked about their call behavior to help marketers improve decisions when choosing toll-free numbers.
What we found may be a little surprising and is definitely worth reading before planning your next phone number and your next ad campaign.
In our first round of tests, we questioned 1,684 callers, and had 83% answer at least one question about trustworthy contact information and about how they respond to advertisements.
Customer trust is key to any company, and we found that respondents trust 800 prefix numbers more than other toll free prefixes. They also said companies with a .com website were viewed as more trustworthy than companies with a .net website.
Advertisements can lead to accidental calls of our 800 numbers, especially when the advertiser prompts customers to call an 877 number. While it is always great news that a potential customer is responding to an ad, marketers should consider misdials when selecting toll-free numbers, especially given the credibility that an 800 number lends.
We also asked callers how they respond to television and radio ads when they want to make a purchase. For TV advertising, 51% of our respondents said they call the number on the screen, while 49% will search for a company’s website first. Radio ads are slightly more likely to drive traffic to your website, 54% versus 46% calling your toll-free number.
These findings capture a market segment that is typically tough to get a hold of: customers unsuccessfully trying to reach a service. These customers, who already have shown they’re willing to call, are more likely to trust a company that uses familiar contact information: 800 numbers and .com websites. The ability to visually showing consumers your number and your products, with TV ads, also increases the chances they will call.
But what would it mean if these potential customers saw your ads, but still reached our 800 numbers by mistake? If they’re new customers, would they try a second time to reach a number they already have trouble remembering? The best way to earn their trust, and avoid their frustration, is to be the voice at the other end of the phone when they try to call.
With survey responses like these, your potential customers are giving you crystal-clear reasons to select a memorable phone number that will not only improve response rates, but also build consumer trust and cut down your rate of misdials.
Update 8/2019 – This study was conducted Summer 2013, check back soon for updated case study comparing online ads using a toll free number CTA against those pushing for online form submissions.