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The Customer Journey: A Key Branding Opportunity Could Lead to More Meaningful Connections

How important is the phone call to your business? In today’s ever-evolving, digital world, the phone call is just as necessary as it ever was (thanks, Alexander Graham Bell!). People need meaningful connections, and some brands have been incredibly successful in creating that bond. What makes them so successful?

Digital connections (social media, emails, etc.) can feel cold and impersonal. The phone call, which can be used for multiple touchpoints, presents a perfect opportunity to fill the person-to-person connection void.

However, what if your customers or prospects don’t answer your phone call? Nearly 9 in 10 people (87 percent) say they don’t answer unknown phone calls. That’s a significant problem for businesses, no matter if they’re courting prospects or trying to retain loyal clients. Creating a connection with a brand begins with trust.

No matter where your connections are in the customer journey – you have the opportunity to build trust by branding your call.

Phone Calls and the Customer Journey

How important is the phone call? First Orion statistics show that 59% of customers rate the phone call as the most personal form of interaction when they cannot physically visit a retail store.

Whether you were selling items or services in 1921 or now in 2021 – the phone call remains an all-important piece of the business puzzle. What has changed – or vastly improved – is caller identification.

Think about your customers’ buying journey through each phase: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Service and Loyalty. You start by building your brand and reputation with them before they choose to partner with you; then, it’s about maintaining that trust and relationship so that you can keep those clients on board.  But if your callers don’t know who you are, it could mean fewer connections and fewer quality conversations about how you can help solve your clients’ biggest problem(s).

Branded Calling: Improving Connections at Each Stage of the Customer Journey

As marketing and sales professionals know, your brand matters. How much do you spend on radio, print, digital, and other forms of advertising? A phone call presents another outlet for you to promote and build trust with your brand at more cost-effective rates.

Now imagine making your next phone call using your name, messaging, corporate colors, and logo. Keep in mind, each client’s journey with your business is unique. Here’s how branded calling can vastly improve the consumer experience and increase quality connections each step of the way.

Stage 1: Awareness

Making a great first impression can set the tone for how people and businesses think about your company – if they think about your business at all.

NOTE: Before we go any further, let’s go ahead and eliminate cold calling. It’s undesirable, and it sets a bad first impression.

When people are learning about your company, they often start with a little bit of research. Perhaps they’ve downloaded your recent whitepaper, case study, or e-book, or signed up for a webinar. They want to know more about you.

If it’s a single event, they’re probably not ready for a conversation just yet. However, if they’ve created multiple hits and provided their phone number to access your gated content, they’re showing increased interest and may welcome a phone call.

If your number is anonymous, you’re likely getting sent to voicemail, and your opportunity to talk with the prospect significantly decreases. Now think about branding your call. The call recipient probably knows your company name now and perhaps even recognizes your brand.

When you brand your call, you remove the fear and anxiety people have about answering their phones. This leads to a meaningful connection, improves your brand reputation, and perhaps leads to a new client.

Customer Journey, Step 1: Awareness and Step 2: Consideration

Stage 2: Consideration

Your first impression went well, and now that prospect has you on the shortlist of potential partners. As you nurture them along, you need to continue making those connections. You need to let them know how your product or service is going to ease their pain points.

In this phase, potential customers are thirsty for more specific information as they learn more about your business and services. Over 75 percent of people prefer talking on the phone (as opposed to messaging) when they have long conversations and complicated questions. Branded calling is a major competitive advantage. If your opposition isn’t using this technology, you could have the upper hand on them. It gives your brand a little more heft and helps generate a more positive response to your company – particularly when you’re calling.

A branded call could be a major influence on their decision whether to talk to you. It’s a key piece in the power of persuasion.

Stage 3: Purchase

You’ve been working this prospect hard, and now you’re close to the finish line. The decision phase is arguably the most important in the customer journey. Will a person or company commit to you and choose to spend their money on your goods or services? According to a 2021 survey conducted by First Orion, 63% (more than 3 out of 5) people would consider taking their business to a retailer that identifies their calls.

When you’re about to seal the deal, the phone call could make or break the decision process. Will the prospect answer? Will they ignore your call and send you to voicemail? Are you confident enough to leave that decision in the hands of an anonymous call?

Branding your call will leave many of those doubts behind.

Customer Journey, Step 3: Purchase, Step 4: Service, Step 5: Loyalty

Stage 4: Service

A general rule of thumb is that it’s more cost-effective to keep clients onboard than recruit new clients. There are multiple reasons a company needs to stay in contact with a client.

Perhaps they’ve let an insurance policy lapse and the company needs to call to make sure the client re-ups. Or there is an overdue invoice that needs to be paid.

The client may have requested that customer service calls them – in fact, in the retail industry, 76 percent of people say that the phone call is essential to resolving their issues. Or an organization is raising money for an important campaign.

Remember that there are two parties in the relationship: you and your client. Building trust through the customer relationships can be facilitated via phone calls. Whether you’re calling to check in, following up on a support ticket, or selling additional plans and services, the branded phone call goes a long way towards easing that friction.

The client can know who is calling and why, leaving them more likely to pick up the phone and have those conversations.

Stage 5: Loyalty

Ok … you made it from the initial stages of a prospect checking you out to a satisfied client who’s willing to be your advocate. You could send surveys or introduce a loyalty program by email, or better yet, turn that touchpoint into a one-on-one discussion. Most importantly, you want to maintain their loyalty. Consider this – according to a First Orion survey, 70% of respondents said they’d leave their current bank for one that could properly identify their calls.

Keep in mind — there’s also a “cool” factor involved with branded calling. You make the call and your name and brand appear on the client’s phone. Imagine them showing off that level of service to their family members, friends, coworkers, and other people in their social network.

Is there anything more potent than a client vouching for you and your services?

First Orion Solutions

No matter where your client is on the customer journey, you can deliver a better experience and boost your company’s reputation with a branded call. The branded call is a point of connection that gives you the chance to resonate deeper with those contacts — whether they’re just getting started or if you’re checking in make sure everything is going okay.

First Orion offers branded calling via our INFORM and ENGAGE solutions. INFORM is text-based, displaying up to 32 characters on a device that can include your company name and a specific message. ENGAGE offers you a fully-branded experience with your name, an image or logo, colors, and messaging.

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