Increase conversions by posting a phone number on your website

I see business making two key mistakes over and over again.  1 – Not posting their phone number prominently on their webpage because they don’t think they can provide phone support and 2 – Not providing a phone number because they’re an online only service/business.

While I may be biased, there have been several studies done which show websites that prominently display a phone number have higher conversion rates. Most companies realize that the trust factor goes up when they post a contact number clearly on the front page of their site. It’s common sense, really. So why don’t they do it? In my experience working with new companies and individuals working on their side projects I have learned that the ones that don’t put a phone number on the site wish they could but don’t have the tools to effectively manage the phone calls that might come in.

Having a phone number doesn’t mean you need a phone

If you’re running a side project and don’t have any staff and you’re working at your day job 9-5 providing phone support might seem impossible. It’s not. With the right combination of automated phone system and callback setup you can confidently post a phone number, handle most calls automatically and only be interrupted for the urgent issues. It’s also possible to integrate your phone number with your ticketing system so that a caller can leave a message and it’s transcribed into an email or ticket and once you’ve replied the customer can get a call back with the resolution. All without you ever picking up the phone.

13% of “online” sales happen offline

One of the products we sold when I owned an Internet Service Provider was a wifi hotspot kit for coffee shops, hotels, and other similar locations. The system was pretty straight forward and not very expensive. We spent a lot of time optimizing the website for sales and had a very robust knowledge base and support section. The hotspot kits were also targeted towards a certain vertical in the hospitality industry, so they should just sell themselves. I was wrong.

Quickly after launch it was clear that sales were not going well. We got a few online orders, a handful of emails, and that was it despite pretty solid traffic some very good reviews. I also noticed that many of the email inquiries we got were asking for a phone number to call to ask some questions about the product. From the calls we got from the email it was clear that nothing the potential customers were asking wasn’t already listed on the website or couldn’t be answered in a quick email or online chat. It seems that some people just want to talk to someone before they buy.

As a result of this we updated the website to prominently list a phone number. It was automated and only routed the caller out to one of us after providing a few options for automated information and troubleshooting. Here’s the first month’s call breakdown:

  • 23 total calls
  • 11 were fully automated and never spoke to a person.
  • of the 12 that routed to a live person, 9 were new sales inquiries
  • 7 of the 9 purchased over the phone ($1,260 in revenue)

At the end of the first month our overall sales were up 13% as a result of adding a phone number to our site.  Sure some of the customers that bought over the phone would have purchased only online given no other choice, but the fact that they did end up buying over the phone means that given the choice (our competitor could have a phone number on their site) they prefer to finalize the purchase “offline”.

If you’re interested in building the same type of automated response platform for your company, check out Building Phone Applications. You can build the same IVR platform yourself with the examples in the book and a free Plivo account.


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