Electronic Retailer - February 2012 - (Page 51)

BY SCOTT RICHARDS Stop Losing Thousands of Leads CHANNEL CROSSING: TELESERVICES You could be losing thousands of precious inbound telephone leads a year and not even know it. The reason? Misdials. The vast majority of misdials are due to callers automatically dialing 800 when another prefix such as 866, 877 or 888 was advertised. This is a problem that is easily remedied and can result in substantial increases in response and sales. As the phone was answered and I began to explain I was looking for the ASPCA, the person on the other end launched into an anguished rant about how my inquiry was a wrong number. After clarifying my real purpose, they explained that they were a family business of jewelers who forwarded their calls to their home on weekends and holidays. On a regular basis, they were awoken by misdials in the middle of the night from distraught pet owners who had misdialed their 800 number rather than the ASPCA’s 888 number. You may wonder, wouldn’t callers simply redial the correct number? No doubt, in the case of a poisoned pet. But what about a scenario where someone has decided to call about a product on impulse? They may go online and begin price shopping or even checking out the competition instead of placing an order. Marketers need to strike while the iron is hot, and the solution to this problem is easy. The 800-Prefix is Programmed in Peoples’ Brains How can misdials possibly be so prevalent when advertisers go out of their way to communicate the proper tollfree number to call both visually and aurally? Because the 800-prefix is already programmed in peoples’ brains. The problem lies with the sheer amount of information that consumers are trying to process. Pundits estimate that the average consumer receives more than 6,000 advertising and marketing messages on a daily basis. As a result, they look for shortcuts to assimilate and compartmentalize an overwhelming amount of data. So when a consumer hears the term “toll-free,” his or her shortcut or default is to assume that the number being advertised is an 800 number. Simply put, 800 is to toll-free what dot-com is to the internet. Want proof? Ryan Seacrest, the host of American Idol repeats the number to call and vote – (866) IDOLS-02 – about five times per show. Nevertheless, as reported in the New York Times, about 250,000 viewers accidently dialed the wrong number, (800) IDOLS-02, significantly skewing the voting outcome. The problem of misdials exists not only in broadcast media. Below are just a few examples of monthly misdial activity pulled from our database. Multiply the number of misdials a month by a year’s worth and the problem compounds into tens, even hundreds of thousands of potentially lost leads annually. Big Rewards for Pennies The simplest way to correct this problem is to only use 800-prefix toll-free numbers when advertising. In most instances, the incremental cost is pennies on the dollar compared to what you will recoup in leads and sales. Direct marketers are constantly striving to improve their results through offer and creative testing, telemarketing scripting, media planning and buying and the like – so why wouldn’t you optimize the ability for your consumer to recall and accurately reach you? As the saying goes, the numbers do not lie. In the end, it is the marketers’ decision and using 800-prefix numbers exclusively is simply the right call. Scott Richards is CEO of Dial800, specialists in marketing optimization. Dial800’s tool suite includes RapidRecall, the industry’s largest bank of numerically memorable 800 numbers and AccuRoute, state-of-theart intelligent call routing. He can be reached at 1-800DIAL-800 or at scott.richards@Dial800.com. Take Misdialing for a Test Drive One agency head questioned this assertion regarding the superiority of 800-numbers, so I put it to the test: I chose Trying to Product one of the agency’s clients, the Reach? ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Pre-Paid Cell Center. Its website says: “If you SmartTalk Phone think that your pet may have Frontier Phone ingested a potentially poisonous Communications Company substance, call (888) 426-4435.” Metro I purposely called the 800 numHealthcare Healthcare ber, (800) 426-4435, not the 888 Ebay Shopping number, to see who answered. Number Called (Misdial) (800) 430-CELL (800) FRONTIER (800) 780-7000 (800) 540-3229 Correct Number (877) 430-CELL (888) FRONTIER (806) 780-7000 (866) 540-3229 Monthly Misdials 64,000 4,866 1,510 1,326 February 2012 | electronicRETAILER 51 http://www.electronicretailermag.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - February 2012

Calendar of Events - Upcoming Industry Events February through May
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports - Connect, Collaborate and Discover with MyERA
FTC Forum - Where the FTC Says Facebook Went Wrong
eMarketer Research - Who is the U.S. Hispanic Market?
IMS Retail Rankings - The Top 25 Shows and Spots
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories - The Top 5 Shows and Spots and the Top 3 Categories
Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index - Index for 30, 60 and 120 Seconds
Ask the Expert - Who Says Kids’ Products Don’t Sell on DRTV?
From the Executive’s Desk - Create the Complete Package
DR Disruption
Bienvenido a Miami!
Interactive TV: Just a Click Away
What Your Consumer Says About You Matters
Guest Viewpoint - For Hispanic Vote, the Campaign is On
Guest Viewpoint - Own Your Own Online Media
DRTV - Supporting Retail: Is This the Answer?
Fulfillment - Are You Delivering a Great Customer Experience?
Teleservices - Stop Losing Thousands of Leads
Member Spotlight
Advertiser Spotlight - Highlighting This Month’s Advertisers
Bulletin Board - DG and Discovery Launch Digital Distribution System
Advertiser Index
Rick Petry - MINI Me

Electronic Retailer - February 2012