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Report Pegs Click-To-Call Commerce At More Than $1 Trillion Annually
Amazingly, one in five calls are abandoned by consumers due to hold times or other issues tied to poor phone customer service practices.
A new report from Marchex, based on an analysis of millions of calls and using ad-spending data from Google and call growth projections from BIA/Kelsey, argues that mobile “click-to-call commerce” is worth more than $1 trillion today.
Previously Marchex estimated that advertisers spend roughly $4 billion annually on paid-search-based click-to-call advertising. The chart below reflects the total value of transactions (as opposed to ad spending) impacted by mobile click-to-call.
Consider that e-commerce is marching toward $500 million (or more, depending on the source of the estimate). Consumers spend more than $11 trillion offline (the entire US GDP is $18 trillion). An increasing volume of that offline spending is being influenced by the internet, and mobile devices in particular.
Calls often stand between online research (increasingly mobile lookups) and offline transactions. This is where click-to-call comes in and where Marchex’s report seeks to illuminate the huge impact of smartphone-driven calls on real-world commerce.
The chart below reflects an analysis of the percentages of calls by vertical that result in a direct conversion or shopping research, which may then turn into an offline transaction. These inquiries include questions such as, “Is the item still available?,” “Do you have my size?,” “When is the next available appointment?” “What is the cost?,” and “Are you still open?”
The remainder of the calls, not reflected above, fall into the category of pure customer service, telemarketing/spam or other non-conversion or lead-based activity.
One of the fascinating discussions in the report involves what Marchex calls the “abandon” rate for calls. These are essentially calls terminated before a connection with a business or call center representative. Abandons can be caused by long hold times, voicemail, IVR frustrations and other issues.
The data below reflect that about 20 percent of calls — from an analysis of millions of calls — are abandoned. This is a remarkable number that shows how businesses (large and small) are leaving money on the table by not following good phone customer service and phone sales practices.
The final chart breaks down abandons by several verticals. Real estate and multi-family housing is the worst offender of the industries shown. Nearly a third of these calls are abandoned by consumers who are frustrated by hold times or other issues with the way calls are handled.
In the aggregate, these call abandons could represent billions of dollars annually in lost sales opportunities. The striking thing here is that these lost sales aren’t about optimized campaigns or landing pages or sophisticated cross-device targeting and analytics. It’s just about answering the phone and not keeping people waiting too long.
The full report contains a great deal more data and discussion. You can download it (registration required) here.