weighing phone calls against form fills for conversionAre forms superior?

Yes. They offer scale the phone calls just can’t match, suit high-volume tasks really well, and work when the customer just wants to get something from you and your job is to, well, let them.

Are phone calls superior?

Yes. They offer immediacy, tend to convert at a higher percentage (35% according to a LogMyCalls research), and work well in low-volume environments where the margins are high and the cost for staffing is warranted.

So wait … they can’t both be superior, right? Wouldn’t that destroy the word’s meaning altogether?  So as much as you would hate to hear this, it’s still all about context.

Say you’re selling consumer SaaS at a few bucks per year. It’s all low-risk for the customers, and if things go wrong, well, they’ll just opt not to renew. The lower the risk, cost, and hassle, the more likely it is that form fills are better. You’re probably going to get more people jump from the attention and interest stage to the action phase when using forms.

Now consider the difference between someone selling Microsoft licenses to a medium to large organization. The form fills are not going to cut it – if things go wrong, jobs are on the line. The more critical the purchase, the higher the risks and costs associated are, the better the calls will do.

During a recent webinar, SiteTuners CEO Tim Ash and LogMyCalls CEO Jason Wells suggested offering both response mechanisms to cover the different use cases.  Optimizing your page for both calls and form fills may not increase conversion for both, but as long as you’re not hurting one to help the other, then that’s okay.

Tim and Jason shared tips to properly design a call/ form strategy:

    • Measure granularly with in-page analytics and call tracking.  Get into details of what’s happening and identifying which stage of the sales funnel your clients are coming in.

Call tracking:  Analyze the conversations to hear what they’re talking about.

Form fills: Track forms granularly. Companies like ClickTale offer very detailed form analytics – how long someone spent filling out a form, how many people left a form field blank (maybe they’re having confusion about it), etc.

    • Have appropriate micro-conversions for every funnel stage
    • Use progressive disclosure to collect info over time
    • Prioritize competing conversion goals based on value and context
    • Don’t confuse a phone number with a marketing qualified lead – It’s not an end-all, but with call tracking, you can match against phone numbers because calling tracking pumps data into the CRM. It gives you another data point that helps you match and understand where customers are calling from.

There are more takeaways from the Conversion SMACKDOWN webinar, but if you only have time for the condensed version, stay tuned.

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