Phone Bookings waste time – 3 tips for moving online

Getting your customers to book your services is the end goal of any marketing activity. The majority of business owners try to achieve this by getting to know their customers, and making themselves available to answer all of their questions and concerns. However, eventually phone bookings will be a huge waste of energy.


This tactic, with its personal touch, makes a lot of sense when you’re starting out and just have a handful of customers. However as you grow, you can end up getting trapped in a cycle of communication and reassurance with your customers. You find yourself spending hours a day on the phone; booking appointments, reminding customers of your meeting, giving directions, and confirming times.

Being on the phone is a huge waste of energy for businesses. Not only does it limit customers to scheduling meetings during business hours, it also makes interactions way longer than they need to be just to book an appointment. And this is why so many companies are turning to online booking systems.

Getting your customers used to the idea of booking online can be difficult if they are in the habit of calling your business and talking to humans. However, with an easy to use booking system in place, it will only take one visit to convince them of the benefits of booking your services online.

Here are 3 tips on how to get your customers off the phone and booking online without losing any business while doing so.

1. Make Booking Online Easier Than Phoning You

The main reason why people prefer talking on the phone to booking online is because they find online booking options confusing or unreliable.

However, phone bookings is time consuming for you and your customer, and adds extra steps and hassles that are much more easily avoided by booking via an online form. However, if your website does not make booking online as easy, intuitive, and clear as possible, your customers will not trust the system and will continue to call.

The key to encouraging your customers to book online is to make the experience something they are comfortable doing– even more comfortable than being on the phone. The best way to do this is to use booking software that has an intuitive interface and is easy to use.

Booking software like Book Like A Boss do just this. By providing an interface that feels familiar to anyone who’s used Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, Book Like A Boss makes booking your services easy with a visual aid of a calendar already on the page.

By creating a separate booking page that people feel comfortable with, and making the process easy and intuitive, you will ease your customers into trusting the experience of booking with you.

2. Answer FAQs On Your Web Page

Another common reason customers call a business is because they have questions that they can’t find the answer to online. The best way to avoid this is to have an FAQ page that is actually helpful.

Many FAQ pages feel out of date, poorly put together, and of no real help to the customer. Make sure you have an FAQ page that is regularly updated answers common questions, and offers a reliable email address where customers can ask additional questions.

Don’t make the FAQ page so long that customers have to dig through it in order to find answers, but make sure it gets to the meat of common booking issues. If you take the time to create a truly useful FAQ page, you will cut the amount of phone calls you need to take and save yourself time and money.

3. Confirmation Messages Reassure Your Customer

If you offer online booking services, you need to make sure that your customers receive confirmation and reminder messages that reassure them that they booked successfully.

All online booking services should come with an instant confirmation email that is sent to your customer’s email address, confirming their appointment and reminding them of their time so that they don’t have any doubt. It’s also helpful to send out reminder emails a few days before the appointment in order to remind and reassure your customer.

These little details will make a big difference to new customers that want to be sure the online service worked the way it was supposed to. And, they will also reduce the amount of phone calls you get from people wanting to be reassured by talking to a person.

Succeeding in moving your booking services online is all about creating a system that is intuitive, reliable, and comprehensive. If you make sure your online booking is a positive experience, you will see that your customers prefer it to the hassle of phone calls.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Len is a tech and business writer who covers small business and startup advice and has appeared in many print and digital publications. He lives in London, UK, where he's also a sub editor on a national newspaper. He loves to travel and has lived in France, Spain, Senegal and Rwanda.

What’s Your Web Traffic Like?

Most clients who I talk to have Google Analytics hooked up to their site. My typical client, never looks at it, and those who do scan some top line numbers, like visits, new traffic and time spent on the site. What they don’t realize is if they dig a bit deeper in their web traffic, there is a wealth of advice waiting to be had in Google Analytics


I want to break down a client of mine’s web traffic for you. So far this month my client has seen 1,569 sessions on their web site. The traffic is meeting their expectations, but the conversions are lower than expected. So we jumped into Google Analytics to see if we could understand what’s going on.

Behavior Flow

We started off looking at Behavior Flow. This client is getting traffic from social media campaigns, email campaigns, and organic traffic, and Behavior Flow shows us what people do when they arrive on the site, based on the traffic source. We saw pretty quickly that their email recipients were much more likely to stay on the site, and click through to the inner pages that we needed.

The social media people, however, were floundering. Nearly 90% didn’t click on anything, and of those who did, we were seeing just a handful arrive at our registration page. Our first impression was that we needed to re-evaluate our social campaign, because if 90% are dropping off, we’re probably missing our target market.

Acquisition

Our next stop was the acquisition tab, where we looked at how our social media campaigns were performing. Our campaign URLs all have UTM codes, so it was pretty simple to see which campaigns were bringing in traffic that led to conversions, and which campaigns were total duds.

Acquisition was helping confirm our suspicion that we needed to adjust some things in our social media campaign. However, it was more nuanced than our initial impression. Our campaigns were all targeting the same audience, and since some were more successful than others, it seemed that the issue wasn’t our target audience, but was probably ensuring that the messaging in the ads was supported by the landing page. Canceling or adjusting some social media creatives would probably increase conversions.

Device

Our last stop flipped all our thinking. We compared the difference between our mobile and desktop traffic. Our web traffic was 53% desktop, 47% mobile, but our conversions were 85% desktop, 15% mobile.

We looked deeper and found that nearly 80% of our social media traffic was coming in on mobile devices, and 90% of them were dropping off without clicking a single thing. When we compared social mobile traffic to email mobile traffic, we found the same low conversion rates. However, most of our email recipients are older, and they were arriving to the site via desktop, not mobile.

It was clear that while we needed to adjust some of the campaigns, the real issue here was the mobile experience. My client has a responsive site, but the mobile site loads slowly, and the user experience was never really considered. It was basically a modified version of the desktop site.

Now, my client has a decision to make. They can stop advertising on channels that cater to mobile users, and keep their website as is. Or they can completely rethink the mobile experience, and deliver mobile-friendly content to their mobile visitors.

As the world moves more and more mobile, it should be an easy decision to make.

How To Create Your First Hot Traffic Campaign

In the previous two articles we discussed cold traffic and warm traffic ad campaigns. If you haven’t already, jump over to those articles to get caught up.

(pro tip: hold down CTRL when you click the links to have them open in a new tab while still staying on this screen)

Now we are going to dive into Hot Traffic Ad Campaigns. This is the shortest section of the three and the last part of our funnel. Here we are going to re-market through the funnel to turn one-time buyers into multi-buyers.

Created byRobert McMillin

What’s the definition of Hot Traffic?

Mine is: “They know you, they like you and they have ‘shopped’ you before.”

If you’ve heard of the “Pareto Principle” you’ll be familiar with the 80/20 concept. Eighty percent of results will come from twenty percent of your actions. The principle applies to many things and here it applies to your customers. If you retarget throughout your funnel you’ll find that twenty percent of your customers or leads will account for eighty percent of your revenue.

This may be the shortest section in the series but it is, in my opinion, the most important.

One of the hardest things you’ll do is capture new customers for your business. One of the stupidest things many businesses do is they sell then abandon that customer in the pipeline, mark them as a conversion and move on to fresh leads.

That’s a mistake.

Many customers, once you’ve created authority and provided exceptional value, would be all too happy to purchase from you again.

Consider it for a moment…

You’ve done the hardest part. You’ve gotten them to (along with a few other things) take their credit card out of their pocket, put their info into your payment form and checkout.

Why would you not leverage this to provide more value, ascend the customer to a multi-buyer and create a scalable and repeatable process for increasing your customers lifetime value?

After considering you’re now faced with another question…

Will my business do the stupidest thing (not retarget throughout the funnel) after they’ve already done the hardest thing (capture and convert new leads into customers)?

When the it’s framed like that the answer is an obvious “no”, right? With that said…

Let’s get started with your Hot Traffic Ad campaign setup

Step 1: Navigate to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and export a list of your buyers in a Comma-Separated Values (CSV) spreadsheet. All customer relationship management software has the option to export a list of your buyers

Step 2: Head over to your Facebook Ads Manager and navigate to “Audiences” like in the image below.

Facebook ads manager

Step 3: Once you’ve navigated to the “Audience” section of your Facebook Ads dashboard click “Create Audience” and select “Custom Audience” (like in the Warm Traffic Campaign) See the image below for more details.

Custom Audience

Step 4: Here’s what we’re going to do different than what we did in the Warm Traffic Campaign. We’re going to create a custom audience using the “Customer File” option. Here we’ll upload the comma-separated values (CSV) sheet to Facebook.

Here you will match the fields (First Name, Last Name, Email etc.) of your customer file. Facebook will then create a custom audience and match that data with those users on Facebook. This allows you to retarget and market to your known buyers on Facebook and gives you the opportunity to turn them into multi-buyers.

Bonus: Depending on your volume. You will be able to also create a lookalike audience of buyers. You won’t be targeting them for your multi-buyer campaign, because they are, after all, not yet buyers. However, they have a high likelihood of being buyers in the future based on the fact they are very similar to your known buyers. These would be great candidates for your Cold and Warm traffic campaigns and will have a higher probability of converting.

The Hot Traffic Offer

Our goal is to turn our hot traffic into repeat buyers. You’ve probably guessed that we’re going to be offering them additional products or services.

As an example, you sell a physical product. We’ll say it is XYZ Salad Dressing.

You know that the average person will consume the entire bottle within two and a half months. So, you could take your customer list (from Step 1), upload it to Facebook, and run an ad that says something like this…

“Did life get in the way? You forgot to re-order your XYZ Salad Dressing! Here’s 10% OFF your next bottle on us. Click Here.”

Or (still using salad dressing as an example)

“180 Times Better – Your favorite Salad Dressing just got even better! We’ve put together over 180 recipes you can make in less than 5 minutes. You’ve already got the secret ingredient, now it’s time to get the recipes! Claim your discounted Recipe eBook for $29.95 $9.95 – Limited Time Only”

You may be saying “Robert, hold up, I only have one product, what am I supposed to offer them”. If you’re wondering that very thing, my advice is to create another product. I’m positive that you and your team could at a minimum create an eBook and offer it for sale in less than a week.

Defining Success Metrics:

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): They purchase something. (or cost per lead if you are sending hot traffic to a landing page as covered in the Warm Traffic Campaign guide)

  • Ad Objective: Repeat Buyers
  • Content/Offer: Retarget Through the Funnel
  • Success Metric(s): Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
  • Bidding: Slightly higher than suggested bid
  • Budget: $5-$10 per day (as an example)
  • Target Audience: Previous Buyers (customer file)

To Break it Down For Ya….

Targeting: Customer file (CSV) containing your known buyers.

Content/Offer: You will be retargeting them via ads to purchase additional products or services.

Budget: In the land grab for customers this can be your lowest investment. I would recommend spending more on the cold and warm traffic campaigns and keeping a consistently operating low budget campaign running for your buyer list.

Success Metric: Straightforward. Do they buy or do they not and what is the cost to per sale (or acquisition). So, your success metric here will be Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

For more guides and actionable digital marketing advice visit robertmcmillin.com or book me on my Book Like A Boss page for a free 15 minute consultation.