Consumers constantly seek to interact with their favorite brands using all touchpoints available. The impressions they gain while doing so form their customer experience. The path from initial contact to final purchase forms their customer journey.
Consumers often randomly switch between online and offline touchpoints. Marketing departments generally track the online world very effectively, and activities in this field are optimized down to the letter. By contrast, the offline world is frequently overlooked even though double-digit percentage increases can often be achieved by taking these very channels into account and integrating them into the overall marketing plan. Marketers that fail to realize the importance of offline channels in the customer journey risk damaging their cost per ad spend and wasting their marketing budget.
Why this is becoming increasingly relevant for marketers.
The current trend is to divide the customer journey into two areas: research and purchase, the former being an evaluation phase and the second a buying phase. In both phases, consumers are showing an increasing tendency to "convert" via phone rather than via an online medium.
Websites are becoming more complex, and time spent on PCs is falling. Even websites that are optimized for mobile devices often fail to answer a potential customer's particular questions.
A consumer uses their smartphone to search for a service, for example, "removals service."
The consumer visits a company's website, which contains testimonials and is well designed. The company has a website optimized for mobile devices and offers detailed text and information about all of the services it offers. In addition, there are numerous customer reviews and overviews of branches and points of contact. The consumer immediately trusts the company.
However, before the consumer looks through all of the pages on the website and reads the text hoping to find answers to his/her particular questions, he/she calls the company's customer service number which is well placed on the website. This is the first offline conversion. The caller turns from an interested surfer to a sales qualified lead. He/she finds out about prices and what the services include, but a sale is not closed.
Retargeting is used to remind the consumer about the company multiple times.
A few days later the consumer needs a service and can specify an exact moving date, so he/she visits the website again and finds the number for a local branch.
He/she calls again and books online the exact services he/she already agreed with the consultant in the first call. In other words, the consumer initiates a second offline conversion: this time, it's a "purchase" with actual monetary value.
Summary: Even websites that are optimized for mobile devices and that contain the most detailed descriptions of products and services don't always offer the best possible customer experience. The consumer wants the quickest, easiest route. Currently, phone calls are the most popular and simplest way to obtain specific information easily. Only by taking offline conversions such as phone calls into account is it possible to map a complete customer journey and use it most effectively to optimize the marketing budget and campaigns used.