Retailers spend all year preparing for what’s now just around the corner: The holiday shopping season, specifically Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With so much revenue up for grabs, this is hardy a surprise. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 154 million consumers shopped in stores and online on Black Friday alone last year, about 3 million more than 2015.

With all the focus on retailers during the holidays, however, businesses across other industries turn a blind eye to opportunities like Black Friday. In doing so, many are missing out on a crucial part of their customers’ journeys: Phone calls.

The number of inbound calls to businesses is increasing more and more each year. In fact, BIA/Kelsey research reveals that the number of annual calls to businesses is expected to reach 162 billion by 2019. And according to our own research, retail holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no exception to this growth.

To determine inbound call volume during the holiday shopping season, we analyzed the number of calls made to businesses that use CallRail on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Green Monday (the second Monday in December) in 2015 and 2016. Businesses included retailers, digital marketing agencies and companies across automotive, healthcare, home services, telecom and more.

Our analysis reveals that call volume on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday has more than doubled year-over-year. Black Friday call volume increased by 107.32 percent, while Cyber Monday call volume increased 110.75 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Retail Holiday 2015 2016 Percent Change
Black Friday 40,935 84,868 107.32%
Cyber Monday 78,513 165,469 110.75%
Green Monday 14,068 149,231 960.78%
Total 133,516 399,568 199.27%

Most surprising, though, was Green Monday, where call volume increased nearly 10 times (960.78 percent) year-over-year. Often overshadowed by more traditional retail holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the newer Green Monday has proved a contender in terms of dollars spent and now, inbound calls made.

Tackling 2017

To make the most of the 2017 holiday season, businesses must prepare for a rise in inbound call volume. Today’s consumer is more mobile than ever before, and a rise in smartphone usage means more calls to businesses. With such a steep increase in calls from 2015 to 2016, we can only expect an even bigger jump from 2016 to 2017.

Not convinced? Check out how a greater attention to calls improves these two bottom-line responsibilities.

1) Customer insights

Equipped with call tracking and analytics platforms, businesses can better understand where and when customers are picking up the phone. What’s more, these insights help marketers uncover shopper intent, meaning they can better anticipate and solve for callers’ needs ahead of time.

For example, thanks to unique call numbers assigned to different pages online, call tracking can determine that a caller picked up the phone after visiting a brand’s return policy page. The system can then make this known to the customer service representative assigned to the query, giving him or her important context prior to the call. Just a little extra time and information ensures an optimal customer experience.

What’s more, the more customer insights a brand can gather, the easier it becomes to spot trends among them. For instance, an analytics platform may aggregate data sets to find that a high number of callers are coming from a brand’s return policy page during the holidays, not just our lone shopper. This would indicate consumers cannot find the information they need online, and that the brand should invest in stronger content around the topic. Perhaps the company could even explore more diverse content mediums, such as video.

2) Campaign measurement

If brands are going to dedicate a major budget to the holiday season they must be able to track campaign performance, and we’re all familiar with how tough it is to determine attribution in a multi-channel sales environment.

With call tracking, businesses can assign unique call numbers to different digital campaigns. This gives marketers the ability to see which types of outreach are resonating and where, allowing them to improve their efforts in real-time. Campaign metrics can also inform next year’s plan of attack for the holidays by giving businesses data-driven insights to use as a jumping-off point. This is a must for businesses that are implementing Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Green Monday campaigns for the first time.

We most often associate phone calls with a way to stay in touch with family and friends during the holidays. This year though, businesses can use call tracking capabilities and analytics platforms to make the phone work for them, too.

Curious what which calls you’re leaving unanswered? Contact us to learn more about how call tracking can elevate your business this holidays, and every holiday season after that.

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