Answer the Phone! Why Builders Can’t Afford To Overlook Phone Leads

Taking Advantage Of Your Phone Leads

It’s no surprise that in 2020, digital and mobile traffic is trending up for builders. But did you know that call volume is up as well? In the past few months alone, the call volume to builder communities has almost doubled!

But with more calls come more challenges. Here are a few of the most common obstacles that we see builders face when handling phone call leads:

  • The  builder can’t track and measure call volume in CRM systems
  • The builder doesn’t know what happens to a call once it comes in or is routed internally
  • The builder doesn’t have a way to tell how calls are answered or if they’re answered
  • The builder has not migrated towards providing a Lead Concierge for phone calls like they do for email leads
  • The builder doesn’t have a plan to deal with calls coming in after normal business hours

At BDX, we’ve been helping builders with their lead follow up challenges for years. As phone calls rise in importance, we want to dig deeper to help builders do a better job with follow-up. That’s why BDX decided to analyze call-tracking data from our builder clients and compile the results into trends and learnings.

Here are some stats about the data we analyzed:

  • The data was mined in May 2020
  • Analyzed 4,000 calls across 400 builders
  • Multiple markets
  • Multiple communities

Our goal was to uncover both quantitative data – duration of calls, when received, etc., as well as qualitative data like how people were greeted (or not) and if callers were satisfied after a call.

So how are builders doing? Well, the numbers speak for themselves. The good news – there is plenty of room for improvement. While we uncovered a handful of builders doing a great job, most are leaving valuable leads and potential sales on the table. 

For starters, let’s look at builders’ responsiveness to home shopper calls.

  • 29% of calls were answered
  • 13% of calls went unanswered with no voicemail
  • 58% of calls were routed to voicemail

Approximately 70% of calls are mis-managed and we know that 80-90% will NOT leave a message. We also know that <1% of callers will hang up on a live person. To put that into perspective, if you have 100 communities and you get about 3 calls per community per month. Of the 3600 calls we receive each year, we are limited ourselves on over 2500 opportunities to engage with shoppers.

Now let’s look at some qualitative data. What was the experience for home shoppers?

The first thing we looked at was the voicemail experience knowing this was the largest percentage of call volume (almost 60%). Builders handled voicemails in a variety of ways – most were not positive:

  • Some routed home shoppers to an automated, computerized phone message that was not personalized to the individual community or was too generic for the home shopper to know if they even dialed the correct number
  • Some were routed to a sales agent who might have identified themselves – “This is John” – but did not name the community they were in or use any other identifying builder information
  • Some received a “voicemail is full” message – yikes!
  • But the worse experience had to be those voicemails asking the home shopper to text their personal information – name, phone number, etc – to another number. How intrusive?!

Now let’s look at the 29% of calls that were physically answered by a person:

  • Many were initially greeted with just a simple “hello” (probably to a personal mobile)
  • Some sales agents did not have the proper information to answer questions
  • Unfortunately, some sales agents were not friendly and rudely greeted a home shopper
  • While eventually connected live with a person, it took some home shoppers over a minute to get auto routed
  • Many sales agents were not proactive – did not share information about specials or volunteer to conduct a virtual home tour
  • Duration of the calls shows that we are not taking advantage of having a live shopper on the line – most calls were under 2 minutes and less than 8% were over 10 minutes.

While we have highlighted many negative experiences, not all were. There is a way to do better! Here are best practices from some builders we’ve seen successfully manage phone calls:

  • Answer the phone every single time – no matter the time of day!
  • Answer the call by the 2nd ring
  • Arm sales agents with information to answer almost any question – made home shoppers feel like they were welcomed
  • Make sure greetings are consistent, friendly, and professional, and that sales agents provide key information on themselves, the builder and the community

The bottom line is that builders need to be as intentful about phone calls as they’ve been about online leads. Prioritizing phone calls translates into a wealth of opportunities!

Do you want to better understand and analyze your phone calls? BDX offers a call tracking program for free with all Newhomesource.com listings. To learn more, contact your BDX sales consultant or email us at info@thebdx.com.

 *  Newhomesource.com May 2020

 

About the Author

Builders Digital Experience

At BDX, our team of experts sets us apart. For over 20 years, we’ve helped top builders successfully market their new home communities. We work with over 1000 builders to create successful digital marketing programs. Our professionals are experts in the latest technology, marketing, and industry trends.

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