Cyber strategy: Optimizing your website phone number

Sometimes they’re so in-your-face big as to be comical. Other times they’re so hard to find (or even nonexistent) one can only assume the company doesn’t want to be contacted.

For better or worse, the placement of phone numbers on your business website says a lot about your customer service and sales strategies. But that placement is worthy of consideration, especially with the rapid expansion of mobile phone technology. Ninety-one percent of smartphone users keep their mobile phone within arm’s reach 24/7, says Morgan Stanley, and 86 percent of businesses in a recent study byBIA/Kelsey reported that calls now produce their best leads.

Here is some food for thought when you’re considering whether you should incorporate your number online.

  • An easy-to-find number boosts customer trust by providing the impression that you can be easily reached, leading to more conversions, argues Joanna Wiebe on “Like money-back guarantees, phone numbers are there not to drive people to take advantage of them but to give people assurance they’re not stuck, over-committed or alone.”
  • Zappos Inc. CEO Tony Hsieh attributes part of his firm’s success to phone numbers at the top of each website page and 24/7 staffing of its call center. “Customers will buy more and be happier in the long run if we can remove most of the risk from shopping at Zappos,” he explains in Harvard Business Review.
  • For placement, website gurus recommend experimenting with headers, sidebars, footers, pop-up boxes or a combination. Options include slide-ins that move over about halfway down a page or “sticky” forms that follow the user during scrolling.
  • Another plus with easy-to-find numbers: More customer data through call tracking programs like CallView360. The software promotes better marketing by analyzing the source, time and length of calls and compiling cost per call, cost per lead and ROI.
  • Don’t forget aesthetic sense with your call button and/or contact page. Designers emphasize visibility and simplicity while recommending the font, color and design be visually appealing and in step with the brand’s tone and style.

Are there viable reasons for leaving your number off your site? Yes, say organizations that prefer email communications and don’t want or need inbound phone sales. The current list includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Quora.

Some have simply decided not to expend time and money on phone communications while others are avoiding solicitors, press or competitors, according to Ramona Sukhraj on

“Big or small, the last thing any organization needs is their phone ringing off the hook with people who may or may not actually be interested in their offering,”  Sukhraj writes.  “It takes away from time you could be spending on qualified leads or perfecting your product.”

Others argue such firms are sacrificing customer goodwill in the process.

“You might purchase a product exclusively online, (but) having a phone number on your site and the ability to talk to a real person … makes you feel more comfortable taking out or your wallet,” advises Jonathan Kay on