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Background: Nissan of St. Augustine is located in a small town, tucked between two large markets. The independently owned dealership competes with larger, multi-location dealerships in those surrounding metro areas.
Client Profile: Todd Sheppard opened his dealership and immediately activated multiple vanity 800 numbers to use in all advertising. He wanted a direct-response tool that would help customers easily recall his phone number and keep his dealership top-of-mind.
Challenge: Build strong customer retention, while standing out from competing dealerships in two nearby major metro markets.
Solution: Build retention rate by using multiple vanity numbers in his media mix of cable, outdoor, print, and internet advertising. And, track response rates and monitor the sales outcome of each call.
Results: When Todd Sheppard, General Manager, opened his store, he didn’t want to run the risk of losing customers to his larger market competitors. So, he immediately activated a vanity 800 number that customers could easily remember, 1-800-NEW-NISSAN.
Sheppard’s main goal is to retain customers and get them coming back to his dealership for service to build his business. His ad campaigns are doing just that. “Nissan, as a brand, has a 30% retention rate. My dealership’s retention rate is 42%.” Sheppard believes his success is due to his commitment to use the vanity numbers on all advertising and promotional materials.
“I believe 100 percent in using vanity numbers to advertise my business. I would not even consider running a dealership without using memorable phone numbers in our ads,” says Sheppard. According to Sheppard, one in 10 incoming calls turns into a sale. “By selling just one car a month we more than pay for the vanity number service.”
“Having a vanity number makes it easy for people to recall our dealership over another, and extends a more corporate and professional perception,” says Sheppard. He explains that the vanity number has a huge influence on customer retention when it comes to the service side of the automotive business.
Sheppard’s advertising agency accesses detailed, real-time call-tracking reports to monitor the performance of their ad campaigns. They also listen to every incoming call. “If the agency hears a call that they feel was not strong in customer service they email the recording to me. I play back the recording for our sales team, and we use that information to follow up with the caller, and for future training sessions.”
With a high retention rate and strong advertising campaigns, Sheppard is successfully competing with the larger dealerships in his markets.