DRTV's Secret Weapon: The "HI" Factor

When it comes to closing the deal, DRTV has an unseen advantage  – the Human Interaction, or "HI" Factor.

For decades, 1-800-numbers were the universal signature of direct response television. Then the Internet changed everything. Every week televisions are becoming smarter, more social, and the direct response landscape is evolving to use interactive ads, landing pages, text-to-respond, and more. These new and evolving direct response channels beg the question, "Is the 800-number relevant anymore?" As a web-savvy consumer, your knee-jerk answer may be "No." Understandably. Why call someone when you can shop online and pay via PayPal or credit card? Dialing a 1-800 number seems so antiquated.

Not so fast. As a direct response agency, we've learned something interesting from our clients: as online shopping is becoming more personalized, it's still not personal. Certain products and services require more than bullet points and a "Buy Now" button to complete a sale. What's missing from online shopping is the human interaction, DRTV's "HI" Factor – a real person to talk to, with a real voice, and a real name. That's exactly what a 1-800 number can give you.

DRTV's "HI" Factor gives customers more than actual conversation – it gives them one-on-one guidance. For example, many of our clients use DRTV to increase enrollments and memberships. These require detailed forms to be filled out, correctly and completely. But in reality, some customers get sidetracked and never finish the online forms, or they may not click "Submit" at the end. By having a real person guide and assist them over the phone, more enrollment forms are completed and more customers are enrolled.

Websites are catching on to the "HI" Factor. Have you shopped on a website and immediately had a pop-up window ask, "Want to chat?" This is because dot-coms know the second they can start chatting with you, you'll be less likely to leave their website and shop elsewhere. Now they can answer your questions, tell you more about their product, and most importantly, create a paying customer far more quickly.

Once upon a time, calling a 1-800 number was the universal call-to-action for DRTV. As new response channels enter the game, there’s still nothing that compares to the personal attention the 1-800 number provides. And that's what gives DRTV's "HI" Factor the unseen advantage.

Jim Madsen is a Copywriter at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.