Recent research by BIA/Kelsey predicts that annual calls to businesses from smartphones will reach 162 billion by 2019. This number is a dramatic increase—more than double—over the 77 billion calls generated similarly last year. Much of this traffic is due to the proliferation of mobile ads that merge with the scrolling feed-based interfaces of social apps like Facebook and Instagram.
Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, customers with more complex issues are being driven to the phones. After having tried and failed at previous attempts for issue-resolution, usually via Web chat or text messaging, customers now use the phone as something of a last resort. As a result they may be frustrated or angry—and inclined to provide feedback—on whatever drove them to place the call in the first place.
With these two facts in hand, it’s safe to say that phone calls, more than any other mode of communication, can tell us a great deal about our customers.
The ability to gather information from phone calls is a competitive advantage that offers invaluable insights about potential and current customers. Understanding which marketing campaigns are driving phone calls is key to your marketing strategy. Similarly, being able to gather the complex feedback arising from a distress call can be used to inform everything from product development to quality of service to customer preferences. The significance of knowing why people are calling, where they’re calling from, and what they need cannot be understated.
Does your call center have the technology tools necessary to make the most of your phone calls?
Turning phone call information into actionable data requires call-tracking software. But before jumping in, make your goals concrete. What information is your business partner looking for? What information would be valuable if tracked? You can enhance the value of your services by working closely with your client to determine which of the following insights would be most valuable:
- Keyword information. Some call-tracking software enables you to find out what keyword search led to the discovery of the company’s mobile ad. Keyword searches that lead to contact, and then paying customers, are high in value and can be used for future marketing purposes.
- Caller location. Customer demographics such as this one can be used to identify patterns linked to purchases.
- Marketing campaign effectiveness. Unique phone numbers placed strategically on different web pages can be tracked to determine which campaigns were the most effective, or which locations proved most fruitful.
- Call duration. Too long or too short varies by business, but once a reasonable standard has been defined, it’s good to know what’s happening in reality. Calls that take longer than the defined standard may indicate root problems that need to be addressed, either on the part of the business or the call center.
- Identify your best customer. Listening to calls and learning more about what customers are looking for enables businesses to visualize their ideal customer, so they can direct their efforts appropriately.
Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.