You Should Know What Happens Before A Customer Call

customer call

Before a customer call, they have used a path your business carefully constructed to get them there, all those digital breadcrumbs have a purpose and can create quick but meaningful conversations. It’s vital to not waste the resources you placed to manifest a potential sale.

Their context matters

The digital context for each visitor is the culmination of their online journey, it includes all their digital interactions up to the point of contact with a company – clicks, searches, Google Ad words, etc.

In this case, contact means the second they call. When that connection is made, it’s vital for the agent on the other side of the call to understand the path taken by this customer to get to them. You can do this by understanding your customer’s digital context.

Today’s caller/browser/internet ninja simply wants an automated, easy experience because that is what they are used to.

Users are just more agile and they expect companies to follow suit especially when the cost is high. Complex purchases require potential customers to heavily research a product’s intricacies. For example, over 95% of automotive buyers do their information gathering online before they visit a brick and mortar dealership.

Taking advantage of all these digital micro-moments leading up to that coveted face to face meeting can create an easy experience both online and offline. What a pleasant surprise that would be for a customer when they find out you’re already an expert on what they want.

Know the acquisition source

Acquisition source is the touchpoint someone comes from when they enter your brand realm, a lead could arrive from organic search, PPC, direct traffic, referral website or a print advertisement and use an array of devices to reach out.

It’s really important to know this information because it can help stakeholders save a lot of money. By measuring multi-channel traffic, it’s easier to know where to invest the most and the least.

It’s not all about the chatbot

Despite the multiple predictions, chatbots are not replacing human agents – yet. They are useful, but more for uncomplicated questions, quick notifications and routing callers to the right agent.

According to a study by PWC, “75% of global customers “want to interact with a real person more as technology improves”.

Before a call, it’s easy to turn off a customer if the chatbot is a dominant factor. Bridging human interaction seamlessly is where a chatbot can be useful but the emphasis [and money] should be on improving the skill set and knowledge of an agent before pumping funds into AI services that step further away from human connection.

Via: PWC, Think with Google.

These Call Metrics Can Help Contact Centres Reach Their Goals

Call Metrics

Customer expectations are changing as we move into a primarily omnichannel way of doing business. Calls are still a vital line of communication but they are arriving from multiple ports. That’s a lot of data to collect.

Currently, callers only want to wait 15 seconds in IVR (Interactive Voice Response), 20 per cent of these calls are abandoned if kept waiting too long and a whopping 43 per cent prefer talking over chatbots.*

This means in order to succeed, B2C contact centres need to consider collecting more than a few call metrics to create accurate and actionable KPIs.

What are contact centre KPIs?

Contact centre KPIs are the key performance indicators every cloud contact centre should examine closely in order to achieve set goals within different time periods. These differ according to the company and measurements alternate based on the channel. With that in mind, we’ve gathered a few call-based metrics we think are important to pay attention to.

Call length distribution

Call length distribution determines the lengths of calls over the most common intervals. So if a centre is seeing a high number of calls lasting 30 – 60 seconds out of all their calling interactions that day, it’s likely that such a time frame is the most ideal.

Don’t listen to the chatter. Call length IS vital to determining how efficient your service is, the optimal length really depends on your business goals and the type of product being sold, an automotive shopper in the final stage of their consumer journey will want to speak longer than someone just asking about store opening hours.

However, understanding the most common call length within a specific contact centre can greatly restructure the way calls are approached and how to create an effective and rewarding experience for the caller within the perfect amount of time for them.

Call events per visitor device

In a multi-channel environment, this is a good KPI to follow. Call events per visitor device simply indicate how many calls originated from either a desktop or mobile. Knowing the type of device being used predominantly by customers can provide more visibility for marketers when it comes to accurate device targeting.

Call events

This determines answered and missed calls over a set period of time. A low missed call rate is a good KPI to reach for.

A few ways to avoid missing calls is by implementing a system of cascading or routing calls based on context. Every caller has an interaction history behind them. Using key touchpoints within their journey to create a clear picture of intent is a great way to send the call directly to the right people and avoid missed opportunities.

Want to know more about building context?

Via: *Freespee Data.

5 Common Mistakes Made When Updating Call Centres

call centre mistakes

In customer-facing businesses, when a prospect decides to call, it’s usually because they are looking for help and an informed voice on the other end. Call centres that can meet these requirements need the software that can keep up with modern expectations. Some companies outsource their call centres, while others are moving towards communication technology that keeps everything in-house. But when updating call centres with new systems, what are major mistakes to look out for?

1.Too hard to implement

Revamping an existing platform that has worked for decades can be harrowing, but sticking with legacy systems can also push a company’s customer service back in time. Finding a middle ground where the new software is easy to learn and makes change seamless is the goal, don’t look for the hottest package on the market and expect miracles. It could all end in tears.

Starting with integrative software is a great way to inch into new territory for brands and their call centre teams. Find programs that act as middlemen – streaming call data into existing CRM systems.

2. Doesn’t remove data silos

The bane of most modern call centres is too many data silos. The latent and real-time caller data that streams into call centres have significant value but it needs to used and not stored for a rainy day. According to My Customer via SAS, “only 23% of companies — less than 1 in 4 — are able to generate real-time insights with customer data.”

The technology is out there with routing, profiling and prioritising capabilities that paints an entire picture of data impact on ROI and company development. Use it.

3. Thinking more IVR means better customer service

Nope. In no way does adding more IVR to a call queue make it better. Customers don’t want to wait to speak to a service representative for ages, it’s a guaranteed way to lose prospects. “At the beginning of a customer service experience, 90 per cent of our respondents want to speak to a live agent,” says The Conversation.

4. No remote option

Modern contact centre software gives agents the opportunity to work remotely. This is helpful when considering the impact of the global community on business development, our borders are definitely blurring. If needed, using agents from all corners of the globe remotely under the umbrella of a unified system can improve personalisation by breaking language barriers. Don’t send a non-English speaking customer to an English speaking agent. Route calls to the right agents wherever they are.

5. Not using the right metrics

Focusing on how every agent is managing a call isn’t always the best use of data. There are multiple signifiers of how to better the call experience. Luckily platforms offer dashboards that reveal the intricate elements of call. Metrics like call through rate, call duration and missed calls can point to more than just a lack of good customer handling, rather how the brand can improve the entire customer journey through better marketing, targeting, and nurturing.

Improving training for agents is always good, but optimising the caller journey can also make an agent’s job a lot easier and more fruitful.

Need more help?

Via: The Conversation, My Customer.

How Complex Should Your Segmentation Be?

segmentation

Too much segmentation is as bad as too little

In an age of big data analytics, real customer intelligence depends on having manageable datasets to analyse, rather than too much irrelevant information that may drown you.

According to McKinsey’s “Unlocking the power of data in sales” report from December 2016, “more than 1,000 sales organizations around the world, we found that 53 per cent of those that are “high performing” rate themselves as effective users of analytics”.

With that in mind, we wanted to explore the complexity of segmentation and why too much of it can cost your business money. Cleaning and reformating data is a major first step when it comes to properly segmenting data sets, yet nearly 40% of 200 B2C and B2B companies surveyed by Allocadia claim they consider the process challenging.

Complex yes, but jumbling the wrong data together or putting it into too many categories can result in embarrassing errors such as; targeting the incorrect audiences for campaigns or sending the wrong email to prospective clients. Losing these opportunities is losing revenue.

Understandably, time is precious. CRM managers have a lot on their plates and need tools to help them be more efficient in how they analyse data. Experienced customisation requires a high degree of condensing multi-channel sources of data into fewer groups.

Segmenting your customers based on unsold inventory

When it comes to retail and consumer-facing enterprises something as simple as segmenting your customers based on unsold inventory can make a huge impact. Unsold inventory has surprising potential if advertised the right way, especially when using segmentation to find an audience for unsold stock that may not have been there before.

Dynamic search ads are an upsell tool for retargeting past customers, by promoting products previously viewed. According to travel platform Sojern, after partnering with Fairmont hotels and using Facebook’s dynamic ad offering in their advertising, they saw a 20% increase in revenue.

Segment for you

For online businesses, another way to simplify your segmentation is to utilise tools that target audiences based on their likelihood to become a conversion. Weeding out the leads from the bots and far away visitors can set a course towards attracting the right audience. Prioritisation should be personal to the company’s goals, segmentation becomes overly complex when data strategies are too broad.

Overall, as big data becomes commonplace in the business ecosystem, segmentation is a relevant tool needed to make sense of it all.

Learn more about segmentation for calls here

Via: Marketing Charts, Sojern, McKinsey,

How To Use Call Tracking Reporting To Prove Campaign Success

Call tracking reporting helps prove the momentum of campaigns. There are multiple metrics used to pursue a strategy and close the gap between marketing and sales. According to McKinsey, “customer data must be considered strategic.” What would these call tracking reports look like? When reviewing the ROI of a campaign using calls, there are a few factors to consider.

Did you meet your goals?

Before any campaign launch, strategic goals are set based on KPIs such as; social media impressions, virality, customer satisfaction, mentions and conversions. Determining the source of these measurements and metrics is achieved by following their impact from the beginning of the campaign until the end.

Leads per channel

There are multiple ways to capture leads in this day and age. Proving overall campaign success accurately means accounting for as many as possible. Channels to consider with call tracking mostly fall under the digital category or any location a dynamic or static number can be placed. These include mobile advertising, email, desktop app, Facebook, PPC, print ad, TV advert, etc.

New contacts

Nurturing brand new leads and gaining new customers is an easy way to achieve short-term goals. Both customer retention and acquisition is important to the growth of any business but, showing the increase in customer acquisition based on a campaign is a great indicator of exactly where you are going as a brand.

Calls are a useful way to capture this data. It’s already proven how important calls are to customer acquisition – more and more customers are calling thanks to smartphones. Google Think found that a “majority of respondents would call instead of reach out online because they’re looking to get a quick answer (59%) or talk to a real person (57%).” 

With this in mind, building a report that helps close the marketing and sales gap while also proving the value of every campaign is down to managing your data in real time, leaving no stone unturned. Reporting should be a well used muscle that constantly informs the communication strategy and creates natural brand evolution.

Via: Google Think, McKinsey

7 Ways To Have An Impactful Conversation With Your Consumers

These days, consumers arrive from an array of digital channels during the path-to-purchase journey, but more often than not there is a moment when human interaction is necessary, especially when something goes toes up or for larger purchases such as real estate or a car.

According to Google, “47% of those they surveyed described feeling “frustrated or annoyed” or “more likely to explore other brands” when a call wasn’t picked up. The advent of click-to-call is causing an influx of call volumes, a whopping 70% of prospects hit the call CTA.

Once the button is pressed and an offline interaction begins, the quality of conversation or rate of pick up can make or break a conversion, which is why we have a few suggestions for transforming your communication strategy that will guide your callers to the final stage of their journey and beyond.

1. Follow up

Following up is not chasing or harassment, its courtesy and can improve upsell potential. A post-conversation chat should be filled with a knowledge of the customer (based on their history) and also questions that can help gauge a greater understanding of what they want in their own words.

2. Speed up decision making

Automated workflows can speed up how a caller lands on the right agent based on their context. If a specific answer is required, understanding a prospects movements on a brand website can give the agent a headstart to finding a solution before they even answer the call.

3. Remove friction

Take away the multiple delays associated with IVR systems, no one likes friction in CX especially when the purchase is of high value. Remove pain points for callers by cascading or sending them through a quicker route to the conversation they really need to have.

4. Know the trends

Analyse, analyse, analyse. Conversations with consumers these days come with a ton of context behind them as the research phase almost always starts with a browsing history. Tracking every key measure from these touchpoints can be a useful way to understand the bigger consumer picture and make conversations less about interrogation and more about connection.

5. Understand their data

Knowing every granular detail of where/how/why a consumer has arrived at your doorstep is vital. In some cases, a PPC (pay-per-click) caller is more of a priority than someone who didn’t visit a higher value page or is just casually browsing.

6. Bring them back

B2C industries like automotive and travel know that a missed call is a missed opportunity, especially when considering their high-profit margins. If a consumer’s call isn’t acknowledged it can be detrimental to both company reputation and the bottom line. For mobile workforces, a simple solution is using just that, their mobile.

Missed call notifications in email or SMS form have a knack for dropping call abandonment rates by nearly 80% while ensuring sales teams value callers and proactively pursue them. Sending a callback request SMS to a missed consumer is always favourable on their end if a call isn’t picked up, data from Software Advice shows that 63 per cent” of consumers surveyed preferred callback.

7. Be a human!

This brings us to the last and final point of any consumer-facing conversation, be a human being! Personalisation is the bread and butter of CX lately, we may think we want to speak to robots but the need for just the right amount of empathy is currently outweighing the convenience of chatbots.

A happy medium is the best bet in this scenario, use technology to make the process of getting to the human help easier, now that’s impactful.

Via: Google, Software Advice

Our AB Tasty Integration: Get More Insights Into Your Call Data

If a better understanding of your core audience is the goal, then testing all possible options to make a website user-friendly and improve conversions is a great first step to take. Leading conversion rate platform AB Tasty is very good at helping marketers shape their strategy for driving revenue using A/B testing. The platform is one of many integrations offered by Freespee and is especially useful when it comes to lead generation and stellar insights from the call data we collect.

Here’s why we love our AB Tasty integration:

It uses a thorough testing process

Freespee’s A/B Tasty integration offers variations of a brand’s website or landing page, allowing marketers to focus on the one that encourages consumers to connect with their company the most. Pretty simple and effective.
The technology does this by creating a campaign via the Freespee Dashboard. Say a brand has discovered that a vital contact number on their landing page isn’t quite catching the eye of a user base. With the AB Tasty integration, tests are initiated with the contact number in different positions and other (bolder) formats.

Tracking ability

Specific data (AB Tasty tracking information and call time) is collected from each version of the page and both numbers are associated with this information during the test campaign. So, when a call is made from the website using a Freespee dynamic number, this call data is sent straight into the comforting arms of AB Tasty for analysis.

Detailed and easy to read results

AB Tasty keeps a record of these calls or conversions and plugs it into a thorough report showing the differences between the original and first variation using markers such as; conversions, conversion rate, improvements, reliability and actions. Voila, now it’s easier to gauge what website or landing page setup can turn users into leads!

One more awesome feature

While our relationship with AB Tasty focuses mainly on call data, the platform also offers a wide array of features we think are pretty cool, one we’re especially excited about is heat mapping.

Heat mapping

According to AB Tasty, Heatmaps are “visual representations of attention, engagement and interactions generated by your visitors as they navigate through your site.” They also look very impressive. Warm colours show the most used portions of the site while cooler colours highlight the parts that may need more attention. Actual optics of customer interaction is an immediate and strong measurement tool.

 


 

Freespee has many integrations to choose from that make working with third-party tools seamless. AB Tasty is one we wanted to spotlight in particular for its ability to increase not only lead conversions but personalisation – a major trend in CX this year. Personalisation is about paying close attention to the needs of a consumer base and adapting services accordingly. Through AB Tasty’s organised optimisation and testing, it’s easier for brands to figure out exactly what works best and create a system custom built for the benefit of their website visitors.

Check out our integrations page and more documentation on AB Tasty here.

How Workflows Improve The Consumer Experience

“Whatever we do must be in accord with human nature. We cannot drive people; we must direct their development,” – Henry Gantt.

The idea of workflows has been around for decades and presently pops up everywhere in commerce. Henry Gantt, an American mechanical engineer and pioneer of the “Gantt Chart” was possibly the first to spark the idea of a project management schedule during the industrial revolution – which has since become a workflow.

Overall, the Gantt Chart was about increasing efficiency and that aim has transferred to how the consumer experience is managed today within multiple business models.

Workflows are about automating the business process using technology for peak performance and easy communication between brand and buyer.

In a heavily populated digital ecosystem consumer service is more programmed than ever and sometimes these automated interactions do little to maintain loyalty with a consumer base. Human beings are the sum total of their experiences and that notion should transfer to how they exist online as well.

A notable complaint of many callers is being trapped in the IVR abyss and then being shuffled around from department to department like a pack of cards with very little empathy in place. Well placed workflows have a knack for making sure no conversation is lost in the din of call centres and chat queues.

How do they do this?

Granular data

Anyone on the internet is just a blob of data there to be captured, harsh but true. Forming that mass of binary into something useful (and compliant) is now the job of brands more than ever.

Workflows that include granular targeting can help boost efficiency and make callers feel a sense of personalisation even if they’re merely one of many. Granular targeting uses granular data which is malleable and highly useful information that, “can be aggregated and disaggregated to meet the needs of different situations,” says Technopedia.

Considering the fact that millions are at stake for every ad campaign, building a strategy based on specific consumer details derived from granular data can help make every penny count and put brands on the right side of a gamble. This is good if a company needs, “to prove a theory,” according to Hawke Media. A theory as simple as, “this is what our audience needs.”

It’s all down to the elements of what motivates or defines a caller/buyer/consumer. There are multiple reasons why someone is reaching out to a company and workflows including call routing take these things into account when managing a pool in call centres, dealerships or any consumer-facing business. Call routing workflows prioritise inbound calls based on factors such as geolocation, pages visited, phone number and device. Intelligent call routing can enhance the consumer experience by segmenting this data into profiles that take them to those answers they need.

Automation

Another way workflows add to a positive consumer experience is by using automation like notifications. One person will often reach out to a company via an arsenal of mobile technology, i.e., tablet, smartphone, laptop – in this day and age they’re used to speedy searches and easy satisfaction. Luckily, workflows can be triggered into different actions like sending an automated feedback email after a call or SMS reminders to agents if a call is missed. “Workflows make it easy to keep track of these important changes, so you know which of your leads are warmest, and can act on that information immediately,” says Hubspot.

Beyond the fact that actionable workflows aid in efficiency behind the scenes, they really help with consumer engagement too – once used holistically of course. A holistic approach points to custom building a digital interaction that acknowledges the needs of the receiver. Great CX has a basis in consistency and automated workflows are nothing if not dependable. With consistency comes trust and eventually, loyalty. “Trust-building and engagement are what notifications are all about. And it’s why thinking about notifications should be a key part of any CX plan,” notes Brent Sleeper for Marketing Land.

The human touch

Automation, notifications and granular details. Now that we’ve covered the technical intricacies of why workflows should be in every businesses’ toolkit, its time to consider what Gantt mentioned – keeping in line with human nature. Despite hiding behind numerous modes of communication thanks to advances in technology, human beings still need to feel that personal touch. The buzzword of the moment in consumer service seems to be AI thanks to Alexa, Google Home, Siri and other voice-activated robot assistants on the market. However, developers are still struggling with embedding empathy into their systems and this can be problematic, especially in consumer-facing industries, where dropped calls and lost leads are becoming more frequent.

“We’re now surrounded by hyper-connected smart devices that are autonomous, conversational, and relational, but they’re completely devoid of any ability to tell how annoyed or happy or depressed we are. And that’s a problem,” says Rana. We’re further away from excluding humans completely than we realise. We may be biased, but workflows should be considered a happy medium while we wait for those robot agents with emotional intelligence to take over.

Until then,  they will connect a human agent and a human consumer quickly and proactively by considering the technical context of how and why they got there. It’s this symbiosis that works, for now. “There’s going to be a learning curve with automated customer service, and everyone will get on the bandwagon in their own good time. Don’t force it, and introduce any big changes slowly. Your customers will thank you for the “toe dip” approach rather than being pushed into the deep end,” preaches Salesforce.

Workflows are a toe dip we can definitely live with.

Via: Salesforce Blog, Marketing Land, Hubspot, Hawke Media, Technopedia, The British Library. 

Do We Really Want To Talk To Robots: Event Round Up

Freespee’s event; “Do we really want to talk to robots?” was a resounding success. An array of topics were covered by industry experts and GDPR fears were quelled. All in all, an evening of progress.

We started off with office preparations and photographs of the staff amongst the din. Prosecco was poured, and canapes were munched. Guests streamed in and socialised with Freespee team members in our open-plan space.
Eventually, we took our seats to begin the enlightening panel discussion featuring our CEO Anne de Kerchhove, Gumtree/eBay’s Head of Motors Vik Barodia and Freespee co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Carl Holmquist. The chat focused on AI, trust and the future impact of technology on brand and consumer relationships. Vik also brought up the future of MaaS (mechanics as a service), the gig economy and more.

The first quarter of the conversation covered AI. “It will become less an ‘I need something; therefore, I need to transact,” to a fully immersive experience that says, ‘hey have you thought about this?” and ‘we know what you want,’” said Vik.

He visualised a scenario where artificial intelligence is fully integrated into everyday goings-on.

“I’m amazed by what could one day be real life,” said Vik.

Presently, Barodia defines success in his industry not as predicting what a consumer wants before they want it, but by the building of trust.

“The reason that eBay is so successful is that it enhances the level of trust. eBay was one of the first businesses to introduce ratings. Ratings drive trust and probably the single biggest element of any transaction is trust. We see it on eBay and Gumtree all the time. Buyers are willing to pay more from a trusted seller. Influence comes from trust,” Vik stated.

Speaking of trust, during the Q&A portion, audience members brought up the word on everyone’s lips; GDPR.

One question explored how a post-GDPR world could stifle creativity when justification is now needed for every piece of data captured by marketers.
“I do think we’ll have a period of cleansing, but much of that pre-GDPR data wasn’t based on real relationships, replied Anne de Kerckhove. “We’re going to rebuild on true and trustworthy data and relationships. It’s a painful period, but once the data is clean, we’ll be able to renew our creativity.”

Renewal of creativity in this ever-changing world is something everyone can get onboard with.

“We are not that far away from big names in the digital space disappearing because they have failed to recognise what is happening in the online space, it’s completely cyclical,” Vik added.

Photographs: Howard Sayer 

The Meghan Markle Effect: Luxury Brand’s Call Volume Skyrockets

The Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry may have cost over £30 million but its expected to generate much more than that even now. The previous nuptials of Kate and William in 2011 brought a reported £2 billion to the UK economy and this recent event could produce even more. As a brand, the younger royals are on fire.

This focus is placed primarily on the Duchesses, Kate and Meghan. Both have a knack for wearing a piece of high-end clothing or jewellery that sells out soon afterwards. Their power as influencers is something luxury brands are desperate to align themselves with.

Meghan’s wedding dress was from design house Givenchy, which according to Influencer DB gathered a massive amount of attention from the public over the royal wedding weekend. “The brand was mentioned 3,002 times and generated 12,234,710 likes on Instagram, meaning that its earned media coverage sat at around £2.1 million,” writes Harper’s Bazaar via Influencer DB.

The dress wasn’t the only thing on her person that packed a commercial punch during that weekend. The Duchess was also sporting diamond earrings and a bracelet from a certain French luxury goods conglomerate. It was these pieces, which had company phones ringing off the hook.

Freespee data shows that Meghan had a stellar effect on the number of calls coming into a luxury brand in the United Kingdom. The Germany branch saw a similar spike. Diagrams below show roughly what we like to call, “The Meghan Effect.”

Via: Harper’s Bazaar