The Case of the Phone: The forefront of call analytics

By Dorin RosenshineSeptember 22, 2014

Today’s technology enables much more than provisioning fixed numbers – and market conditions welcome these new capabilities

If you’re running the type of business where a customer wants to speak with someone before making a purchase, recent headlines most likely have you smiling: phone calls are on the forecast, everywhere. A multitude of studies, reports, and reviews show that the volume of phone call to businesses is growing at an accelerating pace, fueled by a culture of immediate fulfillment and the one superstar rising trend that’s surfacing in everyone’s lexicon: mobile.

With such compelling growth, interest in analyzing phone call performance is surfacing on the agendas of more marketing executives than ever. While many have already instituted some system in place to accomplish these goals, most call tracking has focused on the mere task of attributing a phone call to a specific marketing channel. This may have sufficed five years ago, but today, with the advent of new media and changing marketplaces, we can do much more. Here are five ways that your call analytics system can go beyond a simple tally of phone calls by ads or keywords.


Tracking new media

When online marketing meant launching an Adwords campaign, traditional call tracking made sense. But since then, we’ve gone through a revolution: composing sophisticated e-mail campaigns, using sponsored posts and tweets, uploading promotional videos, maintaining content-rich blogs and more. Adding click-to-call capabilities to all of these mediums can help drive more phone calls and conversions. With advanced e-mail campaign capabilities that make messages look like a web page, and high-speed internet connections that can stream rich real-life demonstrations, phone conversions without visits to a website are a concrete possibility. It’s not unusual these days to hire specific firms to establish presence in each of these niches, which makes attribution even more essential.


The multi-channel dilemma

If the past decade made one thing clear, it’s that both the Internet and offline are here to stay – along with the everlasting challenge of connecting the two. We’ve all seen, heard, struggled, and (as marketing executives) still waiting for our tech teams to come to terms with this issue. But since a phone call often represents the first step in an offline funnel that started online, sophisticated call tracking that accurately maps this transition and connects every phone call to a corresponding online profile essentially resolves this issue. Aside from closing the gap, attaching data gathered during a call to an online profile unleashes a stream of opportunities, from directing targeted advertising to personalizing web content.


Quality over quantity

Despite immense growth, generating phone calls is still very expensive, and converting them is even more expensive. This makes analysis of call outcomes key to understanding how to maximize quality calls. At Outleads, we’re hearing from more businesses every day that merely receiving a phone call does not equal a conversion. According to these businesses, even determinations by objective standards like call duration – a common indicator among modern systems – is inadequate. Advanced call analytics solutions can support subjective measurement of call outcome. The ideal way would be for the agent that answered a call to determine whether a conversion occurred.

Moreover, not all successful calls are alike. For instance, a 10-minute call with one rep that generates a $300 sale is not the same as a 45-minute call with two reps and a manager that generates $300. Using metrics like duration and other variables to measure the cost of a call against the resulting revenues would surely settle much of the uncertainty around phone calls.


Enhanced collaboration

Call tracking systems were conceived to allow marketing departments to evaluate the impact on another function: the sales team. Newer solutions can take this one step further, providing marketers with insight about what happens during and after the call, and how it all connects to online traffic sources and behavior. Outleads’ system transforms subjective data typically entered in a CRM into tags that can be leveraged in reports of web behavior. This supports analysis of call and caller data objectively to spot trends – for instance, which marketing activity drove the most phone calls from customers interested in a potentially lucrative full-scale solution, rather than a single item.


Smarter routing

Building on the above, web behavior can provide a superior call routing experience, as well. In the case of geographic routing, relying on a session IP address may prove far more accurate than a caller ID (thanks to VoIP, I managed to sneak a Long Island area code into Manhattan; with the average American moving multiple times in their lifetime, mobile phones area codes may be even more error-prone). Other options include routing a caller to specific agents based on the page viewed, visit duration, logged-in/out state, or even searched zipcode – the location a caller searches for is a much better indicator of her interest than her actual location. The bottom line: using web visit data to intelligently intercept a caller’s intent, thereby lessening the common frustration of a warm lead from dealing with lengthy automated voice response systems.

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