How does the sunk-cost fallacy affect hold times?

August 13, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

The “hold” button is the most hated feature in modern telecommunications technology. Callers get chained to their phones for an eternity while the contact center blazes through the queue. Many companies have trouble managing hold times, even with multiple agents working as fast as humanly possible. Bad elevator music and annoyingly pre-rolls just make things worse.

But something interesting happens during this delay. A survey of US callers discovered the 70% of respondents were willing to wait between 5 to 30 minutes on the phone before they hung up.

Why is that?

Escalation of commitment.

Escalation of commitment is a pattern of behavior where a person continues to commit effort, time and resources to a course of action despite repeated failures. Gamblers continue to play despite losing their money. A business will continue to invest in an underperforming venture in the hope of turning it around.

This behavior is also called a “sunk-cost fallacy.” In business parlance, a sunk cost is money that has already been spent and will not likely be recovered. Phrases like “throwing good money in after the bad” come from the concept of escalation of commitment.

How does this impact your contact center?

Customers don’t like waiting on hold. 60% of callers think that even one minute on hold is too long. But then again, the sunk-cost fallacy prevents them from hanging up and moving on to other things. Woe to the agent whose customer has been on hold for over half an hour.

This persistence also means that your customer queue is going to be packed. If your contact center can’t keep up with the combined new and waiting calls, your queue will just get longer and your team won’t be able to process all of the calls in a timely manner.

What can be done about it?

Call technology companies have tried to address long queue times for decades. Here are some of the most effective software-based solutions so far:

  • Offer a Return call. Certain IVR solutions allow the customer to reserve their place in the queue, then hang up in order to be contacted later. The system then returns their call when an agent is available. This relaxes the customer, as they don’t have to be forced to listen to a holding message for an extended period of time.
  • Call routing software. The more advanced call routing and tracking software solutions let you implement routing logic so that customers can be sent directly to an appropriate agent. Calls are resolved faster and wait times are reduced.
  • Automated response options. Many calls don’t need an agent to assist. Set up an IVR process that directs customers to pre-recorded responses. These options will quickly resolve easy calls and free agents up for more complicated cases.

Escalation of commitment isn’t necessarily a bad thing–it’s just something that happens as the customer is waiting for an agent. But our responsibility is to provide good customer service and reduce the hold times a customer has to endure.

How to Track Online and Offline Campaigns Effectively

May 25, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

Want to know a secret?  

Marketing sometimes feels like the blind leading the blind.

It might be a strange thing to say in today’s uber-connected, metric-obsessed electronic age, but there are still areas where marketing has a hard time getting insight. I’m referring to offline mediums like print, broadcast, and the telephone. These channels aren’t naturally integrated into the digital sphere. So marketers have to work harder and develop more innovative solutions to know whether a campaign succeeded or failed.

One such solution is called call tracking.

What is call tracking?

Call tracking solutions allow businesses to attribute calls to different traffic sources. One way to do this is by generating a series of unique phone numbers that can be assigned to a specific marketing asset. Example: direct mail, newsletter or online ad. 

Advanced call tracking solutions can leverage more detailed call data in the forms of tags, which allow companies to associate unlimited amounts of data to specific calls and callers.

But what can you actually do with all of this data?

Identify omnichannel customers

Customer don’t behave like they used to. They don’t follow the old, straight-line journey from the top of the funnel to bottom of the funnel. They bounce around from stage to stage and from offline to online and back again, makiing them difficult to track.

However, call tracking alleviates that by capturing the identity of a caller and tying them to their records in your CRM (or creating a new entry if they’re not there already). You can identify prospects as they jump from channel to channel. Without call tracking? You never would’ve known that the same person who opened your email a month back called today to order your product from an agent.

Track customer journey

Now that you know who they are, you’re better equipped to track their journey. You’ve already got all digital interactions like email, website visits, and downloads covered through other specialized tracking tools. That leaves one blind spot left—the phones.

Call tracking ensures that you’ve got as many major touchpoints covered as possible. You can’t afford to miss any interaction with the customer, especially now that the stakes in marketing are so high.

Deliver immediate insights

Call tracking technology automatically updates you with who is calling, why they are calling, and who they speak with when the call connects. This is critical for marketers to be able to respond in a timely manner to any shifts in the market, changes in customer mood, or problems with your campaign.

This only happens if the call tracking solution you’re using is integrated with your CRM, and if you have the right marketing analytics processes in place.

Contact us to find out how to maximize campaign effectiveness using call tracking technology.

 

Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Lead Response Times

May 15, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

How quickly do you respond to web-generated leads? A day later? Maybe a week?

It’s tempting to let the response time slide in favor of hotter or more urgent leads. After all, they already expressed interest by filling out a form, right? So they should still be interested by the time you get around to contacting them. However, “more than half of B2B companies still aren’t following up with leads-at all.

Insidesales.com conducted a study on web-generated leads and how to get optimal contact and qualification rates. Lead response time was by far the biggest and most surprising factor in a sales team’s success.

Why 5 minutes is the cut-off for lead response time

According to the study, your odds of successfully contacting a lead decrease by over 10 times within the first hour, and the odds of successfully qualifying them decreases by over 6 times within the same time period.

That figure is already shocking enough, but there’s more.

The odds of contacting a lead in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drops 100 times, and the odds of qualifying a lead in the same situation drops 21 times. That 25-minute gap makes an incredible difference in your chances of converting a lead.

It all boils down to the speed of response. 90% of all companies didn’t respond in under five minutes. But just wanting to isn’t enough. You have to put the right people, processes, and tools in place if you want to perform at that high a level.

What you need to respond to leads in under 5 minutes

You’ll never be able to respond to web-generated leads effectively if you don’t have enough of the right people in place. Assess your team’s size and workload. Are they able to drop whatever it is they’re doing or have enough time between calls to respond to a web lead? If not, you may have to expand your team.

Also, take a look at the process for handling web-generated leads. Who receives them? How does the team know there is a lead in the first place? You want a process that has as few bottlenecks as possible so that the lead can flow smoothly from form to agent.

Let’s also talk about technology. There are many tools available that help sales reps respond promptly to web-generated leads by automating emails. When your business relies on calls (and should since calls convert higher), Retreaver’s Live Agent Call Initiation closes the response gap to less than 1 min. When your web lead enters their phone number and submits a form this initiates a call to your team of agents. When one is available and answers, they are prompted that a lead has submitted the form, and what their name is, and then connected to the visitor using their provided phone number. The only thing your agent needs to do is pick up the phone.

The studies show 5 minutes is the critical timing, and that may sound intimidating, but it’s very much possible—even easy—if you have the right tools in place.

Contact us if you’re interested in knowing more about Live Agent Call Initiation.

People, Integration and AI: The Future from MarTech 2018

May 7, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

If MarTech’s 2018 conference in San Jose proved anything, it was that this fledgling industry has grown into a tech powerhouse—and has yet to grow even further.

Just look at the Marketing Technology Landscape infographic created by Scott Brinker, Chief Editor of chiefmartech.com: the industry has grown from a mere 150 brands in 2011 to nearly 7,000 martech solutions in 2018. Marketing technology shows no sign of slowing down.

The MarTech 2018 conference was chock-full of brilliant presentations and innovative insights, and it would be impossible to cover all of them with the depth they deserve in a single blog post. But there were definitely key threads that run through the entire program:

People-based technology stacks

Over two days companies like LogMeIn, Meyer, and VMWare shared how they built their marketing tech stacks and the thought process behind their creation and refinement. The individual tools all differed based on need: LogMeIn, for example, ran heavy on content creation and team collaboration tools while Bedrock Data focused on a single content-focused tool and focused its effort on data collection, management, and reporting solutions.

But the key unifying theme of these martech stacks was an emphasis on people. What would make life easier for an employee to do their job? What would make it easier for the customer to connect with the brand? Nearly all the martech stacks presented went out of their way to ensure employees could rely on the tools to help them do their jobs effectively and efficiently, no matter what the back-end looked like.

And that leads me to the next point:

Integration

The average tech stack at MarTech 2018 ran from 10 to 20 software solutions, each specializing in their own niche function. That’s a dizzying amount of data, interfaces, and features to keep track of. How can an understaffed marketing team be expected to keep track of it all?

The answer lies in integration. Most modern martech solutions use an open API to connect with other tools and expand their functionality. There are also solutions like IFTTT and Zapier that help simplify the process of integrating with other tools.

In one presentation, Tony Ralph, VP Marketing Product for Walmart eCommerce, shared that the ideal way to build a consolidated marketing tech stack isn’t to buy an all-in-one solution, but to assemble a diverse collection of tools that are each the best at what they do (for you), but connected via API or other integration methods. This allows you to swap out or upgrade individual technologies without you having to replace the rest of the set.

AI

Artificial Intelligence can be a hard sell to jaded marketers just because it’s so much of a buzzword. But Adelyn Zhou, CMO of TopBots, and Dejan Duzevik from Concentric were on-hand to show MarTech 2018 attendees just what the future held.

The most visible sign of AI’s progress in martech is the emergence of chatbots—those automated response boxes where customers type in questions and get useful responses. We are seeing a sharp rise in companies that offer these solutions, and machine learning is getting very good at picking up natural language, to the point that it can be hard to tell who’s a real agent and who’s not.

Machine learning also makes a significant contribution towards predictive analytics, customer sentiment analysis, and data management. It can tackle higher levels of complexity than a human administrator can.  

Over time, more martech solutions will appear, grow, and evolve. But there is one thing they’ll never do:

Go away.

Static vs Dynamic Call Tracking Numbers: What’s the Difference?

April 19, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

Call tracking allows marketers to track calls from a dedicated number through to the outcome of each call. It’s a great tool for tracking the source of calls. One number in a newspaper ad, another on a social media advertisement, another elsewhere. Each of these static phone numbers provides simple insight to the source of calls.  When the source of a call is digital, call tracking software allows marketers to utilize dynamic phone numbers to take their analytics and segmentation to an entirely new level.

What are Dynamic Phone Numbers?

A dynamic phone number is displayed on a website or landing page and changes depending on the data associated with the caller’s context and journey. For instance, if a user finds your landing page via organic search, they see Phone Number A; if they click through an ad to the same landing page, they see phone number B. The process of substituting numbers automatically on web pages is called Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI).

Why call tracking with Dynamic Phone Numbers Is Better Than Static Numbers

The reasons why marketers choose to apply dynamic phone numbers over regular static ones:

Attribution and Tracking

Ads and emails deliver great conversion data when prospects click through and are taken to a landing page, but you lose that visibility when they call a static phone number listed on that page.

Dynamic phone numbers enable the same website or landing page to be used for different ads without sacrificing the metrics you get with a campaign-specific phone number. This is perfect for campaigns that need to be tracked separately and have the same messaging.

Localization

Local numbers help businesses with a local presence be more attractive to certain customers. It is why many businesses list multiple local numbers on their contact page.  When the number of locations get’s large (5 or more) it becomes harder for visitors to know which number they should call.

Dynamic phone numbers automatically present phone numbers aligned to a prospect’s context. That means if local numbers are what you need, present just the local number aligned to the user’s geographical area. It’s more efficient and scalable than juggling dozens of phone numbers and landing pages.

Number Recycling

One other little-known benefit of dynamic phone numbers is how it helps you to manage and recycle unused phone numbers. Marketers using call tracking software to generate campaign-specific phone numbers tend to get carried away and create more than they need—or create a large volume of numbers, use them once, and forget about them.

The better call tracking platforms allow marketers to pool and recycle available numbers and reintroduce them into new campaigns. It saves you from buying new numbers and keeps your inventory of phone numbers more manageable.

Ready to explore dynamic phone numbers in more detail? Contact us to discuss how to maximize your call tracking software.

Why Call Tracking is an Important Tool for Agencies

April 13, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

You might get confused at first at how call tracking relates to marketing and advertising agencies. After all, agencies exist outside the client company and have nothing at all to do with their operations. They aren’t involved in what happens on the contact center floor. Why would you care what kind of software the client uses to manage their operations?

Call tracking is one of the most important tools an agency has at their disposal. It’s a marketing tool for agencies to track campaign success, obtain customer insights and drive strategic and tactical change.

Here’s a closer look at how call tracking accomplishes all this:

Track advertising campaign success

Phone calls are traditionally an offline channel, and as such, are historically a blind spot when it comes to metrics. Fast forward, and modern agencies are using call tracking to remove that blind spot. At a basic level, call tracking generates a series of unique phone numbers, each associated with the data you need – campaigns, demographics, and even neighborhoods (if you’re doing a direct mail campaign for example). 

These unique numbers make it easy for call centers to identify the marketing efforts resulting in calls, and more importantly, sales.

That ability to measure the impact of ads on conversions and sales means no more underestimating campaign success!

Collect customer insights

Curious what a customer thinks? Then ask them a few questions if you already have them on the phone.

The best call tracking solutions integrate with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms (i.e. HubSpot) so contact center agents immediately see the customer’s marketing history (how and when they’ve encountered the brand in the past), while being able to update the CRM with information. Knowing more about the customer makes it possible to create more targeted and more valuable experiences for your client.

Drive strategic and tactical change

With call tracking data completing the attribution picture, you are now armed with information to answer hard questions: Should you and the client shift focus to a different demographic? Do you need to change the voice or wording of the ad? Is the value being clearly presented to callers?

All these answers affect the next version of whatever marketing assets you’re using and can even change overall strategic direction. It allows you, the agency, to stay agile and adjust client marketing strategies with each new insight.

For more information on how call tracking assists marketing and advertising agencies, visit https://try.retreaver.com/

How to Gain Consumer Insight

April 5, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

Successful businesses prosper when they know what the customer wants. That’s why organizations spend so much time and money gathering data and asking questions. They want to ensure that they are providing the right value to the right customers.

But market research alone isn’t enough; companies also have to collect and act upon consumer insights to be sure they’re on the right path.

The difference between research and insight

Traditional market research involves gathering facts, figures and statistics. Researchers then attempt to discover trends and look for generalities among the data. This is extremely valuable for business attempting to penetrate new markets.

Consumer insights have a tighter and more intimate scope. Instead of looking for the overall picture, it looks at the rationale behind a situation or action (not just a purchase) and attempts to build a narrative out of the data.

Consumer insights allow companies to create more personalized marketing campaigns and more tailored brand experiences. You don’t just know which of your products sell; you know why they want it. You don’t just know that you have a defect in your product; you know why that defect matters to customers in the first place.

What makes a consumer insight valuable?

By understanding the primary motivation behind a customer’s actions, organizers have a much higher chance of responding in the correct manner.

Nike is a brand that did consumer insights right. Its “Find your greatness” campaign for the 2012 London Olympics sprouted from the insight that most of Nike’s consumers were everyday athletes who wanted to push beyond their own individual limits.

Coca-Cola (specifically New Coke) is a brand that got consumer insights wrong. Market research and product studies had shown that people like Pepsi better in blind taste tests. This data convinced Coke that they had to change up their flavor to be more like—or better than—Pepsi.

Unfortunately, they hadn’t asked the customers what they thought. People hated New Coke. They didn’t want Coca-Cola to change, and sales of New Coke tanked.

Think about how else consumer insights can help your business. It can help you improve your customer service, open opportunities for new products and improve existing ones.

How to gain consumer insight

As mentioned before, consumer insight is similar to market research in that they both require facts and metrics, but insight can only be gained through deeper questions and thorough comparative analysis of the data.

Observing customers’ buying habits is one sure-fire way of developing customer insight. This can easily be done if you have the right tools to capture and measure buyer activity, such as website cookies, tracking URLs and web submission forms. You can easily use these to assemble a consumer insight picture of buyer intent and motivation.

All this collected electronic data is great, but there’s no better source of insight than the buyer himself. Contact centers are in a unique position of being able to talk directly to the customer and ask them the right questions. When you combine this with call tracking software like Retreaver, which helps agents identify the caller, the reason for their call, and what led them to reach out, and you are well on your way to picking up valuable consumer insights about your brand and product.

Contact us today to find out how your call centers can help you gain key consumer insights.

What’s in a name? Multichannel vs Omnichannel Marketing

March 13, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

Marketing is an industry full of buzzwords, and at first glance the terms multichannel and omnichannel marketing seem to be describing the same thing. Both involve reaching out to customers in a variety of ways, and both involve keeping those touchpoints consistently awesome. While there are similarities there are also significant differences. Marketers need to know what those differences are so that they decide which goal to shoot for.

So what is the difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing?

Multichannel marketing involves communicating with customers across multiple platforms and channels. It increases brand presence and gives customers the ability to choose their own favored method of interaction and engagement. Which is good, because 98% of Americans switch between devices multiple times in a day. A consistent multichannel experience makes it easier for customers to reach out to the brand when they’re ready to buy.

Omnichannel marketing is multichannel marketing evolved into its purest and most ideal form: a consistent and cohesive customer experience across all channels and types of engagement. It covers every possible interaction with the customer across all channels, from pre-sales to post-sales and everything in between. Every single touch point with the customer has to be seamless and generate warm and fuzzy feelings of satisfaction.

Is omnichannel marketing worth it?

If omnichannel marketing sounds like it’s a lot of work, that’s because it is. Maintaining that level of consistency across multiple channels, platforms and teams is extremely difficult. 61% of customers can’t easily switch from one channel to another when dealing with customer service. Most companies simply don’t have the infrastructure or process required to make omnichannel work.

But the payoffs are enormous when it does work. Businesses that successfully adopt omnichannel marketing strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year retention rates over those that don’t.

So how can you get your business to that level?

One step at a time.

Take your first step towards omnichannel marketing

We recommend focusing on one area first, then move on to others once you’ve established a standard of quality. This “pioneering area” so to speak has to have the greatest impact for the investment. For most businesses this usually means customer service.

Customer service is the thorniest part of the omnichannel marketing experience because it has the most impact on a customer’s happiness, and yet is the most difficult to get consistent. Disconnected systems and uncoordinated databases break up the flow of a support call and force customers to repeat the same information—especially if calls transfer from one agent to another.

A proper call management and tracking system helps solve these problems by:

  • Coordinating omnichannel information between marketing, sales and customer support
  • Alerting call center agents as to the nature of the call prior to actually starting the conversation
  • Scalable personalization of the call experience
  • Tracking call metrics for better marketing insights

Retreaver’s call tracking platform layers onto existing phone systems to do just this. Get started on your omnichannel marketing strategy by improving your contact center performance and provide valuable metrics to marketing, sales and customer success. Visit try.retreaver.com to learn more!

Revenue Attribution: Tying Marketing ROI to Business Results

March 5, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

Revenue attribution is a modern luxury most marketers ignore. Before attribution, marketers didn’t have any way to reliably tie their efforts to business revenue. This was much due to the nature of the medium. What do I mean? Consider it impossible to accurately credit the impact of a billboard or TV ad on sales unless there’s a drastic spike.

That was then. Today’s marketers can accurately tie marketing ROI to business results. You now have the data to home in on which campaigns, channels and keywords are bringing in the most conversions. It means revenue attribution is necessary to show marketing’s value to the rest of the organization. Sadly, many marketers still have no idea what revenue attribution is nor what it can do for them.

What is Revenue attribution?

Revenue attribution is the process of crediting a conversion or sale to a specific channel or marketing action. The most basic example of this is a promotional email that directly led to a web purchase. The attribution is pretty clear: the customer received the email, clicked on the link, and purchased the item. Therefore, the revenue for this sale—and other sales like it—credit is given to this specific email campaign.

Revenue attribution is key to accurately measuring and reporting campaign performance. It gives CMOs hard numbers with which they can prove marketing ROI.

Different revenue attribution models

Marketers have many marketing channels active at the same time and customers will encounter at least two of them over the course of their purchase. So how do you measure which one gets credit for the sale?

There are different attribution models in place, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

First-touch revenue attribution. This model gives credit to the first touch point a customer encounters. It assumes that the first touch point is what makes the customer aware of your brand and is what starts them down the path to the sale. The problem with this method, it overemphasizes how important the awareness stage of the funnel is. It’s also susceptible to errors, since the true “first-touch” could have been offline.

Last-touch revenue attribution. The last-touch model credits the sale to the last recorded touch point. It’s the simplest revenue attribution model to measure by far, and is what many attribution tools default to. The problem with this method, if a customer encounters your booth at a tradeshow and then goes to your website to do the purchase, it’s the website that gets the credit for the sale. Even though the tradeshow had the most influence.

Multi-touch revenue attribution. 

This revenue attribution model keeps track of every touch point the customer encounters over the course of the buying cycle and gives credit to each. The amount of credit for each touch point varies based on whatever variant of multi-touch attribution you’re using, and it’s still potentially more accurate than the other two methods because you have a better idea of which marketing assets are influencing the overall buying decision.

The missing link in revenue attribution

Most of the methods listed above require some sort of online or digital component in order to capture the required data: website tracking, an online form, or a specific landing page. Offline touch points like print ads, tradeshows, or even word of mouth are overlooked. So how can brands find out which of these offline touch points contributed to the sale?

A proper inbound call tracking solution will do all this and more.

Modern call tracking solutions like Retreaver generate unique phone numbers that you assign to both digital and offline campaigns, and tie them into your marketing automation system. You get an accurate picture of actual campaign performance, and your agent doesn’t have to risk wasting your customer’s time asking intrusive questions.

Visit try.retreaver.com to learn more about how call tracking contributes to your marketing ROI.

Connect Instapage with Retreaver for Instant Call Results

February 16, 2018 | Marija Sekularac

Landing pages serve a valuable purpose within a company’s marketing strategy. These humble, single-page locations on the Internet greet any person who shows an interest in your company’s offerings.

Just one landing page isn’t enough, though. Studies have found that companies with more than 40 landing pages get 12 times more leads than those with 5 landing pages or less. Essentially, you need to create at least one unique landing page per offer.

Instapage is a powerful solution for creating multiple landing pages at scale. With it, you can easily create landing pages based off of design templates and incorporate them into your marketing campaigns.

While Instapage is fantastic at tracking which ads and emails convert via clicks and views, there is still a blind spot when it comes to phone conversations. For example, when a user visits the landing page and calls the company directly instead of clicking on the provided links or filling out the form. How would you know which emails or ads are working and which don’t?

That’s where the Retreaver integration for Instapage comes in. With it, you’ll be able to get more data on promotion-related phone calls than ever before, no matter how many different landing pages and brands you run.

Here are just a few areas where Retreaver brings value:

More Accurate A/B Testing

A/B testing is one of the best tools a marketer has for increasing landing page conversions. In fact, using correct targeting and testing methods can increase conversion rates by up to 300 percent.

But that’s assuming all of your conversions are based on trackable clicks and visits. Phone conversions are either ignored, overlooked, or invalid because it’s impossible to tell which landing page triggered the call.

Not with Retreaver.

Retreaver attributes page variants with each call. This capability makes your testing results more accurate and thus makes future design decisions more reliable.

Increase Customer Intelligence

Don’t waste the customer’s time asking for information you should already know. Retreaver’s Whisper functionality prompts you with who the customer is and why they’re calling, using a voice overlay that only your agent can hear. You can create a personalized call experience in minutes.

After the call, use the data to establish which messaging better connects triggers more responses. Learn more about which customers are responding to your ads and emails and why they’re interested in your offers.

Manage Multiple Client Accounts

Agencies often track conversions across multiple landing pages. The more campaigns the agency is managing, the more time-consuming and confusing it is.

Instapage gives you the tools to more easily address this challenge, but what happens if the agency is also fielding the inbound calls that these campaigns generate?

Retreaver makes this process more manageable by having one account with the ability to manage multiple companies. Keep all campaigns compartmentalized and distinct, so that there is no risk of your team crossing wires.

Connect with Retreaver today and discover a smoother way to manage your landing page leads!