Marketers know how important it is to provide consumers with a frictionless buyer experience. The more difficult you make it for shoppers to get the information and help they need — when and how they need it — the less likely they are to buy from you.
But delivering personalized experiences in today’s omnichannel world is a challenge. Consumers use a wide variety of devices, channels, and conversion paths when researching and ordering products and services — and marketers must own the experience for all of them.
For example, a consumer might research a purchase on their smartphone while on the train, then continue at home on a laptop. They might visit a business’s website after engaging with a search ad and then call to ask a question and get a quote. They might call back a few days later after seeing a Facebook ad before finalizing their purchase in person at a brick-and-mortar location.
If the experience at any of these touchpoints is disjointed or unhelpful, the sales opportunity is most likely lost — and your conversion rates drop.
Your 2020 Personalization Strategy Isn’t Complete Without the Call Channel
Consumers expect a personalized, cohesive experience throughout the entire buyer journey. When they move from engaging with your business online to engaging with you over the phone, that transition needs to be seamless. If you raise expectations through digital advertising but fail to deliver the right experience when the consumer calls, it will negatively impact your marketing ROI.
And the reverse is also true. When a consumer calls you, has a conversation, and then re-engages with you online, your digital marketing should take into account what was said on the call. Because the consumer most certainly is. They don’t differentiate between a business’s online and call experience — it’s all one to them. So if you are showing callers irrelevant digital ads or offers, you are either wasting budget or missing out on potential revenue, depending on where the caller is in the customer journey.
Marketing Strategies and Technologies for Improving Caller Experiences
The experience you provide those callers can be the difference between winning or losing the customer — and your marketing ROI hangs in the balance. No matter how well you optimize your marketing channels to drive the right leads, your ROI still suffers if their call experience falls short.
Even though marketers aren’t the ones answering phones, there are still several marketing strategies you can incorporate to personalize and improve the call experience to help your call center agents and locations convert more callers to customers:
1. Route Callers to the Best Agent or Location Based on Their Data
Getting callers to the right agent or location to assist them right away increases your chance of converting them. But who or what the “right” agent or location is can vary depending on who the caller is, why they are calling, where they are located, the marketing source that drove the call, the day and time of the call, and more. So marketers can use several technologies to automate and personalize call routing at scale:
- IVR: An IVR (interactive voice response) is an automated phone menu that can ask callers why they are calling and route them to the best destination based on their responses. A common IVR example is one that asks callers to “press 1 for sales, press 2 for support.” But you can also use IVRs to ask callers any questions you need to determine the best way to route them. That can include asking them the ZIP code they are calling from or the specific product or service they are calling about.
- Rule-Based Call Routing: Many marketers also use dynamic call routing technology to set up rules to route callers based on their data and the business’s particular needs and structure. For example, you can have a rule where any caller from a particular webpage or location is routed a specific set of call center agents to assist. Or have any call that happens after 9 p.m. routed to a location or office that is open and staffed to assist. What rules you choose depends on your business, but any rule that gets callers to the right destination to assist them right away will reduce hangups and improve call-to-customer conversion rates.
- Call Forwarding: Call forwarding can route calls sequentially or simultaneously to reduce missed calls and the resulting lost sales opportunities. For example, you can have the same call ring a person’s office, cell, and home phone at once. Or you can have a call ring every sales agent’s phone at the same time or in sequence until someone answers. It’s a popular technology for businesses in industries where workers are frequently away from their desks, such as home services, healthcare, real estate, and automotive sales and repair.
2. Prioritize Your Best Callers so They Don’t Wait on Hold
Callers hate to wait on hold. Our research found that 74% of consumers have hung up after being placed on hold and 75% will hang up immediately if they hear a “long hold times” message.
If you know what characteristics make up your most valuable callers, you can set up rules to have them “jump the line” by sending them to a priority queue where agents can assist them immediately. For example, Dish Network uses Invoca to direct people who are about to abandon the online shopping cart to a high-priority contact center queue that can immediately answer the call and convert these high-intent customers.
3. Provide Agents with Real-Time Intelligence on Callers
When your marketing generates a call, you can expose information on the caller, their location, and the marketing source that drove the call to your agents via a screenpop on their desktop. Knowing before a call begins what search keywords or webpage drove that call can help agents provide a more seamless transition from digital to voice and tailor the conversation to win the customer.
4. Block Spam Calls from Reaching Your Business
Spam calls are more than just an annoyance for consumers. If left unchecked, spam calls can disrupt sales operations and prevent agents from efficiently assisting actual sales prospects. This often results in lower conversion rates from the call channel and a lower marketing ROI from your campaigns. Conversation intelligence platforms like Invoca help businesses detect and prevent spam calls from reaching your business and disrupting communications.
5. Monitor How Your Business Handles Calls to Detect and Correct Issues
The experience your agents and locations provide callers can make or break your marketing results. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope everything works out. Use insights from conversation intelligence technology to detect issues and work with your call center and locations to correct them:
- Call Handling Reports: Marketers can use solutions like Invoca to get visibility into how your call center and locations handle the calls you send them. Look at reports for each agent and location to see if callers are hanging up, going to voicemail, or failing to convert. Is the call center or location understaffed at key times and failing to answer calls? Are agents not asking callers to schedule appointments or get a quote? Share your insights with the location or with your call center operations managers to help them correct the issue.
- Call Recordings and Transcriptions: Marketers can use insights from call recordings and transcriptions to help their call center and locations increase conversion rates.
Marketing Strategies for Using Phone Conversations to Personalize Online Experiences
Knowing not just that a particular website visitor called, but if they are a quality sales lead and where they are in the customer journey after the call is completed, is invaluable marketing data. It’s the best way to accurately determine what to do next with that caller. Should you retarget them with a particular search, Facebook, or display campaign? Should you use them to improve your lookalike campaigns? Should you spend budget marketing to them at all?
You don’t want to waste budget retargeting customers who have already converted over the phone. And you don’t want to miss out on business by failing to target callers that are still in the market for your products and services. So use intelligence from conversations to put callers in the most relevant audience segments to convert them to customers:
6. Retarget Phone Leads With Special Offers
For unconverted callers whose conversations show they are good leads, retarget them with a special offer for the product/service they called about. Consider paying more to target these leads you know have high purchasing intent, as well as broadening your keyword list for them to ensure your ads are visible when they search.
7. Retarget Customers With Upsell/Cross-Sell Ads
For callers who converted to customers during the call, put them into the most relevant upsell or cross-sell ad campaigns. For example, if they called and booked an appointment for furnace repair, show them a special offer for new equipment. Or if they called and booked a trip to your resort, show them ads for your golf package or upgraded wine list.
8. Put Your Most Valuable Callers into Lookalike Campaigns
To get your ads in front of more in-market prospects, consider adding your best callers to lookalike audiences. Lookalike campaigns extend your reach by finding new prospects resembling those contacts in your lists — the more contacts you add, the more prospects your lookalike campaigns can find. Putting your most valuable callers into those audiences can make your lookalike campaigns more effective.
9. Suppress Callers from Seeing Irrelevant Ads
For callers who purchased during the call or whose conversations show they aren’t sales leads, add them to your exclusion lists. You don’t want to keep wasting budget retargeting a website visitor who already bought your product over the phone — or people who called for customer support, to inquire about a job, or to solicit your business.
Don’t Think of Online and Phone Experiences As Separate, Because Your Customers Aren’t
Consumers want relevant, helpful, frictionless shopping experience however they engage with your brand. By providing callers with a personalized experience and a seamless transition from your online marketing to your phones, you will increase your conversion rates. And using insights from what happened on those calls will help you convert more good leads to customers, increase upsell and cross-sell revenue, and find new high-intent audiences to target and convert.