Nuts & Bolts - Telemarketing: Please Try This Call Again; Next Time With More Integration
Even marketers who think they know what they're doing in every channel and discipline, including analytics, may overlook optimizing their greatest conversion tool: the telephone.
So says CEO Irv Shapiro of Skokie, Ill.-based telemarketing software provider Ifbyphone. "Generally what we find is over the last 15 years the people who are experts on target marketing are spending the majority of their time working on the visual and tech side," he says. "These same people have forgotten that in the United States today, in terms of dollar volumes, 70 percent of all commerce involves phone calls."
That rule especially holds true for large consumer purchases, such as homes, vehicles and major appliances, he says. "The telephone is the Rodney Dangerfield of technology: It gets no respect."
If they're tracking phone calls at all, Shapiro says marketers often use elementary techniques, such as multiple phone numbers that may dump prospects, undifferentiated, into a call center.
Shapiro suggests marketers optimize the channel and integrate it into the marketing mix by:
- Using the media source and the information it provides about the consumer to dynamically route a call to the agent who's most optimal to close the sale.
- Dynamically changing call routing in real time, such as when a sales representative is on vacation.
- Being able to route calls to mobile devices as easily as routing calls to traditional call centers.
- Considering routing calls to a non-traditional location, such as an agent's home, rather than offshoring or balking at U.S.-based call center costs. "By using virtual call center technology ... they could also monitor those calls as if they were in a call center."
- Automating follow-up calls with individual sales representatives' voices to ensure timely, efficient contact. Shapiro says, "The system [should call] the person with a message recorded by the rep saying, 'Hey, this is John. You asked me to follow up in two weeks. If this is a good time to talk, press 1, I'll be right on the line.' ... Instead of waiting for the sales rep to get around to doing that, you can automate those processes and make it more efficient."