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Listen Up, Small Businesses: Your Customers Are Telling You Something
Last week’s inaugural Conversational Commerce Conference (C3) was dedicated to bringing together relevant groups and influencers to discuss the growing connection between marketing and customer service.
Core to this discussion was the rapid adoption of social media and mobile Internet-enabled devices, and how these trends are being leveraged by businesses both large and small, to reach and build relationships with customers.
In addition to attending the conference, I had the opportunity to present how small businesses can improve their bottom line by capturing and analyzing what customers are saying over the telephone using call analytics and call mining.
Why are telephone calls so important? Ask small businesses, who rate phone calls as their most valuable lead source 65% of the time according to a study published by Kelsey/BIA.
Call analytics provides a small business with unique local or toll-free numbers to embed in their (search) advertising campaigns that measure the number of calls generated by each advertisement or listing, across online, offline and mobile.
For example, an advertiser may decide to create and embed a unique phone number for their Facebook Fan Page, Google Places and Microsoft adCenter campaigns to track the effectiveness of each media channel. This empowers the small business advertiser to quickly measure their online advertising spend against the metric (calls) they care most about.
Let’s take American Financial Network, a regional mortgage bank. Like many small businesses, they generate most of their revenue over-the-phone. In addition, given the size of the average mortgage transaction, a missed or mishandled called can significantly impact revenue.
American Financial Network recognized this, and implemented call analytics to quickly and easily listen to every phone call and respond to any missed or mishandled calls.
In addition, they began to look at where their customers were calling from (by reviewing area code data) and started changing their media mix to address underserved and/or high-performing regions. The impact? Average daily revenue increased 30% with just these changes. To me, this example is at the core of the connection between customer service and marketing.
Call mining takes this concept a step further and is particularly valuable for small businesses that do not have the time or resources to listen to every call. Call mining uses software to take recorded conversations, transcribe them, and provides marketers with the ability to extract key insights through a search application.
These insights are then leveraged to adjust media spend, perfect advertising messaging, and train customer service and sales representatives to better serve customers.
Think about how powerful this tool is to a small business. What if you owned or were responsible for the marketing (often one in the same) of a local home services business? Wouldn’t you want to have insight into how your business and its representatives interacted with customers? While many small businesses have access to their call data, it is simply too time consuming to analyze it all.
Call mining empowers a small business to access its recorded phone conversations with great ease, allowing calls to be filtered, sorted, and prioritized based on topics that are most important to the business so patterns and trending topics can be quickly identified. Armed with this information, a small business can improve its customer facing communications by better addressing its customers’ needs and concerns.
So listen up, small businesses. Call analytics coupled with call mining could be a simple way to understand what your customers are saying and improve your customer communications in search marketing channels and beyond.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.