/ Webcalling

The value of voice- how can eCommerce businesses make the most out of their inbound calls?

In the first part of our Inbound Calls guide, we emphasised the different ways in which inbound calls can benefit a business. From improved customer engagement, to tracking a clients’ purchasing journey and establishing new channels for communication- inbound calls can be eCommerce businesses’ best friend. Customers value personalised interactions more than ever before, with 75% of them considering calling to be the most effective way to get a quick response. That being said, how can inbound calls be implemented into your marketing strategy to achieve the desired objectives? A tricky question. To a large extent, this depends on the size and nature of your business. However, there are some pointers which can be universally applied within all industries and which can help you realise the full potential of inbound calls.

1. Optimise your website
It can be challenging to create a seamless transition from online to offline communication. One of the most effective ways to do so is by implementing ‘Click to call’ buttons within your website, offering visitors the chance to be connected immediately. This feature is particularly useful for mobile users, since more calls (48%) come from mobile search results than any other marketing channel. Be strategic about the place where you choose to put your number- positioning it at the top of your landing page means increased visibility, but also potentially more low-value calls, which could tie up resources and prevent higher value conversations. As a compromise, you could place your phone number right below your products display. This can increase the number of calls from customers at a later stage of their buying journey, who have already seen the products they want, but have a few unanswered questions before being ready to purchase.

2. Establish a framework for communication
Developing a communication framework will help your contact centre agents adhere to a structure that ensures the same high quality of customer interactions no matter the type of contact. It is important to differentiate, however, between a framework and a script. Scripts are often too inflexible and they don’t allow agents to establish a personal connection with the customer (they are essential though for certain businesses). Frameworks, on the other hand, are especially useful for inbound call centres. They allow agents to focus on listening and responding to the customers’ queries, which makes for a more personal and naturally-flowing conversation. Remember, people like to buy from people, which is why a framework is the best way to go when it comes to responding to your clients’ needs.

3. Keep track of your marketing campaigns with call recording
One of the main problem marketers face when executing a mobile ad campaign is tracking calls and measuring ROI in real time. It can be challenging for businesses of all shapes and sizes to track which marketing channel has been driving the most inbound calls.Call centre agents then face the challenge of gathering information without having a clear idea of where and how this data is going to be implemented. Therefore, in order for your business to utilise the data from inbound calls, reliable communication between the call centres and marketing teams is essential.
60% of marketers surveyed by Invoca don’t know which of their marketing campaigns actually drives inbound calls. Even if you have a well thought-out referral program in place, it can be difficult to follow the path that has led the customer to make a purchase. One of the main reason being that marketers do not have a direct communication with customers. They remain in the dark when it comes to people’s response to various advertising campaigns. While inbound calls hold valuable information about your customers, if this data is not utilised efficiently, you might miss out on valuable opportunities for enhancing your marketing and sales strategy and improving the customer experience. Call recording makes it easier for marketers to sift through all the data and directly connect revenue to the corresponding marketing channel.

Screen-Shot-2018-07-16-at-16.05.44

4. Realise the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for inbound calls
While a good way to understand the results of a marketing campaign on customers, listening to calls manually can consume a lot of time and effort. Inbound calls can be a marketer’s gold mine when they know how to sort out through the vast amounts of data and extract the key insights. The most recent developments in Artificial Intelligence technology can be utilised by marketers to understand how the customers respond to their calls to action. Call centre managers can also monitor the performance of agent
Using AI software to analyse phone conversations helps predict customers’ behaviour and improve the agents’ performance. Implementing AI in the form of real-time speech analytics (RTSA), for instance, is a great way to accumulate and organise large amounts of data, eliminating the blind spot between digital and phone call. Implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to your call centre’s operations can help resolve customer service issues faster and reduce the customer abandonment rates. That being said, the purpose of the AI technology is not to completely substitute human interaction. Instead it is there to enable customer service agents to perform more complex, high-priority tasks. The instant feedback generated from speech analytics can be used as a guideline for improving the agents’ performance and the customers’ purchasing experience. The key is to not only generate a good amount of inbound calls, but also to make sure that the information gathered from them is put into good use.

5. Generate calls through social media platforms
What makes inbound calls so valuable is that they can be generated from various platforms in addition to your website. It is important to know where your customers spend most of their time online and ensure that they have a way of connecting to you. Social advertising, for instance, is the sector experiencing the most significant growth in driving calls. Facebook is the social media platform generating the highest levels of traffic, with 2.2 million active users, making it the most popular choice for businesses looking to reach out to their customers on social. With mobile social media consumption being on the rise, it has been estimated that more than 18 billion calls will be placed to companies advertising on Facebook in 2018. Whether it is through video, slideshows or interactive games, customers can engage with your business on a more personal level and, consequentially, make a call to initiate a purchase. Having introduced a “Call to Action’’ button to businesses’ pages, Facebook allows businesses to re-direct customers to their goal conversion. This means that mobile users are only a click away from contacting your business at any time of the day, making social media the perfect channel for generating leads through inbound calls.

Screen-Shot-2018-07-17-at-10.18.17

6. Establish a reliable tracking strategy
Once you have set up your inbound call centre, trained your employees and set the objectives you wish to accomplish, it is vital that the calls are being tracked and constantly monitored. A customer who has picked up the phone and contacted your business is one that is highly-engaged and more likely to make repeated purchases. Therefore, it is important to pinpoint the exact marketing channel that has led those high-value leads to pick up the phone. One of the most effective methods for call tracking is incorporating Pay-Per-Call ads with performance marketing, to connect the different marketing channels with the inbound calls and closely track the return of investment. Where are the calls coming from? At what stage of their buying journey do customers tend to call? Those insights will help you decide on the best way your business needs to approach inbound calls. In order for the call tracking strategy to be effective, it needs to reflect not only your business’ needs, but also your customers’ online behaviour and path to purchase.

Screen-Shot-2018-07-19-at-11.23.13

Inbound calls are the best way to engage with customers at any point of their purchasing journey and provide personalised service. However, implementing calls into your customer service operations is only half of the battle. In a highly competitive environment, eCommerce businesses can’t simply rely on picking up the phone to generate bigger sales and improve customer satisfaction. To make the most out of your inbound calls, it is necessary to establish a framework that follows a calls origin, duration and the agent’s performance. However, with all customer interactions, it is worth remembering that it is not just about ROI and the most profitable marketing channels. Calls are all about connecting with the people who value and appreciate your brand. Inbound calls, handled by well-trained agents and analysed by marketers, are key for establishing long-lasting relationships with customers and fostering brand loyalty. A product’s value can be significantly increased by the quality of customer service provided, an essential point for all eCommerce businesses looking to stand out from their competitors.