How to create a seamless cross-channel customer journey with call tracking

When consumers jump from online to the phone, it can be a frustrating experience. But it doesn’t have to be.

The post How to create a seamless cross-channel customer journey with call tracking appeared first on Marketing Land.

Have you ever started the purchase process online for a complex product like a mortgage or healthcare then had to call the company to get questions answered?

Usually, it goes like this: Fill out forms online then get stuck. Call, then repeat everything you put in the forms. Get transferred, repeat everything again. Find out you got transferred to the wrong rep, throw your phone across the room, pour a glass of wine and buy something nice for yourself on Etsy instead of doing grown-up things. 

While it may seem this like this is done to intentionally torment you, the cause is usually an inability to pass data from online to offline realms. Here’s how you can create a seamless online-to-offline experience for your customers. 

How call tracking platforms can help

Buying journeys are increasingly digital, but over-rotating to online self-service can be a major source of frustration for consumers who need help sorting out a complicated purchase. Many times, they are going to want to pick up the phone to talk to a person.

In fact, Invoca research conducted by the Harris Poll found that in considered purchase categories like healthcare and home improvement services, over a quarter of consumers prefer to complete transactions over the phone. 

The danger comes when you play bury-the-phone-number to force people into a digital-only transaction — when a company only has automated communications and no option for human interaction, more than half of consumers (52%) feel frustrated and nearly one in five actually (18%) feel angry. That’s probably not the experience you are looking for. 

When companies do encourage consumers shopping or researching online to call, they can run into different issues and new ways to frustrate them. When a customer goes from clicking your ad, hitting your website, to calling your business, that often creates a data gap with two primary effects:

  1. The call center has no context for the call, making it more difficult to provide exceptional service.
  2. Marketing loses track of the transaction and has no data to optimize the customer journey. 

This is where you need a call tracking and conversation analytics platform to bridge the gap. It’s a critical piece of the martech stack for any company that makes sales, sets appointments, or gives quotes over the phone. Call tracking and conversation analytics platforms can not only analyze what’s happening on the phone to classify calls and identify conversions, but they also track the digital journey that leads up to a call so marketers can get both attribution data and customer journey insights that allow them to optimize cross-channel buying experiences.

Here are just a few ways you can use call tracking platforms to create a seamless cross-channel customer journey.

Route calls to the right place the first time

If a potential customer finds your company online and they are calling to make a purchase, you don’t want to route the call to a customer service rep. This not only wastes the customer’s time, but it also burns up valuable call center resources getting them to the right place. You can improve call conversion rates and ensure the best possible experience by getting your callers to the right destination quickly.

There are three common methods of routing calls with a call tracking platform that can help accomplish this. You may end up using one or all of these, depending on your level of routing sophistication and customer needs. 

Routing with call treatments

Call treatments are one of the simplest methods of call routing and it can be accomplished with a call tracking platform or in your telephony system. You can route by asking a caller to respond to a question using key presses, usually something like, ‘for sales, press one. For customer support, press two’. 

Location-based routing

If your business has multiple locations, you can also route calls based on the location of the caller. This can be accomplished via the callers’ area code using your telephony tools, but this poses a risk of improper routing since people frequently keep out-of-area phone mobile numbers long after they have moved.

Using a call tracking platform, however, you can present each caller with a unique local number (based on their IP address, not their phone’s area code) on your website or search results to make sure they get to the right location. Some call tracking platforms can even use tag-based tools that will automatically identify and replace all of your phone numbers on a given web page so you don’t have to do it manually. While online users are all presented with unique phone numbers for tracking purposes, they are still routed to your desired existing phone numbers. 

Route calls with combined data sources

The most advanced flavor of call routing uses a combination of digital data captured by a call tracking platform, third-party demographic data, and/or your own first-party data that lives in your CRM or other internal sources. Invoca’s call tracking platform accomplishes this through three features in the platform called custom data, enhanced caller profiles, and lookup tables.

Custom data is the umbrella name for any data captured by Invoca that fall outside of standard UTM parameters or required integration IDs. Custom data fields are customizable to your business and typically include information like customer IDs, product SKUs, and shopping cart cookies.

Enhanced caller profile data is third-party demographic data matched to the caller. Examples of this include age, home location, and homeowner status. Lookup tables enable you to upload first-party offline data using a match-value captured by an Invoca custom data field. By tapping into these rich sets of data, you can dynamically route callers to the best destination, eliminating call transfers and key presses often associated with calls to businesses.

Unify your online and offline data sources

To avoid data gaps that can cause a fragmented buying journey, you need to unify your online and offline data sources. Easier said than done, right? This isn’t always a simple task, but call tracking platforms that are integrated with other data sources and martech platforms can help you accomplish this. 

Call tracking platforms enable marketers to tie consumers’ digital journey data to phone calls using online data collection and trackable phone numbers. By unifying this information in the platform, you can analyze digital and call data in one place. Many marketers who use call tracking also use integrations with their analytics platforms like Google Analytics and Adobe Experience Cloud to analyze, unify, and take action on data in one place.

Using the Invoca platform as an example, here’s how the data is captured and what it means for you. In the call report, you can see all of your inbound calls and call volume trends at a glance. Clicking on a specific call brings up the call details where you can see a unified view of all digital and offline data associated with that individual call. You’ll see information about the call itself like key presses in the IVR system, call duration, and the full recording of the call. This data is valuable to help segment your calls, such as sales versus support calls, and to understand your standard call metrics.

You’ll also get detailed information specific to each caller like their name, caller ID, and demographic information such as age and home address. You will also get customer journey data like ad exposure and webpage visitation. You can think of this as cookie or campaign data. For example, you can see exactly which paid search campaign and keyword led to a call. By tying the digital campaigns to the offline call action, you can now understand which campaigns are driving valuable phone calls. 

Lastly, Invoca is able to analyze conversations and identify call outcomes in real time. Outcomes could include actions such as submitting an application or purchasing a product. 

By using a call tracking platform to route your calls and unify online and offline into rich call profiles, you can get actionable insights to help you make more informed marketing decisions that can help create a friction-free multi-channel buying experience. 

Learn more ways to create a seamless cross-channel customer journey in the Call Tracking Study Guide for Marketers.

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Make your remarketing more effective and less annoying with call tracking data

If your customers frequently purchase on the phone, you might be sitting on a goldmine of remarketing data.

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It’s estimated that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. That’s a whole lot of opportunities to acquire new customers, and just as likely, annoy the everloving snot out of thousands of others. When you use remarketing to stay top-of-mind with customers, you’re walking a fine line between drawing in potential customers and infuriating your audience. Remarketing can and does work, but only if you can put customer experience above short-term vanity KPIs. Here’s how to do it and how to make the customer’s experience better using call tracking data.

Remarketing, retargeting, and why people hate it

What’s the difference between retargeting and remarketing? Remarketing is your overall strategy of reconnecting with customers and prospects after they have interacted with your brand. This could be a combination of email, paid digital media, direct mail and more. Retargeting refers to the cookie-based ads used to remarket to people after they have left your site on other sites as part of an ad network, such as Google Display Network ads. 

Your typical non-marketer consumer may not know these terms or the inner workings of remarketing. They just know them as ads that seem to follow them everywhere they go after visiting your website, and they have some good reasons to hate them. 

Ads are out of context

Have you ever been shopping for some kind of martech product and then get retargeting ads for it on your favorite hockey blog? If you’re a marketer, you probably just sigh and nod your head in shame that someone’s doing it wrong. Displaying ads out of context is one of the big reasons why consumers feel like they’re being “followed” by you. It sticks out like a sore thumb because it’s just the wrong place and the wrong time. However, if you can contextualize your remarketing, the ads will seem natural and do what they’re supposed to do — keep your brand top-of-mind. When you see ads for the hockey gear you’ve been shopping for on the hockey blog and email automation on marketing industry websites, you nod your head in approval and think “YEAH, these folks know what they’re doing!” Then you buy that 12-pack of pucks and call back that martech SDR who has been hounding you for the last six weeks. Mission accomplished! 

Your ads are absofreakinlutely everywhere, forever

The more times someone sees your ad, the more likely they’ll remember you, right? That might be the case, but they’ll probably be remembering that they’d like to strangle you. A study performed by Skin Media and RAPP Media aimed to find out how this repetitiveness affects consumers. In the study, they found that people think that seeing a retargeted ad five or more times is “annoying,” while seeing it ten or more times makes them “angry”. Not the experience you’re looking for. More than half of the visitors polled said that they may be interested in the ad the first time they see it, even though only 10% report making a purchase as a result of seeing a remarketed ad. Think carefully when you are setting your frequency caps and make sure you are not inundating (and annoying the hell out of) your customers with ads. 

Getting retargeted for stuff you already bought

Step 1: Buy a new power drill. Step 2: See millions of retargeting ads for the same darned drill. Step 3: Scream at your computer “GAWD, fix your suppression, dummies!” The average consumer may also find this rather inept, but more likely, they’re going to be turned off by it. Proper post-conversion ad suppression makes your marketing much more efficient and saves your customers from the agony of being reminded of their purchase for six weeks, or worse, seeing an ad with a lower price than they paid and making them feel conned. 

How call tracking data can make the remarketing experience better

Particularly in the post-cookies age we live in, where the use of third-party cookies for remarketing is being smashed by new regulations and browser-level cookie-blocking, using every source of first-party data you have at hand for remarketing is critical. If your business gets a lot of sales inquiries from inbound phone calls, your remarketing picture gets even muddier. A potential customer may have navigated to your website and clicked on a page or product before calling you and either asking a question or ultimately making a purchase. Either way, you are left with a data gap that leaves you open for making bad remarketing decisions that will annoy your customers and waste your marketing budget.

You can bridge this data gap and get your hands on precise first-party data for remarketing by using a call tracking and conversational analytics platform. When your customers call you, they are literally telling you what they want and how they talk about it. To feasibly classify customer conversations into useful digital datasets, you need an automated system that can understand what’s being said and accurately derive meaning from it. Your call tracking platform should be able to accomplish a few things: 

  • Automatically determine the outcome of inbound phone calls 
  • Predict and classify call type (e.g. sales call, service call, etc.)
  • Collect digital journey data such as UTM, keywords, and GCLID
  • Push marketing intelligence collected from calls to your martech stack in real time

With this type of functionality, you can fine-tune your remarketing campaigns without doing a lot of heavy lifting.  The data can be fed to your DMP and/or ad network to automate the process in real time. And when you understand the nature of a call, you can optimize your media for higher ROI, which can be particularly helpful when you are nailing down the next best step in your marketing, whether that be retargeting ads for someone who did not make a purchase, or suppressing ads for someone who did. You can also use call data to feed to Google’s automated bidding algorithm to adjust your bids according to what is (or isn’t) happening on the phone. 

Conversational analytics tools like Invoca’s new Signal Discovery take this to a new level of precision and granularity, as they can help you find out things about phone conversations that you don’t even know to look for. Over 56% of marketers have no idea what’s said during the calls that they drive or what the outcomes of those calls are. It’s a big data gap that marketers shouldn’t have to live with. “Conversations are overflowing with insights that don’t always see the light of day outside the contact center. As a result, many companies are missing out on opportunities to create a more consistent and positive customer experience across human and digital touchpoints,” said Dan Miller, lead analyst and founder at Opus Research. 

Signal Discovery solves this issue by enabling marketers to quickly gain new insights from tens of thousands of conversations and take action on them in real time. From there, you’re able to drill down into each topic to understand caller behavior and then create a “signal” that Invoca will listen for in future calls so you can see exactly when a specific topic is discussed and can automate your marketing based on this data. No more guesswork, no more risky call assumptions.

With all this data, you can make your remarketing efforts more targeted, relevant, efficient, and above all, less annoying. 

Get the Call Tracking Study Guide for Marketers to learn more about how to use call tracking data to improve your remarketing strategy. 

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Neura converts mobile-location data into time and consumer attention

The company announced its app for Salesforce Marketing Cloud and fully automated marketing using real-world behavioral insights.

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Location data has come a long way. From the early days of radius targeting, which is still happening, mobile-location and location history are now being used for sophisticated AI-driven personalization and customer engagement, increasingly without any reference to location at all.

Neura, which describes itself as “a leader in real-world customer intelligence,” announced it’s available as an app for Salesforce Marketing Cloud. I spoke with Amit Hammer, CEO of Neura, about the practical mechanics of what the company announced.

Converting location into consumer attention. Neura promises brand marketers that they will be able to use its Salesforce app to create customized audience segments and then market to them when they’re most receptive (via app notification, email or text) based on real-world activities and movement patterns. Neura’s data can also be combined with other insights in Salesforce to launch fully automated, personalized campaigns from within Marketing Cloud.

This sounds like the familiar “right message, right time, right place” refrain that has annoyingly appeared in so many mobile marketing presentations. But Hammer convincingly unpacked it for me.

Customer-journey builder incorporating behavioral “triggers” for personalized messaging

Hammer argued that app engagement is generally poor – Neura says notifications have average engagement rates below 8% – because messages are delivered at the wrong time, when users’ attention is not available (e.g., at work, sleeping, working out). He says that behavioral insights from offline movement patterns (and related customer inferences) are a much more reliable guide to customer openness to marketing messages.

This is the alchemical transformation of location data into attention-availability (i.e., time).

Agencies or in-house marketers handle all the creative. Neura’s system identifies when each person in each audience segment may be most open to the marketing message. Two “business travelers,” for example, may still have very different work-leisure schedules and corresponding attention patterns. Neura’s system can accommodate those differences. Users may receive the same messaging creative but potentially at very different times of day or days of the week.

SDK integration into enterprise mobile app. Neura works predominantly with mobile-first brands that have app-based audiences. If users don’t have the brand’s app it’s much tougher to gain these insights and the system doesn’t work as well — although there can be some lookalike modeling.

Neura’s enterprise/brand customers install the company’s SDK in their app. Then Neura starts building behavioral profiles of the brand’s audience from scratch.

Privacy is much less of an issue (or perhaps not an issue) here because this is permission-based first-party data. Neura is analyzing data on behalf of the brand, which has a direct relationship with its consumers. In addition, users must affirmatively opt-in to allow use of location.

The system doesn’t rely on pre-defined personas (e.g., working parent, business traveler) and then seek to find those people in the world, but creates customer personas and profiles based on their individual behaviors. As indicated, there is some lookalike modeling but Neura is more often delivering deterministic data.

Why marketers should care. Location is a critical source of data signals about customers. In many cases, offline activities are much more reliable indicators or predictors of preferences, identity, and intent than online signals. However, all of this must be handled transparently.

But when location is ethically and reliably sourced, it can be the cornerstone of relevance and personalized marketing efforts. And the combination of this data with machine learning technology does bring us much closer to – dare I say it – one-to-one marketing.

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