by Marta Pereira
on December 15, 2016

 Girl making a call

Call Tracker – the basics


If calls are one of your sales channels – and for most companies, they still are – then you should learn about Call Tracking. Whilst analytics tools are usually great to measure whatever happens online (conversions included) it’s often very difficult to know which particular marketing effort generated a call. Can you tell if the person who just ordered something over the phone saw your phone number on your ad, or on your landing page? Or was it perhaps an outdoor ad? Not knowing the source of the calls is a very significant gap in the customer journey knowledge and it has two main consequences

1) Not being able to properly calculate campaign ROI

2) Not being able to identify which online leads ended up converting over the phone, which compromises the single view of the customer and undermines lead nurturing efforts (you can’t nurture a lead if you don’t know whether it has been converted yet)

The good news is that it doesn’t need to be like that. Call tracking allows you to understand exactly how customers reach you, so that you can properly attribute leads to their source.


How does call tracking work?


Most call tracking tools use tracking phone numbers. This means that each specific lead generation activity (an ad, a newsletter, a flyer, etc.) will have its own unique phone number. When customers call this number, the call will be forwarded to your salespeople. Because you know the number they dialed, you can get detailed reporting of how many calls each action has generated.

But is this enough?

Knowing the number of calls generated by a specific ad or campaign is a great first step, but it falls short of what a powerful call tracking tool should do. For two reasons:

Reason 1) Knowing the number of calls does not tell you anything about conversion

Reason 2) Knowing the number of calls does not solve the detachment between online lead and offline customer; you don’t know which online visitor called you, and therefore will not recognize that visitor as a customer (unless he logs in).


How to solve common call tracking limitations


Reason 1) Knowing the number of calls does not tell you anything about conversion

Your call tracking solutions needs to be integrated with the system where contact results are stored. For most companies, this will be a CRM or a contact center application that allows agents to classify calls. If this application is not connected with call analytics, then although you know how many calls a campaign has generated, it will be impossible to understand if those calls generated actual return. This means that your call tracking system should either:

  • have its own agent-facing application for call classification
  • be flexible enough to integrate with any existing systems, regardless of which technology they use (so that if this platform changes, it will not affect your access to information)


Reason 2) Knowing the number of calls does not solve the detachment between online lead and offline customer

Besides the attribution factor – which is indeed very important – call tracker should also be something that enables action and personalization. Most companies see value in providing a different online experience for customers and non-customers. Even within a group of customers, you might want to have different promotions for clients that have bought or subscribed different products or services.

But to do this you need to differentiate those who convert from those who don’t. If this conversion happens offline (in a call), and you can’t assign this call to a specific online entity (a visitor), then you can’t personalize the experience when that person goes back to your website.

To solve this you need to go beyond campaign-level tracking.  Essentially, instead of attributing a tracking number for each campaign or ad, you need to do it at the visitor-level. This means that each visitor will have its own unique number, so we can effectively connect the online entity (visitor) with the offline behaviour (call).


Call Tracking adds value to your business


To sum up, with visitor-level call tracking you have the full picture. If a visitor in your website or landing page decides to call you, you know:

a) which campaign they came from

b) how many times they called

c) what was the result of those calls, therefore, if any of the calls resulted in conversion

Besides being able to improve reports and optimize ad investment, you can personalize your next engagement actions based on this knowledge. Here’s a few examples:

a) For people who convert in the call:

  • personalize website or app content in next visits, recommending add-ons or other complementary products or services – even before they login as a customer
  • inhibit commercial voice contact points (free toll numbers, Click2Call or Click2Chat forms), which are great tools to promote a first-time purchase but can become cost generation centers when used by people who have already become clients

b) For people who do not convert in the call:

  • automate another outbound call a few days later
  • create additional call-to-actions on desktop and mobile

This type of workflows is absolutely essential to make the most of having such an extensive access to cross-channel data.

In the end, call tracking adds value to your business in two different ways: it helps you optimize your advertising investment (lead generation) but it also helps you driving more revenue from your leads (lead activation).


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