By Olivia Cole
It’s not even ironic anymore to make jokes about the value of “old fashioned” tools like the phone in the modernized business setting. The truth is, the phone is anything but old fashioned: with advances in call technology and the steady global incline of smartphone usage, the phone is as integral as ever when it comes to not only marketing and sales, but support and HR as well. But in case you need some inspiration, we’ll give you a few examples.
Make Recruiting Easier
If your company is growing quickly, keeping up with applicants can be a challenge. Instead of putting your HR manager through the task of prescreening a massive number of applicants, do this instead: prescreen them using an IVR and streamline your interview process. When an applicant applies online, you can set your system to automatically place a phone call to that applicant, and an IVR menu will prescreen the candidate with a unique set of questions (recorded by you) to determine the applicant’s eligibility. Their answers are recorded and entered into your system for later review, and you can call them later if they’re suitable. And if they’re not? Send them a pre-recorded voice broadcast informing them that you won’t be moving forward with them as a candidate.
Optimize PPC Landing Pages with Easy A/B Tests
Marketers are constantly tweaking PPC ad copy, landing page content, headlines, and more. You’re probably doing A/B tests with your email marketing, declaring winners, and such. But are you doing the same for your landing pages? Change the headline, video, etc. on the landing page and simply add a unique call tracking number to each landing page and monitor the calls each landing page drives. These days, the more data the marketer has, the better.
Your Trusty Tracker
Too many marketers admit that they know the importance of tracking ad success but aren’t actually integrating tools that make that possible. A simple integration is call tracking. Insert unique call tracking numbers onto every single marketing initiative you have—online and offline—and analyze the results. Being able to tell which ad, search keyword, email or direct mail campaign, or web pages drove calls and which didn’t adds important value to marketing campaigns.
Make Hotlines Smarter
Maybe you run a psychic hotline or some other call-in service that relies on specific paid selections of call duration. You can use IVR technology to route the caller to the rep (or psychic!) they’ve selected, and then after the call has commenced, notify the caller that their call will be terminated in x seconds unless they purchase more minutes. Or you can terminate the call at the exact time the caller selected and paid for. No hassle.
Your Social Media Lifeline
More and more brands have a presence on social media and many of them use those channels as a means of customer communication, often fielding complaints. But according to Nielson’s State of the Media report, two-thirds of social media users prefer contacting a company by phone as opposed to “social care.” And honestly, you as a business should prefer the phone to “social care.” Social care is just that: social. Do you really want your customers’ complaints—and your dirty laundry—to be aired out on the World Wide Web for everyone to see? There’s also the possibility of delayed response, which is easy when you’re a growing business with only one or two people monitoring your social channels in addition to their other duties. Instead, put a phone number in your Twitter bio with a line that says “Problem? Give us a call. We always answer.” The phone is a lifeline for customers who want fast service and support and can save you a lot of headache.
Take the Pain Out of Satisfaction Surveys
Often, when a customer has a negative experience with your service, they don’t tell you about it. They just use someone else. For example, if you own a chain of furniture stores and one aspect of your business is delivering said furniture, your customers may have had a beef with your delivery service, either its timeliness, the service they experience by your driver, etc. But you may never hear about it. They got their couch, hated the service, and will order elsewhere next time. To prevent the “blackout” effect, trigger a voice broadcast survey once their item is confirmed as delivered. Then, you get on-the-spot feedback on the customer’s experience and, if that feedback is negative, have the opportunity to correct the issue right away, perhaps offering some recompense to lure them back.
So there you have it. If you still think the phone is a dinosaur, then you’re looking at the wrong bones! Want some more ideas? Download this free eBook! Tips for E-Commerce: 4 Steps to Drive Sales with the Phone.