Integrating Answering Services With Marketing Strategies

Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

Employing a comprehensive web marketing strategy is vital to any company.  Effectively executing a plan that uses the proper marketing tactics is paramount to a company’s online success. In order to attract new potential new customers, convert these prospects into sales, and maximize the customer’s potential (i.e. in a position as a long term client), these strategies must be implemented into day to day marketing.  By carefully planning and targeting customers with a web marketing strategy (either a SEO, PPC or viral marketing plan), businesses can not only gain customers, but build lasting relationships that contribute to recurring monthly revenue.  The bad news is that this is often times a daunting task.  The good news is that once you’ve figured out the proper strategy, it becomes easier to continue to generate leads.

Once the proper marketing strategy is implemented, a lead capture plan must also be put into place.  Generally, a business will capture leads from its website in one of two ways.  The first and most common way of handling these requests is via email.  The second is the old fashioned telephoned call.  Studies show that 34% of all inquiries generated from websites (roughly one out of every three website visitors) comes via telephone.  In addition, the best of these potential customers usually come by telephone because their questions are immediately answered.  In either case, capturing these leads are equally as important as creating them.  While there are several different methods to most effectively capture these inquiries, the most effective way is via outsourcing your lead response activities to an answering service or call center service capable of managing your lead volume.

Using an answering service will get the most ROI due to their ability to capture leads by providing 24 hour receptionist response and the technical means to respond to emails and live chat inquiries.   Numerous studies have revealed that voicemail leads to roughly 30% of callers who leave messages with the bulk of calls resulting in hang-ups and or “callbacks”.  That means that seventy percent of people who inquire end up not leaving a message.  An answering service has the ability to capture these leads usually at a much lower cost than a small (or even large) business engaging in 24 hour lead capture in house.  Generally, an answering service can capture leads at a cost of less than a dollar per call where it is usually $2.00+ to manage the same functions in house.  The return on the investment (ROI) of an answering service is excellent, and effective.  Services open up new communication gateways and more effective lead management techniques as well to foster customer conversion including:

  • Lead Handoff: A service can answer (or “capture a call”) and pass that call directly to your business in the form of a “warm patch”.  In addition, the answering service can also complete questionnaires according to your pre-screening script and send out information to you via an email or text message for you to reply at your leisure. With the lead handoff technique, the operator has already pre-qualified the lead,, engaged the caller, and increased the percentage they will be able to be converted.
  • Call Registry Services: Call registry services is a request form online where the prospect fills out a request form for additional information with a request to be called back at a later date in the future (hours, days, weeks, etc.).  If this form is provided by the answering service or can be integrated into any call center software API, the system will automatically schedule a telephone call to that prospective client.  This feature is helpful and creates a great first impression, stressing immediate response, as well as the ability to cater to the client’s needs by contacting them at a specific time.
  • Click to Call: Click to Call is a button that can be placed on any website.  This button enables website visitors to request an immediate phone call from the answering service. Whether the software is provided by the center or is integrated into the website by the end user, a form is filled out which connects the website visitors phone number to the clients DID (Direct Inward Dialing) number at the call center. The service can then answer questions regarding products and services and act as if it was a “traditional” inbound phone call. This helps answer questions and resolves issues quickly, aiding in the process of online sales.
  • Email Management: Outsourced email management means emails will not get lost, buried, and missed. Delayed responses and overloaded mail boxes are cause for frustrated clients as well as prospects. When emails are routed to the call center (either through CRON jobs on your email server or by manually setting up an email forwarder to a designated email box at the center) the answering service is poised for immediate action is handled in real time. Due to the overwhelming volume of emails that many businesses receive, outsourcing can increase productivity as well as strengthen customer service & sales.  These inquiries can sometimes overwhelm a business delaying response rates and dropping the ball altogether. Email Management will:

o   Create an ideal image of your company by responding to your customer immediately.

o   Initiate email and phone response when necessary.

o   Provide an accurate way to follow-up.

o   Initiate the operators to immediately notify you of priority emails.

o   Speed up response time for website inquiries thus increasing any SEO or PPC ROI.

  • Live Chat Services: By utilizing Live Chat through an answering service, your website has a distinct advantage by immediately engaging visitors through chat initiation pop-up windows who may otherwise click-through your website if the answers to their questions are not immediately evident.  The call center agent is able to provide live online support by answering questions according to your provided script as well as escalating any chat conversations when necessary.  This service will help increase conversion of site visitors to leads.  Live chat can help increase lead capture, enhance customer satisfaction and build loyal, lasting customers.

The key to handling leads generated by a website, or any other type of advertising for that matter, is lead capture.  Turning visitors into leads and leads into sales is the goal of any marketing strategy.  Giving the prospective client as many live engagement options as possible increases the likeliness of converting these visitors.  Using an answering service to help capture these leads is a wise investment, aiding in any successful marketing strategy.

For more information on answering services, consult the Resource Nation Buyer Guide

This is a Guest Post By: Nicolas D’Alleva is the owner of Specialty Answering Service, a nationwide call center service and answering service for large and small businesses nationwide.

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