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How an Ad Agency Fixed Its Call-Center Marketing

October 20, 2013
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227911

About a month after national advertising agency buyCalls contracted out a phone marketing campaign for a home-security client, it noticed a major discrepancy between the performance of its call-center vendors in North Carolina and Indiana.

"One was exceeding expectations, and the other was really falling short," says Heather Adams, general manager of Southern Pines, N.C.-based buyCalls. Both were handling approximately 8,000 calls each week, but the North Carolina center was closing fewer sales than the Indiana location.

BuyCalls tried to investigate the issue but couldn't make a direct comparison; the call centers worked independently, each with its own reporting and inter-active voice response (IVR) systems. "All we had to rely on was their word," Adams says.

The Fix
It turned out that buyCalls had the solution right at its fingertips: The company was already using Santa Barbara, Calif.-based RingRevenue to track the performance of online ads. Adams decided to use it to track calls at both centers and utilize the full suite of call-marketing automation tools--IVR technology, reporting analytics, call recording, customizable call routing and more--to conduct split tests.

"The RingRevenue platform allowed us to take control of our call traffic and really closely monitor it, route it and, of course, dig into what was going on with the two call centers," Adams says. The tests revealed excessive hold times, misrouted calls and lackluster customer service from the underperforming location--and that it was closing 11 percent fewer sales than its counterpart.

Since buyCalls didn't want to start from scratch with a new vendor, the agency worked with the North Carolina center to improve customer service by sharing call recordings from the Indiana location. It also reduced hold times by automatically taking calls left on hold at one center and routing them to the other.

The Results
Performance at the North Carolina center improved significantly, helping buyCalls increase sales by 11 percent and boosting the client's revenue by more than $120,000 each quarter. "Now when we launch new campaigns, we run them through RingRevenue first," Adams says. "That way we can control the IVR, we control the flow of the traffic, we see what's happening and we can listen in to the reps."

A Second Opinion
"Customer-driven companies not only need systems to do the marketing and the sales-calling part of lead generation … but also they need help with all the reporting analytics that help them identify and analyze the process, and this is a good example of that," says marketing consultant Linda Myers-Tierney. However, she notes that it was the action taken by buyCalls' management, not the data itself, that achieved results. "When you have the analytics, it shows you where to look. Once you get in there and look, you find things like human factors and other subjective elements that are opportunities for improvement."