Kyle Klement is the owner of The Vet Marketing Firm. We help vet practices become leaders in their market.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown confusion into even the most routine business transactions. The market is a roller coaster, people are out of work and business owners need to be smart with their advertising dollars.
Measuring your return on investment is a must. But this is not the time to rely solely on the typical metrics. While Google Analytics, keyword tracking and social media monitoring are still crucial tools, these techniques alone can reduce your digital marketing to a guessing game.
I’ve found that call tracking is more important than ever right now. We’ve used call tracking to gauge the effectiveness of clients’ ad campaigns and help them allocate resources more efficiently. Our clients crave feedback, and robust call tracking helps us help them.
Call tracking links specific marketing strategies to unique phone numbers, tracks the results of those strategies and gives business owners near real-time feedback on what is working. This can offer a treasure trove of data: You can track when leads call, where they are calling from and if the call results in a sale. Most importantly, a smartly deployed call tracking strategy takes into account what customers are actually saying and what questions they may have.
Gaining Insight Into Shifting Demands
It may be a while before we know the true impact of COVID-19. But I’ve noticed two emerging trends already, and you can use call tracking to stay on top of them.
1. Customers’ Needs May Have Changed
The digital marketing strategy that made sense in February is most likely obsolete because your clients’ lives have dramatically changed. Call tracking can provide insight into how you can meet their new needs.
Call tracking enables you to record and listen to phone calls to see what customers are actually saying. Maybe your customers have safety concerns you hadn’t considered. Maybe they’ll surprise you with their requests. Remember: You don’t know what you don’t know.
As you gather feedback, take steps to get ahead of these concerns and position your company to meet demand in this new normal.
2. Customers Have Questions
In 2017, a study by American Express found that 40% of the U.S. consumers surveyed prefer to talk to someone on the phone when dealing with a complex issue, such as a payment dispute or complaint, rather than rely on websites or other digital tools. COVID-19 has likely increased that number. Why? Because these unprecedented times mean customers have more questions than ever.
Think outside of your own industry for a moment: Are there services your veterinarian is not offering due to your state’s COVID-19 response? What safety measures are plumbers and electricians taking during home visits? What changes can you expect if you go in for a dental cleaning? These types of questions are tough to answer on a webpage.
Think about what kinds of questions your customers may have. As you listen to their calls, note what questions they ask most frequently. As calls increase, you will want to be ready with answers.
Ensuring That Your Team Is Prepared
Call tracking goes beyond simple A/B testing and knowing what your customers want to know. It’s a vital staff-development tool.
Business owners who use call tracking are able to listen to calls and give their staff feedback on how to respond. Are they missing opportunities to close on a sale? Are they phrasing their answers in a way that reassures rattled clientele? Is the stress of the pandemic impacting their attitude with customers?
Alan Murray, former president and CEO of CareConnect Insurance Company, used to carve out time each week to sit in the call center and listen to his employees talk to customers. Why? Because it’s this type of feedback that enables a CEO to tweak strategy midstream. Review enough calls and you will know pain points instinctively and be able to craft a vision from on top that aligns with what your frontline employees are experiencing.
Here are three ways to help prepare your team:
• Build a list of new frequently asked questions. The calls coming in now are likely very different from what your team was handling prior to COVID-19.
• Role-play. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer who wants your services but is also dealing with a bevy of stressors. Prepare your staff by role-playing.
• Scripts are helpful, but remember that your customers are humans. Encourage your staff to interact in a friendly, professional way with customers. Avoid canned responses.
Marketing right now is like fishing after a hurricane. You may have fished the same waters for years, and you think you know what bait is going to get a bite, but the conditions below the surface have changed.
A traditional online ad strategy is like throwing out lure after lure and waiting to see what gets a bite. It might work, but you are relying on pre-crisis knowledge.
Call tracking can be the ultimate fish finder. Imagine how your day on the water would change if you could listen in on the fishy conversations taking place beneath you.
These are uncertain times, but deploying smart strategies can help you ensure that you’re getting the best bang for your marketing bucks. Call tracking is a key step in that direction.
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Author: Kyle Klement, Forbes Councils Member