Prior to co-founding MoreVisibility nearly 11 years ago, I spent a decade consulting in the call center industry. One of the initial reasons that I transitioned from call centers to the internet was my perception that search engines presented the most consistent and logical path to connect a buyer with a seller.
Everything about Search made sense, particularly the fact that prospects would be able to connect with companies in a more intuitive way than through the tedious task of outbound calling. Inbound call center programs present a much warmer environment (the prospect is initiating the call), but a host of issues always challenged the profitability of those efforts, most notably the cost associated with generating the telephone calls. Back in 1999, it seemed like it would be so much easier and less costly for marketers to reach targeted prospects via the internet and search engines.
One of my frustrations with call centers was that there was very limited retention on the part of most frontline agents to follow a call guide, ask the right questions and engage a prospect. Furthermore, only a small percentage of call center management types were able to effectively evaluate and refine what they were doing, e.g., scripting, data analysis, etc.
Guess what? Although the playing field has changed (telephone to internet), many of the same fundamentals continue to impede marketers. For example, what’s the difference between analyzing calling stats like dials, average talk time, conversions, etc. and making appropriate adjustments in comparison to looking at website data from Google Analytics and modifying a campaign as a result of what is learned? I believe they require a similar set of skills and more importantly a comparable degree of discipline; a report is useless if it’s not consistently reviewed and acted upon.
Both internet marketing and call center marketing are niche channels that require expertise and ongoing focus to develop and maintain profitable campaigns. The lesson here, however, is slightly larger and is that no matter what you are actually doing to market your business, there are no easy answers to acquiring new customers. Take the time to master the fundamentals and continue to refine to achieve a favorable result.