Bringing Back the Old School: Why Phone Conversations are the Missing Link in Personalization

Posted: Friday, January 22, 2016


Author: Amber Tiffany

The most personal conversations happen offline.

While a personalized digital experience is certainly enticing and powerful, to really get to know a prospect—their interests, burning questions, and biggest challenges—you talk to them. And what better way to talk to someone than over the phone, where chances for misinterpretation are greatly reduced. I’m sure any sales rep will back me up on this one.

Dial in on call intelligence

Phone conversations are not only personal, but they’re also one of the most common interactions people have with a business. In fact, nearly three times as many people choose to call a business instead of filling out a form, according to Invoca’s State of the Mobile Experience report. And BIA/Kelsey reports that from 2014-2019, mobile calls to businesses will more than double, reaching an astounding 162 billion. This sharp rise in call volume makes sense when you think about how many people engage on mobile devices today.

While digital marketers are certainly able to gather data on mobile engagement, many have little insight into what conversations are going on over the phone, and as a result, their personalization is suffering. Without visibility into these offline conversations, marketers are personalizing their website with the wrong messages or sending follow-up emails that have nothing to do with their prospect’s latest conversation with their company. The missing link is call intelligence.

Call intelligence gives marketers visibility into the conversations that customers and prospects are having over the phone. With these insights, marketers not only get to understand customers on a new level, but their personalization is based off the entire omni-channel journey.

Here are four ways call intelligence can help marketers personalize more holistically—based on both online and offline conversations:

1. Fix out-of-touch nurturing

Lead nurturing is a great way to educate your prospects and keep them engaged with your business. Let’s say a prospect calls your business because they want to find out what differentiates you from your competition. Your sales rep has the perfect answers and makes the competition look pitiful. Well done!

However, without personalization, nurturing can come across more like spam than a thoughtful way to educate and engage your prospects. If your marketing automation system didn’t get the memo about offline conversations because you didn’t have a way to share that information, like call intelligence technology, your leads remain in the same generic, top-of-funnel nurturing track. The next thing you know, your leads get an email talking about irrelevant use cases. Too bad you didn’t send them your new buyer guide complete with competitive advantages instead!

With the right tools, you can automatically sync call data with your marketing automation, which helps you make sure prospects are dropped into the right nurturing tracks and your follow-up message are relevant.

2. Retarget with the right information

Retargeting can re-engage a prospect with a personalized ad. For example, after having an in-depth conversation with one of your sales reps at a tradeshow, your prospect may do a quick Google search for your company and your targeted ad pops up. From there they click on it and head to your landing page. Instead of filling out a form, they want to talk through some question now, so they do what a lot of motivated buyers do—pick up the phone to learn more and get ready to make a purchase. Whoohoo!

But if you’re retargeting based on an incomplete picture, you could be sending a dangerous message. If your retargeting platform is out of the loop, completely oblivious to the offline conversation (or other online conversations), it’ll think it’s time to retarget this “unconverted” visitor with a discount offer. The result is an annoyed customer who is now angry that they were about to pay full price. This is a terrible, impersonal customer experience, but unfortunately it happens all the time.

3. Do Web Personalization right

Web personalization tools empower marketers to create digital experiences uniquely tailored to each visitor by showing them content and creating an experience based on their needs and preferences, as indicated by their previous activity. Sounds cool, right?

For personalization to be truly effective, it has to take the entire omni-channel customer journey into account. If it doesn’t, you could be “personalizing” in the wrong direction. For instance, if you know someone is likely to call your business, why not personalize your website with your phone number and click-to-call buttons for your mobile visitors? Likewise, if a prospect has already called your company, their next visit to your website needs to reflect the conversation.

Integrating call intelligence with your web personalization efforts empowers you to show web visitors content related to the product they mentioned over the phone and encourages them to the next step in the journey.

4. Get your sales reps in the loop

Personalized marketing doesn’t stop after the digital journey, or at least it shouldn’t. If a sales rep answers the phone and goes through a generic list of questions followed by the boilerplate pitch, the personalized experience is shattered. The trick is to give your sales rep access to real-time information on the caller and their engagement history.

Tools like call intelligence, combined with the power of your marketing automation platform, provide demographic data that allow you to share which campaigns and content a prospect has interacted with. The best part? The sale rep can access this data in real-time. This level of insight helps reps customize the conversation. As a marketer, you’ve helped create a seamless omni-channel experience.

It’s easy to get lost in the digital realm, but remember that just as it’s important to explore new channels, it’s critical to go back to your roots and dial in on the basics. Use customer conversations, both online and offline, to personalize for your customer’s entire journey. Each conversation has valuable insights that can be used across channels and touchpoints to make your audience feel that they are valued and heard. If you don’t know what’s going on over the phone, you’re probably put your foot in your mouth more often that you’d like.

What steps have you taken to ensure a consistent omni-channel experience for your customer? Share your experience in the comments section below!