Martech Landscape: What is Call Analytics & Tracking Software?
Call tracking software can help businesses of all sizes connect online and offline marketing efforts, but it has a few risks, too.
Call analytics software measures and manages the inbound phone channel (including both landlines and mobile phones), from initially assigning call tracking numbers to measuring, monitoring, analyzing and reporting the resulting caller data. Enterprise call analytics platforms provide call tracking, recording, routing and attribution tools to enable these functions.
Note: This is part of our Martech Landscape series, which will look at various marketing technology platforms over the coming months.
What Does Call Analytics Software Do?
At a basic level, call analytics enables you to integrate online and offline messaging using tracking and analytics software.
Using unique phone numbers with integrated tracking codes, you can learn all sorts of things about the caller, from their current location to what keyword got them to you in the first place.
As the software gets increasingly sophisticated, it’s also possible to score the phone calls as they come in, provide “whisper” messages with data about the caller as the call comes in, or use conversation analytics to trigger follow-up nurturing campaigns from your CRM or marketing automation system.
Depending on the sophistication of your marketing team and the software currently in place, adding call analytics to your marketing technology stack enables you to translate a wealth of offline voice data into data that can be merged with your existing customer database.
Below are some of the capabilities:
- Local and toll-free tracking phone numbers — using unique, trackable phone numbers, marketers can measure marketing sources, channels, location and more. Some call analytics tools also offer international tracking.
- Keyword-level tracking — Calls can be traced back to the keyword clicked by a website visitor, enabling marketers to view the complete clickstream prior to the phone call. You can see everything such as log time, session, caller ID, call length, campaign, ad group, creative and last URL visited
- Call recording — Calls are recorded and transcribed both to determine call quality and to monitor rep/agent performance.
- Call scoring and routing — These tools automatically qualify and distribute calls to the appropriate rep based on variables such as caller source, geography, age and demographic. Calls can be tracked through the system to conversion or other qualifying events.
- Conversation analytics — Similar to sentiment analysis in social media, conversation analytics uses natural language programming to perform on-call analysis of spoken words or phrases that have been identified as “signals” of conversion intent.
- Call fraud detection and prevention — Call analytics software can identify, monitor and block suspicious call patterns to prevent inbound call fraud.
What Are The Benefits & Limitations Of Call Analytics Software?
Well, it depends on your marketing organization, of course, but there are some basic benefits to be had by correctly using call analytics software:
Campaign and ad optimization — You’ll be able to track inbound calls down to the keyword, campaign or channel level and follow them through the conversion funnel to identify the most profitable sources.
Improved sales staff productivity and performance — The software can help sales reps with features that can route high-quality leads quickly to the right agents or locations; it can also help management identify which reps or which sales techniques are most effective.
Online/offline channel attribution — Call analytics provides a link between online keywords and campaigns and offline phone calls. The data can be fed into attribution models for greater accuracy.
Unified customer view — Integrating call analytics data with CRM, marketing automation, tag management and other marketing technology systems can provide a more complete view of each customer for more relevant, personalized marketing.
For some businesses, call tracking may require more phone numbers being set up than makes sense financially. Also, if you do implement call tracking, be sure to find out what happens to the numbers if you cancel the business. They should either let you keep the numbers or provide ample time to reuse the numbers. Lastly, adding multiple phone numbers can negatively impact local search and SEO, so be sure you have someone on staff who understands current best practices for local search.
How Do I Know If I Need Call Analytics Software?
Before you take the plunge and start calling vendors for demos, make sure that call analytics is a good fit for your business.
Ask yourself these basic questions:
- Do we make enough revenue from inbound phone calls to justify this investment?
- How well are we currently analyzing our data from phone calls?
- What type of capabilities do we need — basic tracking or more sophisticated features like conversation analytics?
- Do we have someone on staff who will use it, and is management OK with that person becoming the “owner? (A software tool is only as good as its user.)
- Will it integrate with our existing systems?
- If we do buy this software, how will we know it was worth it? How do we define success?
What Questions Should I Ask A Call Analytics Vendor?
First, ask the vendor to be specific about all the capabilities they offer (See above). In addition, here are some questions to ask:
- How do you clean your phone numbers? What is the number quarantine period you use before reissuing them?
- Are our phone numbers portable? In other words, do we own the numbers, and can we take them with us if this relationship doesn’t work out?
- Do you offer whisper messages to announce caller sources or other valuable information to our agents before accepting the call?
- How long are call recordings available to us?
- Do you offer native off-the-shelf integrations with third-party systems such as search, Web analytics, CRM or marketing automation platforms? If so, which ones?
- How long will it take for us to be up and running on the system?
- What is your service reliability guarantee? What telecom carriers do you work with?
- How scalable is the platform? How many calls can it handle? How many have been successfully processed?
And, don’t forget to ask about pricing and support:
- What is pricing based on? What features are included? Are there additional fees (consulting, add-on features, API, quotas)?
- What is the minimum contract length? Is there a short-term contract or an “out” clause if things don’t work out?
- What kind of customer support is available? Can I pick up the phone to report problems?
What Are Some Companies That Provide Call Analytics Software?
Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape 2015 lists the following companies for Call Analytics/Management:
CallFire, Callmodo, CallRail, CallSource, CallTracking Metrics, CallTracks, Convirza, DialogTech, interact.io, Invoca, Keymetrics, LiveOps, Marchex, ResponseTap, Synety, and Twilio.
MarketingLand’s sister site, Digital Marketing Depot, has also published a report, Enterprise Call Analytics Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide, which includes a selection of call analytics vendors as well.