The contact center is a billion dollar channel but has yet to exploit its true potential. Contact center data can now drive demand through another channel, online. To drive brand and business equity today, marketers must leverage consumer insights to create seamless experiences across channels where each interaction, regardless of channel, is relevant and consistent to lead consumers along the path to purchase.
In the late nineties it was fashionable to say the web would kill the contact center as people would no longer need to speak on the phone when purchasing. While this has certainly happened to some degree there is a serious argument to be made that customers or prospective customers that call into contact centers today are more valuable than they have ever been. This is because they have made the effort to call and often are looking for personal assistance or advice on what they should purchase or get help with adding services or products. In many cases a caller is looking to inquire about a support-related matter and ends up being upsold a service contract or some other helpful and beneficial product they weren’t aware of at the time of the call.
Still, in many cases the contact center has remained a silo from the web meaning you call on a phone using a different network than you use to surf a website. In many cases, callers are also browsers but prefer personal interaction via the phone. Omnichannel buyers, or those buyers who shop using multiple channels simultaneously, contributed 70% of gross sales and 65% of total transactions in 2012 according to market research firm Epsilon.
Still, billions of dollars of transactions take place over the phone and there is enormous opportunity in getting the web to speak contact center – or vice versa as the case may be.
Contact Center Remarketing
Contact center remarketing or the ability to capture call data and determine the interest of a caller and then use this information to display related ads when they surf the web is a technology which will more closely tie the web to the contact center. Most marketing and ecommerce professionals already understand the billion dollar space of web remarketing. A natural complement to this space is the newest innovation to remarket contact center data with the web in order to recapture share of wallet from both customers and prospective customers. Over the last few months I have had time to meet with Dan Akre a 17 year BPO/Contact Center veteran and Peter Kim a former executive from Google and Yahoo from a the industries newest technology and enterprise solution provider company called MightyHive to discuss how their contact center remarketing solution works.
In our first conversation they told me their mission was to “Manage, measure, and optimize the world’s advertising budgets in real-time. Leverage real time data from a non-revenue producing channel and create net new revenue streams.”
The CEO of the company, Peter Kim was the former head of ad platform business development at Google and the director of dynamic advertising at Yahoo! making him the right person to head up this initiative.
Before we go further, it should be apparent to all of us that big data, or better yet, actionable smart data is changing our world – every day it seems we learn about how advertisers or governments are able to leverage technology and seamlessly endless amount of storage to make better decisions. In this case, MightyHive believes companies have a treasure-trove of data at their disposal which can help them become more profitable. They are certainly correct and if they play a central role in bringing the world of contact centers in-line with web advertising, they are certainly going to be a household name in the future. Even if they don’t achieve such notoriety, they certainly seemed poised to benefit greatly as these previously disparate worlds intersect.
As Dan Akre mentioned, “every company experiences abandoned calls into their contact center. Additionally, every company contact center could benefit from exposing their brand, products and services to an already interested audience within the all important 24-48 hour window from point of contact”
Rather than talk theory though the company decided it made sense to produce real-world results of their technology in action. MightyHive worked with Extra Space Storage a company with a market capitalization worth nearly $5 billion dollars and 950 properties to increase self-storage sales.
Within 24 hours of making a call, callers were presented with targeted ads for Extra Space Storage on Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and other sites. At that point the company enjoyed the following results.
In the first case there were prospects that called but did not make a reservation – after seeing custom ads, their rate of making a later reservation doubled, delivering a 1,092% ROI. The second group consisted of users who made reservations – it is possible these customers would not show up as customers even after a reservation was made. Once this group began seeing targeted ads, their conversion rate increased by 2.7 points resulting in a 1,549% ROI.
Kim thinks contact centers, CRM systems and direct mail programs are sitting on a goldmine and his company can help you find it. Moreover he believes contact center retargeting will be the industry standard in the future as contact centers are still the place for complicated sales where users need to ask questions and get advice.
At the moment the technology is able to match between 30-70% of your records. This percentage should increase as more people get added to databases which track their computer usage and phone numbers.
One of the biggest concerns users have when it comes to advertising is how untargeted it can be. No one wants to be solicited for aluminum siding if they live a brick apartment. Contact center ad retargeting is something which makes ads more relevant and subsequently more effective. This should result in a win/win for all involved. Yes, the web has reduced call traffic to contact centers but the remaining calls which are valuable will be even more so as a result of web ad retargeting.