In the pursuit of more granular first-party data to better inform marketing campaigns and business decisions of all kinds, conversation intelligence is a field well worth exploring.
Using machine learning and AI-empowered technology to capture, analyze, and even visualize the data from customer calls at scale is driving dramatic improvements in organizations’ understanding of who they serve – and precisely what it is those customers need.
Conversation intelligence adds a data science layer to call tracking analytics.
It’s taking marketers well beyond the simple metrics of how many people called and from which channels to answering complex customer behavior and intent questions such as:
- What trends exist in our customers’ behavior, motivations, and desired outcomes?
- How can we improve the customer experience in the most meaningful ways?
- Which topics and questions are on our customers’ minds?
- What outcomes are being achieved in our customer service agent interactions?
I had an opportunity recently to chat with Dee Anna McPherson, CMO at Invoca and an expert in the field of conversation intelligence.
In this interview, you’ll discover emerging trends in call tracking and analytics, how marketers are using the first-party data gathered through conversation intelligence, and which opportunities should be on your radar as you plan for the year ahead.
McPherson shared tips to help brands make the most of this technology and how AI-assisted call analytics are used in various industries, as well.
Call Tracking & Conversation Intelligence Trends Of Note
Miranda Miller: “Any exciting trends or technological innovations in the call tracking and analytics space that marketers should keep an eye on this year?”
Dee Anna McPherson: “The biggest conversation intelligence trend that we’re seeing is greater usage across the buying journey, particularly for improving contact center performance.
I believe that 2022 is the year when the contact center officially moves from being viewed as a cost center to an opportunity to grow customer lifetime value.
This means that they will need new AI-powered tools to automatically analyze and score agent performance on every call. And, this could have a big impact on conversion rates for search marketers who are spending budget to drive phone leads.
Today, many businesses score agent performance manually by listening to calls, and this means that only 1-3% of calls get scored, leaving a huge margin for error.
Using AI-powered conversation intelligence, businesses can automatically analyze and score 100% of their calls.
The ability to automate Q&A processes leads to better customer experiences, which in turn result in higher conversion rates and improved marketing performance.”
Underutilized Opportunities In Conversation Intelligence
Miranda Miller: “What do you think is the one greatest but underutilized or untapped opportunity in conversation intelligence right now?”
Dee Anna McPherson: “Conversation intelligence is one of the last untapped sources of first-party customer data like digital engagement, behavior, and interactions, purchase history, demographics, and more.
First-party data is increasingly important as the constraints on third-party data tighten up, but how to get it, organize the data, and take action on it still leaves a lot of companies scratching their heads.
Using conversation intelligence, businesses can determine what keywords perform best, get data to precisely retarget and suppress advertising to prospects and customers, and get insight into consumer behavior to guide campaign optimization strategies.
Any business that regularly has conversations with their customers needs to use AI and conversation intelligence to mine that data and make sense of it to be competitive in 2022.”
Conversation Intelligence Strategy For Different Industries
Miranda Miller: “How does conversation intelligence strategy vary by vertical? Are there differences in call tracking and analytics best practices for retail vs. automotive or finance, for example?”
Dee Anna McPherson: “At a high level, all verticals use conversation intelligence to achieve similar fundamental goals, namely to:
- Drive more call conversions and revenue from their marketing.
- Reduce wasted ad spend and unwanted calls and increase ROAS.
- Deliver experiences to convert more callers to customers or patients.
- Uncover more actionable insights from calls to contact centers or locations.
While the fundamentals are similar, customer (and patient) journeys do vary from vertical to vertical – the reasons why consumers call businesses, where those calls go, what a call conversion is, and what elements make up an ideal phone conversation are different from industry to industry.
For example, one of our customers in the retirement communities vertical used Invoca’s AI-powered call analytics to track calls related to COVID-19 concerns, as well as the “tenor and tone” of conversations about the pandemic.
They were able to measure trends by location, and they used this information to update the information they were displaying on their website, and to get a handle on resident and caretaker concerns before they can turn into situations where people are leaving the facilities.
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The result was resident turnover actually went down during the first year of the pandemic.
Automotive dealers and service networks face a different set of challenges as calls are routed to individual dealers, not a central contact center. Since the calls are routed all over the place, it makes it difficult to track them and get marketing attribution.
Conversation intelligence can act as a unifier of marketing, sales, and customer experience data, enabling them to improve marketing efficiency and sales performance at any location.
The best practices of conversation intelligence are often the same, but some of the tactics and strategies can differ depending on the industry and what you want to learn from conversations.”
Tips For Call Tracking & Analytics Success
Miranda Miller: “What advice do you have for marketers considering/contemplating adding call tracking and analytics to their stack this year?”
Dee Anna McPherson: “Conversation intelligence has a lot of applications from paid media attribution and optimization to sales to digital user experience.
If you’re thinking about getting started with conversation intelligence, you can see tremendous ROI even if you only focus on one initiative to start.
Many of our successful customers who later expanded their use case started using conversation intelligence for paid search attribution and reporting, and then grew into audience targeting and automated bidding before tackling any other use cases.
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So, start off by benchmarking your performance and making one change at a time – we call this the “crawl, walk, run” approach to implementing conversation intelligence across the revenue organization.
Look for a partner that can provide a dedicated onboarding team and that can help you develop an implementation and success plan specifically tailored to your business.
Developing a plan, a clear roadmap, and performance benchmarks with the partner are key to gaining adoption in your organization and exceeding your goals with conversation intelligence.”
Working At Invoca
Miranda Miller: “Thanks for your insight, Dee Anna. Now – for the marketers in the crowd who may be on the hunt for a new opportunity, what makes Invoca a great place to work?”
Dee Anna McPherson: “Being a great place to work takes more than just perks and benefits, especially during ‘the great resignation’ where we have a really hot job market.
Invoca is different than most other technology companies in that we have this “egoless culture” that’s focused on driving value for our customers and our employees.
One of our core values is to “help each other thrive,” and you feel that on every project you work on and any time you reach out for help – someone is always there to support you.
It’s a great feeling knowing that your coworkers always have your back, and you’re not all just competing for the prize. This allows everyone to focus on innovation, our customers, and continuous improvement, and feel good about what they’ve accomplished at the end of every day.
One thing we’ve been focusing on in the last two years is supporting and growing our awesome Invoca culture while shifting to a hybrid workforce that leans toward remote working.
Luckily, we had a lot of remote employees before the pandemic hit, so it was not a big shock to the company or to the people. But, we have implemented initiatives that make everyone feel included and supported, no matter how often they’re in a physical office, if at all.
We’re currently examining how to get the most out of a hybrid approach of people working remotely, working in the office, and coming together for events.
Everything needs to be more curated than it used to be – you can’t just tell people to come in and not have a plan to engage them. Organizing every in-person meeting or event is more like putting together a wedding than a team offsite.
No detail is too small, and we’re paying close attention to everyone’s feedback to provide the best possible experience for all of our employees.”
You can learn more about Invoca’s culture and browse open job postings here.
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In-post Image: Courtesy of Invoca