Call Recording

3 Business Tips Straight From The World Cup

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Have you caught World Cup fever?

As enthusiasm grows for the sport, more and more people are tuning in to the tournament, drafting their favorite players in fantasy leagues, and, of course, cheering for their teams. One thing I've noticed as I've watched---football (the other kind) has a lot in common with successful business practices. These three business tips stick out to me:

1. Goals matter.

This one’s pretty obvious in soccer, isn’t it? But how much attention do you pay to your business goals? If you’re not setting goals and measuring your levels of success against them, you might just be wasting your time---and money. Not sure where to start? Sit down with your staff and create goals for yourself, your employees, and your company that are SMART:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Actionable

  • Results-focused, and

  • Time-bound

Once you’ve clearly and concisely set goals, follow through on them. Make sure you revisit them annually to make sure you’re on track, and don’t be afraid to adjust your goals when necessary.

2. Listen to the coach.

As the owner or manager of your company, this may sound a little funny to you---after all, aren’t you in charge? Exactly! You’re the coach, which means you are responsible for coming up with a game plan, conditioning, training, and ultimately, executing a win.

In December, the U.S. Mens Soccer Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinnsman had this to say about his team: “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet. For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament." Sounds pretty harsh, right? This article contends that that Jurgen’s brand of coaching is exactly what the team needs.

“Through this sort of harsh realism, Klinsmann is asserting his belief that the U.S. must significantly change the way it produces soccer players. He wants the team to develop a coherent national style of play that will be employed at every level” so that 9-year-olds play the same way the national team plays. He wants teenagers to join professional teams when they're 18 instead of going to college, like they do in Europe. He wants to proactively identify and recruit dual nationals.”

How does that relate to business? It means everything starts with you. Despite what Klinsmann said about his own team, he obviously believes they have the potential and capacity to win on a big scale. Whether you’re frankly pragmatic, like Klinsmann, or more optimistic, the tone and expectations you set for your team will direct your success or failure (yet another reason we think it’s imperative to set goals from the top down).

3. Have a backup plan.

When USMNT defender John Brooks scored the winning goal in the United States’ game against Ghana, being a “backup” didn’t matter. Brooks actually became the first U.S. MNT substitute to score a goal in a FIFA World Cup, but what really mattered was that, in the 86th minute, Brooks’ goal was on target. Clenching a win against Ghana secured the U.S. team a win.

Like Brooks’ last-minute goal, a backup in business can come out of nowhere and help your business win big, too. With call tracking, you can have a backup always there to help you track calls across the U.S. without having to deal with your phone company.

Here’s how it works: When you advertise, we partner with you to give you local or toll-free numbers, depending on your needs. Whether you choose 800 or vanity numbers, you can use  your numbers on specific campaigns to see how the results stack up against each other. That information can help you determine which media work best for you, what time of day your ads are most successful, and more. (P.S. Not sure if you need a local or toll free number? Here's an article that can help.)

With call tracking, you won’t have to scratch your head wondering how your advertising campaigns are doing (and why they are or are not wins for your company). If you think that sounds good, but want even more insight into customer phone calls, we can record each call, too, so you can review them to help your team close more business.

So, whether you have been a diehard fan for years or are just dipping your toes into the world of (the other) football, enjoy the tournament! And then, take these tips back to the office and see what a difference they will make for your team. 

Don't Let Madness Stop Your Business Productivity

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I bet you’ve heard about the guy who decided he’d give away a billion dollars to anybody who could come up with a perfect bracket. Lucky for him, none of the millions of bracket entries made it past the first round of the challenge (and if you’re one of the participants, don’t feel bad---you only had a one in 576 quadrillion chance of winning).

For almost every other business owner out there, losing money during March Madness isn’t a game they want to play---NCAA-obsessed workers could cost employers $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour.

50 million Americans are expected to participate in March Madness, and most likely, you employ at least one of them (hey, you may be a little obsessed yourself!). It’s fun, after all! But if you’ve got employees doing more than sneaking glances at their phones and spending a little too long in the break room, chances are they’re not doing all of the work they can---or should---be doing. What should you do to keep tabs on your business productivity?

You’ve got two options:

A. Shut off your business operations to the dancing completely.

Block streaming websites, collect smartphones, enforce TV-free break rooms, and cause general overall office depression. Probably incite a walk-off. Definitely have someone switch the sugar bowl you use for your coffee to salt. This approach may backfire.

B. Enjoy the madness, but track your business productivity.

Look, you’re smart. You know it’s impossible to put blinders on your team, but you also know that you’re responsible for how you manage distractions, especially when they affect your bottom line. One easy-to-implement solution? Call recording.

Why does this work? Monitoring your employees this way ensures that they’re not slacking in providing excellent customer experiences: they aren’t letting phones ring, leaving customers hanging, or coming up short on serving the customer just because a game is scheduled to start soon.

Recording calls keeps everyone accountable, but it's a means for recognizing and rewarding outstanding members of your team, too.

When you start recording your calls, you’ll be able to turn your productivity questions into data you’ll be able to use and re-use. It’s not just a good tool for March Madness aka business distraction season---there are exponential ways you can use data from recorded calls month-after-month (training and continuing education opportunities and onboarding for new employees come to mind immediately).

Call recording is about more than policing your employees. You don’t have to hover over their desks to make sure work is being done well---the numbers will tell you all of that. It’s about maintaining an environment where your customers are served well and your operations are running smoothly. When those things are taken care of, a few minutes to watch a basketball game won’t be a big deal at all. In fact, taking that time to celebrate wins and bemoan busted brackets together will boost office morale. And who doesn’t want that?

How Do You Make Your Customers Say "Spoice"?

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SPOICE! SPOICE! SPOICE!

OK, I'll admit---I’m enamored with the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. And when U.S. Snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold of the 2014 competition, his proclamation of “SPOICE!” resonated with me. Mostly because I had no idea what it meant.

In case you’re wondering, too, here’s the (un)official definition: Spoice, which rhymes with voice, is

“An exclamation of gratitude toward life (Urban Dictionary), or, a particularly high compliment to be paid to someone. “Her last name’s ever. First name Spoiciest.” @sagekotsenburg

What if you could translate the “spoice” of life to your customer interactions? Would you, pardon the pun, jump at the chance? Of course you would! Well, it’s easier than you think, and it starts with call recording.

Call recording gives you insight you can't get any other way.

It's the direct link to details about your customers, your employees, and your marketing campaigns that could potentially boost profits---and, conversely, going without it could cost you.

Call recording tells you about your employees,

so you can keep an eye on quality and liability issues. With call recording, you can easily recall the correct card numbers, account information, or price quotes given; that way, you can correct any data discrepancies as soon as they come up. Your business benefits as light is shed on specific ways you can improve how you train and evaluate employees, scripts, and your sales methods. With call recording, you can simply and precisely target and measure the success of individual advertising campaigns as well as your overall marketing strategy.

Call recording is a low-cost solution with valuable benefits.

Instead of throwing away dollars to purchase systems that still make you do the work to figure out what your customers are actually saying, call recording gives you complete, direct access to exactly what you want to know in real time. You don't have to hire a bunch of people to organize and archive your data, either. It's done for you---you don't have to train yourself (or an employee) to maintain a complex system. The low cost of recording your calls far outweighs the perceived lack-of-cost of trying to monitor your employees yourself or, even worse, not at all.

Call recording gives you insight about how well you serve your customers.

Ultimately, all of the benefits come down to this one. If you want to know what your customers really think, record your calls. You will find out the good, the bad and the ugly, and then, acting on what you know will help you close more business. Delighted customers become loyal customers---the kind who finish a transaction and know they will choose you next time, even if a new shop opens down the block offering lower prices.

When you're ready to record your incoming calls, it's easy to get set up. The process is outlined here, and we can help you with any questions you have about getting started with low cost call recording. It's a win-win---for you and your customers.

So really, with call recording, both you and your customers will be able to keep it spoice-y!

4 Reasons Why Call Recording For Your Business Is A No-Brainer

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What’s the longest time you’ve spent on the phone with a customer? Zappos, the shoe company famous for customer service, broke an in-company record after one customer service rep stayed on the phone with a customer for, drumroll please, 10 hours and 29 minutes! (Here’s what the conversation evolved into, if you’re curious.)

In a statement about that call, Zappos Customer Loyalty Team supervisor Jeffrey Lewis said the rep was doing exactly what she should have been doing, noting that “Zappos’s first core value is to deliver wow through service.”

And isn’t “delivering wow through service” the goal of every phone conversation with a customer, no matter how long the conversation lasts? Of course it is! One of the ways Zappos delivers this outrageous service is through call recording.

You know how easy it is to record your incoming calls, but maybe you’re still looking for a few reasons why you should go ahead and do it. Like in the story above, the benefits of call recording come down to improving the customer’s experience so you can make your business better.

So, let’s break down the benefits of call recording.

1. Make monitoring your staff simple with call recording.

Customer service representatives in a typical call center or small business often have the highest attrition and least compensation of all employees. This doesn’t lend itself to stellar service, but call recording makes it easy to ensure accountability and improve customer service. Even more importantly, call recording provides a means of recognizing and rewarding your employees who go above and beyond to do great work and provide exceptional customer service.

Michael Hyatt, New York Times bestselling author and former chairman CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, recently shared this eye-opening experience on turning bad customer experiences into wow experiences on his blog.

After reading the article, you probably have one of two reactions: “I totally know how he feels... I’ve been there myself!” or “I can’t believe the problem took that long to solve!” After a call with an annoyed-sounding customer service representative left him feeling “powerless and frustrated,” a review of the phone call (over Twitter) by a second representative offered a reasonable solution to the problem the first rep did little to remedy. Then, to solidify a good experience, the technician who actually came to the site to repair the problem did an exceptional job.

Hyatt says,

“Frank (the second rep) and Jeremy’s (the technician) response wowed me. (...) Frank’s initiative—just one person—turned my not-wow experience into a wow experience. And now his action is forever digitally enshrined in my blog.”

This is a perfect example of the value of call recording. The company was able to ensure accountability, and hopefully, recognize two employees whose actions upheld the company’s reputation and renewed a relationship with a close-to-bolting customer. Hopefully, the company will also take steps to re-train the first representative who answered the call!

2. Call recording is an invaluable tool for training new employees.

Take a look back at the example I just shared. What else should the company do with that entire recorded exchange? Why not use it to improve the likelihood that all future representatives will answer with Frank’s service-oriented attitude by implementing it as a training tool?

With call recording, you can provide a real-life situation in a simulated environment. You have actual examples with which you can coach new employees without the anxiety of pairing an inexperienced representative with a live (and perhaps agitated) customer. By setting the bar high for your newest employees at the beginning, you’ll have to deal with less enforcing and get the opportunity to do more rewarding. And that’s a win-win for both you and your employees.

3. Call recording is the ultimate record-keeping method for customer service.

In situations where multiple parties have to be involved in a response, call recording gives you the play-by-play of each interaction and recommendation at every level. From the service improvement angle, call recording gives you the benefit and insight of hearing what your customers are actually saying about your business. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it but the customer’s, letting you know firsthand what’s working and what’s not.

Though we’d all rather avoid a situation that causes problems to begin with, when people solve a problem well, the experience could be a megaphone for the stop-at-nothing lengths your company will go to keep your customers yours.

The brilliant Seth Godin says it like this:

“Everyone on the staff ought to be focused on getting something started, not over with. A relationship that might last for many stays. An engagement that might lead to conversations that spread. Trust that might surface new opportunities for both sides.”

Call recording can provide you the basic tool you need to make this kind of remarkable service happen.

4. Know exactly what was said and who said it, leaving just the facts.

Call recording makes identifying sales transactions as easy as replaying a conversation. In a legal sense, this makes verifying everything from reviewing disputed sales to enforcing codes and regulations clear. It also provides evidence and context, if necessary, for sticky situations and can prove that what you said actually happened and give you peace of mind.

It’s as simple as that: a pleased customer, a thriving company with an excellent reputation, and your peace of mind, all because you chose to make use of recording your incoming calls.

So, given the benefits of call recording and how easy it is to start recording your incoming calls, what are you waiting for?

Should You Advertise In The Yellow Pages?

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My family recently moved to a town in the rural Midwest. The first time I’d ever been to this town was our moving day, and I knew exactly two other people in town: my husband and toddler. After a thousand-mile trip, we were ready to settle in and enjoy our first meal in our new home: a box of pizza. I didn’t know any of the pizza places, and certainly not how to contact them, so I grabbed my phone and did what I always did: searched the web. To my surprise, and for the first time in my life, Google failed me. The only results were from the city 30 miles away.

Then, I remembered the yellow phone book our landlord left in the kitchen. I opened it up, determined not to let my small family starve, and saw multiple pizza places listed in the Yellow Pages. I sighed, relieved to know we might make it through our first day and thankful for the pizza on its way.

That was actually the first time I had used the Yellow Pages. But since we’ve been here, I have thumbed through the pages dozens of times to find out contact information for our local bakery, to compare quotes at our appliance repair shops, and on one sub-zero night last winter when my husband was out of town, to ask an HVAC repair man how to re-light our pilot light.

The Main Advantage

According to this article, my story is common among consumers making ready-to-buy decisions, especially in non-urban areas.

"It's the true local, local buying decision resource," said Ken Clark, YP Talk publisher. "When you get into tier two and tier three markets with smaller towns, you may not even get a mobile signal, so print Yellow Pages is still an ingrained way of life."

The Yellow Pages have the distinct advantage of being delivered to everyone in a community, guaranteeing your ad reaches its target audience. They’ve been used successfully to advertise restaurants (like in the story I shared above), medical services, legal services and repair and maintenance shops. The scope of Yellow Page advertising has also grown from the traditional phone book-only to offerings including digital and direct mail advertising options and limited call-tracking features.

Admittedly, I only used Yellow Pages a few times since my family moved. Once I became familiar with my new home, I didn’t need the book as much. I’m still much more likely to search the web than I am to pull out the phone book, and it seems I’m not alone. Research across all markets shows that Yellow Page advertising effectiveness isn’t black and white.

A Few Perceived Drawbacks

Many business owners (76 percent according to Yelp) think yellow page phone books are irrelevant and can’t help their business.

Yellow Page advertising is expensive! Making your ad stand by increasing ad size, or hiring someone to design the ad, for example, compounds that cost.

Many business owners don’t want to publish in a printed phone book when they can spend less marketing online and, in many cases, yield better results. Research shows that most consumers do an internet search first (80 percent of the time) when compared to looking through the Yellow Pages.

Pay-per-call advertising isn't as great as it sounds. As I mentioned earlier, Yellow Pages offers pay-per-call advertising, which sounds good, until you take a closer look. With this service, customers are assigned a call tracking number and pay on a per-call basis, usually between $15-20 per call, if the call lasts longer than 12 seconds, which Yellow Pages considers a substantial lead. The drawbacks are pretty obvious: can you really count any 12-second call as a lead? The only way you'd know is if you were able to record the calls to see what those customers were actually saying, which assigned call tracking numbers from Yellow Pages don’t allow. But consider this: if you were to advertise normally in the Yellow Pages and get your own call tracking number specifically for that purpose, it’d be much easier to identify if your Yellow Page ads were successful, because you'd know both how many people were calling your specific number and you’d be able to go back and listen to those calls to determine if they were new customers or not.

You’re stuck with your Yellow Page ad for a year. Because it is a printed book, you can’t change your ad, or remove it altogether, if any component changes. Similarly, if your ad isn’t generating the leads you expected, you can’t stop advertising and reallocate that part of your budget.

So, should you?

Ultimately, deciding if you should advertise in the yellow pages comes down to strategy. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the Yellow Page advertising question.

If you’re in a market like mine, Yellow Pages could be successful for you. If you do decide to advertise in the Yellow Pages, using a unique call tracking number can help you determine whether your Yellow Page ad is actually working for your business and allow you to adjust your marketing plan accordingly (instead of paying more for a service that will actually cost you more and give you less information!).

Or, maybe, according to research you’ve done on your target market, you’ve found you’re better off utilizing a different marketing mix. And that’s great, too, if it’s growing your business!

Have you advertised in the Yellow Pages? What has your experience been?

How To Record Incoming Calls To Your Business

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Why Recording Incoming Calls Is A Genius Move On Your Part

So your marketing has been successful and you're starting to get some fantastic call volume! Way to go! That's something to stop and celebrate.

Maybe you've rocked the direct mail campaigns, or that perfectly placed television ad really got your customers attention. Of course, hopefully, you set up a unique call tracking number for each of those campaigns so now you have great insights into which campaigns you should repeat and how you can improve the next round. (If not, we've got you covered.)

Now, when customers call, your sales team has the opportunity to help them move from "interested" to paying customers. But how are you going to evaluate those conversations? I guess you could stand behind their desk and listen carefully so you can figure out what's being asked. (Like you have time for that kind of foolishness.) Or, you can set up some way to record those incoming calls. We'd highly recommend the latter of those two options. And obviously, you've figured that out, too. That's why you're here.

Record Incoming Calls The Easy Way

Maybe you think that it's going to require some kind of hardware solution that you need to install at your location. Or maybe, you've been hesitant to look into it, because you think it may mean retraining your sales team in how to answer the phone. Here's the good news. It's just not complicated at all.

Ready for the simple process?

If you want to record the incoming calls to your business here's what you need to do:

  1. Purchase a cheap local number or toll free number from a phone tracking service. (Don't mess with the phone company and the exorbitant fees they charge.)

  2. Put that number on your marketing ads.

  3. Enter your existing business number for your call recording number to forward to.

  4. Listen to the recordings of your incoming calls and evaluate them in order to train your sales team better.

That's it.

When you use this process of a forwarding call recording number, everything stays just the same on your end. Nothing new to figure out. When the customer calls the number they will receive a courtesy message that lets them know that the call is recorded for quality purposes, and then it will connect to your sales team. Easy.

(Of course, if you're the DIY type, I guess you could go ahead and do it the hard way. You could stick a microphone by each of your sales team, and just ask the customer to "speak up". Run that baby to a sweet old-fashioned tape deck and you're all set.)