A backlash against the concept of driving pure online conversions is seeing the call centre enjoy something of a renaissance, according to one analytics specialist.
Response Tap, a call tracking software developer, believes the call centre in travel is a vital sales tool, but one that has been for too long seen purely as a cost centre rather than a revenue channel.
It claims sales conducted over the phone are around 20% greater value than online and has even seen one retail client scrap online conversions altogether, driving all prospects to its call centre.
Ross Fobian, co-founder and chief executive of Manchester-based Response Tap, said: “You generally find calls on the phone are more valuable because there is trust and up-sell opportunities.
“It’s about changing the call centre from a cost base to a channel. Everyone sees it as I have X number of heads and that’s a cost, how do I reduce costs by getting them off the phone quicker or having fewer people.
“We are starting to see a backlash of everyone copying the Amazon, Google-style of not having a phone number and converting people online because it’s cheaper.
“We had one adventure-based travel company that took phone numbers off their websites. When they put them back on online conversions went up 80%. It’s a trust issue.”
Web analytics of the type being developed by Response Tap are helping companies to better assess the true value of their call, or contact, centres and to provide insight into the effectiveness of the campaigns that drove customers to call in the first place.
To date one of the weaknesses of lead attribution technology has been the lack of visibility of the impact of offline marketing campaigns and the lack of sophistication in attributing value back up to the top of the sales funnel.
However, Fobian said Response Tap can track the whole online journey ands this provides intelligence on the customer to the call centre so that when the call is taken they can be dealt with in the most appropriate manner.
“We will track what that customer researched for, what affiliate they came through, how they found your site and how they interacted with your pages and which page they were on when they picked up the phone.
“You can look at what advertising is working to optimise your PPC campaigns. There are always more things we can do and we have a whole raft of add-on features coming in over the next year. It’s about data access and interrogation.”
Following integration with campaign management specialist Marin Software, Response Tap claimed to have helped Tui Travel reduce its cost per lead by 50%.
Fobian said the technology is most suited to more complex product like package holidays as opposed to easier-to-book single components like flights but that travel was an important sector and its second biggest by revenue but largest in terms of number of clients.