Phone call tracking specialist Infinity Tracking is beta-testing new technology designed to enable staff to do away with generic sales scripts and offer a more contextualised service.
The firm estimates using real-time data, which allows call centre staff to know what keywords prompted the call and what the customer has been looking at on-site, can improve business performance by up to 20%.
Paul Walsh, chief executive of Infinity, claimed the technology has been shown to improve call centre call handling efficiency by 10% while driving a similar level of improvement in upselling.
Infinity emerged as a standalone company three years ago from online marketing agency Jellyfish, which Walsh founded in 1999.
It now has 750 customers including big names in travel such as Virgin Holidays, Lastminute.com and Kuoni, with the sector accounting for around a third of its business.
To date Infinity has focused on providing marketing managers data on the efficacy of their keyword campaigns by giving each customer a unique phone number which can then be tied to a particular campaign.
This allowed firms driving sales calls to not only know what were its most effective key terms but also the true margin which they were achieving on sales.
Walsh said providing this was a ‘fundamental step change’ for firms but that the next move is into using real-time data to assist in the selling process.
“If you’re spending a quarter of a million pounds a month on Google and bringing that traffic into your site you need to measure that at an absolute granular level,” he said.
“It used to be that the only way you could measure was by having people click around the site, and there was no actual return on investment and meanwhile cost-per-click is going up 20% year on year.
“People need to understand what keywords are giving them different returns.”
With travel heavily reliant on selling over the phone, and many firms preferring it to online sales due to higher conversions and basket values, Walsh says the sector is primed for Infinity’s new technology.
“What we are about now is the next stage, to not just empower the marketing managers to make better decisions, because that’s all retrospective – knowing you did well on those campaigns or keywords.
“To me it’s all about delivering real-time information to the sales operators so it’s not just the marketing managers who benefit from that.
“It’s how you can empower that sales operator with some key attributes. What the technology does now is the customer picks up the phone and it pops up on the operators’ screen that this person used this keyword to find you, they’ve looked at this particular hotel, at this destination.”
This means that a call centre operative knows as the call comes in whether the caller is looking for a cheap deal and so is likely to want to talk offers or is more discerning and would rather talk about other aspects of the hotel or destination.
“That can make a big difference when you have 200 people in a call centre,” Walsh said. “The travel industry is primed to need this sort of technology because of the big spend online and the high volume of people who want to read and talk about holidays.”
The new real-time data technology is being tested by a small number of Infinity clients now in two ways: one via a desktop app, another via an integrated app in the widely used Salesforce CRM system.
Walsh said the biggest hurdle in getting clients to use this technology was getting buy-in from the operations or IT departments.
“The bigger the company the more difficult that conversation is. They see it as another thing they’ve got to do and they have other things on, so we make this the easiest soft touch approach so you get the benefit without having to put all these other layers of technology in-house.”