Call Analytics: Adding Business Intelligence to Hosted VoIP
30 May, 2016
The growth of cloud computing and hosted voice products has made call metadata accessible and productive in many new ways, and critically, has allowed for real-time or close to real-time data aggregation and analysis. Many VoIP telephony service providers now offer some degree of call metadata analysis through their hosted platforms while other (specialized) firms specialize in mining metadata to extract actionable marketing intelligence. Each level of analysis provides value to the end user in different ways, and every Service Provider should be aware of the differences. This blog post will outline the distinction between these two general levels of analysis — at the platform or software level and the specialized firm level — and describe their benefits and some services provided by leading analytics firms.
Proprietary Call Analytics
Hosted VoIP Service Providers, including leading players like Ipitimi, Ring Central and Fuze, are increasingly offering analytics platforms which come integrated into the PBX/Unified Communications system, and are accessible to the phone system administrator through web portals or the platform’s soft-client. Although the edge capabilities vary from platform to platform, these proprietary analytics applications typically aggregate and track call metadata with a focus on the call behaviors and performance of the enterprise’s employees, and are also capable of fine-grained cost-analysis, all of which can facilitate staffing decisions and help with phone-system optimization. The analytics programs allow for the administrator to view call volumes, abandoned call rates, and identify unreturned calls on a scale from the individual employee all the way up to the company level, and provide the ability to track the performance of groupings of employees (a sales team, a support team, etc.).
This kind of analysis is well suited to tracking any business processes that involve voice-based customer interactions, and indeed, many of these analytics applications are designed to be used by contact centers for tracking the productivity of individual agents or divisions. Beyond individual performance, this kind of analysis can also be used for staffing purposes, especially when call volumes are assessed company-wide over an averaged time-period. If, for example, calls are peaking outside of normal business hours, or on particular days of the week, the system administrator can use these insights to adjust contact center staff levels appropriately.
Third-Party Call Analytics
Beyond the proprietary capabilities offered by Hosted VoIP Service Providers, specialized firms offer the ability to move beyond enterprise-focused analytics and towards the other half of the calls, that is, towards intelligence on potential customers and clients. This, from a marketing perspective as opposed to the management perspective, is where the gold lies, and many of the most exciting advances in call-based marketing are emerging in this space. One common feature of these specialized analytics services is the ability to automatically track the advertising origin of the call, that is, from what advertising medium (billboard, banner-ad, own web-site, etc.) the caller got the number. One such service, with different offerings focused on small business and large enterprise, is Iovox. The first product allows the small- or mid-sized business owner to track calls based on advertising medium, and can even ‘whisper’ (provided an automated voice lead-in) the call origin to those picking up the phone. The second service provides a similar service, but on a much larger scale, allowing marketing decision makers to track, measure and optimize — in real-time — voice traffic and marketing campaigns across all devices and platforms.
Marchex, another similar service, focuses on the content of the advertisement that generated the lead, and can also — of particular significance given the ubiquity of mobile internet, smartphones, and “click-to-call” web content — track the specific ads, ad campaigns, channels, and even keywords that result in the mobile phone call through. Other services, like that provided by Invoca, track this metadata and tie it to individual callers, allowing the call agent to view the caller’s past marketing interactions in real-time.
Ultimately, each Service Provider must decide what services and technologies best suit the needs of their clients. For firms of any size, and contact centers in particular, enterprise-centric metadata analytics can be extremely valuable for tracking employee performance and staffing optimization. For larger firms (or those whose advertising is significantly directed towards online mobile users) the insights provided by caller-centric analytics services can be ideal for assessing the efficacy of online marketing.