Monitoring Business Calls

What does your call data say about your company?

Quite a lot more than you think, if the results of a US study into mobile phone data are anything to go by. The study looked at call data from two undisclosed European countries in a bid to show whether measuring mobile use could “quickly and accurately detect, track and predict changes in the economy at multiple levels.”

The results were startling, with the research proving that by monitoring the fall or rise in call volumes as well as studying caller mobility, it was possible to predict movements in unemployment numbers up to four months before the release of official statistics.

The report’s authors warn against using mobile phone data as a substitute for traditional data collection methods but believe that phone data can be used as “a powerful yet complementary tool.” But if call analysis can be used in this way to predict broad economic movements, could it also be used in a smaller way to enable organisations to better understand business patterns and customer interactions? Well, yes it could, but sadly in far too many organisations call data is either ignored or used as a way of measuring performance against targets.

It’s true that a summary of outbound calls can help to pinpoint call costs, highlighting premium rate or overseas numbers called or enabling an analysis of those members of staff who have spent more time on the telephone than their job requires. But look again at the numbers called and you may well be able to build up an analysis of suppliers or customers who require regular contact and through this analysis, look to reshape the relationship.

Similarly, inbound call statistics may help to pinpoint the success or otherwise of a marketing initiative, track the pattern of growth into a target region, or simply help the business leaders to decide which telephone number mix may be appropriate for different customer segments. For example, let’s say that your analysis of inbound calls reveals a sudden rise in calls coming in from one particular region or country. Unless there is a direct correlation with a recent marketing campaign, further internal analysis may reveal that these calls are generally being directed to sales, to customer services, or even to the complaints department.

Understanding the reason for these calls may enable the organisation to take appropriate action such as providing additional information on the website, investigating potential product failure or re-allocating sales resources. Furthermore, if the analysis shows that there is a rise in potential customers from a region or country, it may be worth considering whether a local regional or national number should be offered, either on a toll free or low-cost call rate.

Whatever the result, to ignore telephone call data is to miss out on a potential opportunity to better understand one aspect of the business interaction with customers and others. As highlighted by the US researchers, this data should not be used in isolation but when looked at in tandem with other data, it can enrich business understanding and therefore help to control costs, drive growth and improve levels of customer service and interaction.

Written by Alison