How to prepare for an increasing rate of inbound calls
- Now is the time for businesses to prepare for an expected increase in inbound calls.
- Businesses with the right tools in place — including call management solutions, communications hubs, data-driven marketing strategies, and creative customer engagement — will ride the wave to more business, and more efficient internal business processes.
After a year of unpredictable and perhaps even dramatic changes to your business, it is time to prepare for a new kind of problem. Fortunately, this is the good kind.
Inbound call volume spikes with every reopening across the US, so you need to be prepared to field a variety of calls for new sales, customer service, appointment requests, and more.
In fact, based on CallRail analysis, during the initial months of business lockdowns, businesses saw call rates that surpassed pre-pandemic levels. From April to July 2020, call volume went up 79 percent, and there was a 35 percent growth between June 2019 and June 2020.
And with the business outlook continuing to look up for the rest of the year and beyond, now is the time to prepare your business, team, and solutions to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead.
Is Your business ready for an increase in inbound calls?
If you haven’t already felt a steady growth in the number of inbound calls you are receiving, then you’re in a great position to get your business set up to take full advantage of them and increase your conversions. If you have already seen that uptick, you probably are fully aware that things will not be business as usual and your processes and techniques need to evolve to meet this new demand.
So, just what could a lack of sufficient inbound call management processes mean for your business?
- Lost opportunities: Using manual processes, clunky workarounds, or legacy tools to track and manage all of your inbound calls means that contacts can fall through the cracks, or key information can go unnoted.
- Misallocation of resources: In a time of increased inbound calls, your team will have to develop a method to triage and prioritize how you respond. Make sure you are spending the most resources on leads with the most potential.
- Questions about marketing methods: When there is pent-up demand, it can be even harder to zero in on which marketing channels guide your leads to contact you. Knowing which ones are resonating (and why) can help you refine your strategies and shift your budget accordingly.
The steps your business needs to take
So, what steps can your business take to prepare for the expected increase in inbound calls? Here are five of the most important:
1. Take advantage of advanced call management techniques.
The only thing worse than having your phone ringing off the hook is not having the right person on the other end of the line. That’s where advanced call management solutions come in.
Make sure you have your phone number updated across all of your directories, business listings, social media sites, and other advertising channels. This will help ensure you are able to funnel your calls appropriately and monitor the source of the calls or contact form entries.
Once done, you will begin to see call data over time, including trends on when the most calls are coming in, the sources of the calls, and the reason for the calls. From there, techniques like call flows can help to distribute calls evenly across your staff or to the right person. For example, with CallRail’s Call Flow Builder, you can use the following example features to help distribute the work:
- Simulcall: All available lines ring when one inbound number is dialed.
- Call queues: Organizes inbound calls in the order that they were received.
- Round robin: Rotates the line receiving the inbound call based on a predetermined order.
- First-time vs. Returning Caller Routing: Sends a first-time caller to one specific line while returning callers go to another.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR): Helps callers route their requests to the right destination.
2. Try a communications hub.
With all of the inbound calls coming in on top of your normal work, you aren’t going to have time to take detailed notes about each one. In these cases, try a centralized inbox where all of your business's calls, texts, chats, and form submissions land in one place, one click away from responding.
A tool like this can help to:
- Track your calls and log them over time.
- Create missed call notifications.
- Record and present all historical customer data available.
- Keep your team engaged, no matter where they are working.
A solution like this can also help make sure the information recorded is structured consistently, neatly, and accurately.
3. Monitor your marketing strategies.
As buyer behavior continues to evolve, you should also make sure each of your marketing dollars is working to its full potential.
Using a call tracking system, your team will be able to monitor for changes in how inbound leads are finding your brand and deciding to make the call. You can then use this information to make data-driven decisions about which marketing channels to continue to use and how best to deliver your message to your target customers.
4. Use conversation intelligence to your advantage.
It’s one thing to track when calls come in and how many there are, but it is quite another to track what the calls are about. That’s what conversation intelligence can do for your business.
Using artificial intelligence, conversation intelligence can transcribe your discussions, pull out keywords, and perform analysis on the keywords to flag new trends. This data can then be used to refresh your staff on what was previously discussed, identify trends over time for new insights, and improve customer service by reviewing the call in a training environment.
This keyword trend capture is especially useful as you monitor your customers for interests that may turn into new products or services you can offer.
5. Get creative with new resources.
Finally, take advantage of other ways to interact with your customers and share some of your commonly asked questions, case studies, and product features.
For example, if many of your inbound leads are looking for a product overview or discussion of key features, consider hosting and recording a webinar or writing an ebook, which can be used as both marketing tools and product education tools.
Similarly, a website chatbot — complete with preconfigured actions and responses — can help direct customers, answer basic questions, and engage customers looking to take the next step.
Ride the inbound call wave with CallRail
Unlike any other time in history, consumers are now reaching out to businesses armed with pent-up demand and the research to back up why they chose your brand.
That means even before you get your first call, consumers are open and receptive to using your product or service to meet their needs, but only if they get the right attention and information. In other words, you need to be ready to maximize every opportunity to connect with and convert your leads.
By using some of the techniques and tools discussed, your business can ride this wave to new levels and build sustainable processes to maintain that momentum into the future.
Ready to take the next step? Experience these solutions and many more features with your own free trial of CallRail.