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6 Call Metrics to Track in Your Global Marketing Campaigns

A majority of top marketing teams will use attribution modeling and tracking to measure the effectiveness of their various marketing campaigns in 2021, according to Pyxl.

Attribution can help you understand the means by which customers come to know and buy your products and services. There are many different approaches to attribution modeling that modern businesses use today.

What is Call Tracking?

Call tracking is one of the most commonly used forms of attribution modeling that marketers are using in 2021. It is the process of determining how callers found your business.

Call metrics are used to analyze what channels generate the most customer calls so that you can optimize your marketing efforts and improve ROI.

What is Global Call Tracking?

Many businesses today serve a global clientele.

The global economy is huge and it offers businesses a lot of potential to grow and expand. Although the top fifteen countries make up 75% of global GDP, tremendous potential exists for your business throughout the rest of the world.

International call tracking can enable your business to have unique phone numbers for different countries that are being targeted in your global marketing campaigns. Your marketing team can then track the results of various global campaigns through call tracking metrics.

Common Ways to Use Global Call Tracking

  • Compare the performance of multi-country campaigns side-by-side.
  • Assign unique in-country phone numbers to different traffic sources (social media, adwords, email, landing pages, etc).
  • Measure the results of your advertisements across a number of countries.
  • Set up local or international toll free numbers from other countries.
Global call metrics that you must track.
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#50391141 ID#27446420

6 Global Call Metrics You Must Track in 2021

There’s a lot you can measure with call metrics such as where your calls are coming from and what times are most popular. You can even further delve into the content of conversations with our cloud call recording service.

But in order for your marketing team to benefit the most from global call metrics and really dig into the granular data, you’ll want to export your call detail records (CDRs) into a spreadsheet and apply filters.

These next steps and calculation of metrics will require some basic Excel knowledge.

call tracking excel

1. The Number of Calls Per Country

Have you wondered which countries or regions are generating the most phone calls? You can easily determine this through global call tracking.

Once you’ve exported your CDRs, you should then filter by service line. You can type in the country code under column D and choose the right phone number. Refer to this list of international call prefixes.

You can do a sum of the lines to see how many calls came in from each country.

Analysis: You’ll want to look further into those countries that are generating lots of calls so you can understand which marketing efforts are more successful.

2. Call Volume by Time of the Day

It’s helpful to see when most of your calls are coming in. This helps you adjust bidding strategies at various times of the day and ensure enough staff is on hand to support high call volumes throughout the day.

You can see the total number of minutes in column I. Break the column down further by filtering the date and time columns.

Analysis: Long-duration calls are likely a sign of good quality conversations while short-duration calls may indicate low-quality sales calls.

3. Call Source & Campaign Performance

This is what call tracking is all about — on a global scale.

Look at your various campaigns to evaluate which campaigns are generating the highest number of successful calls. For example, you can assign one call tracking number to social media campaigns and another number to paid search.

In the coming months, you’ll be able to enter unique names and tags for each phone number.

Analysis: Allocate more of your budgets towards high-performing campaigns.

4. Call Duration

It’s important to know how long your calls last. As a general rule, sales conversations last longer than x amount of minutes. Through global call metrics, you’ll be able to see which calls have a sufficient duration. And if you notice a dip in call duration, you can bring it up in meetings and brainstorm ways to improve caller experience.

Analysis: You don’t want to spend money on channels that do not source high-quality conversations.

5. Caller ID

Is there a certain area code where most of your calls are coming in from? Are these first time callers to your business? You’ll want to measure this through global call tracking. It is important, however, to connect our data with your other tools like your CRM and / or marketing software to really make the most sense of the metrics.

Analysis: Invest more in cities where you have lots of callers.

6. Landing Page Performance

Landing page performance can give you insights into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. You’ll also want to talk to sales managers as much as possible and ask about lead quality and next steps in your buyers’ journeys so that you can create quality landing pages that convert.

Analysis: Invest more in landing pages that are performing well. For the low-performing landing pages, try to see how they can be improved.

How to Calculate Global Marketing ROI

Once you have all the data and it’s synced with your other business tools, how are you going to present your findings to upper management? That’s an important question that many marketers face.

Upper management is often concerned with revenue and profitability, though some marketing teams use other metrics to measure success. At a basic level, you’ll want to keep close track of costs and conversions in your calculation of ROI.

ROI = (final value of investment – initial value of investment) / cost of investment x 100%

Conversions can be new customer acquisition, qualified leads, etc. But you’ll want to clarify this definition internally and then measure conversions.

In order to calculate overall costs, download invoices into excel and you’ll see costs by country. You can add this up or simply view costs by country.

How to Sync Global Call Metrics with Your Business Tools

At some point, you’ll probably want to sync your call tracking data with your other systems and tools. This will help you recognize more patterns in the data and make better use of metrics. You can do this through our API.

Why You Need Global Call Tracking

Want to get more insights into where your customers are and what leads them to connect with your business?

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Global call tracking can help you measure the effectiveness of your international marketing campaigns. This will help you increase profitability and slash costs.

Talk to our sales team to learn more or get a free demo today to see how we can help.

10 Voice of the Customer Methodologies to Revolutionize Customer Feedback

Everyone is talking about Voice of the Customer (VoC) data as an essential tool to understanding your customers and improving their experience. But what is VoC and how do you collect such data? Here is a detailed guide to what VoC is and what to keep in mind when collecting customer data through these top 10 Voice of the Customer methodologies.

Voice of the Customer: Definition and Methodologies

First, what is Voice of the Customer? VoC is the way your customers talk about your products and their experiences or interactions with these products and services. It is a market research method where a business collects detailed customer feedback about their products and services used.

Why is VoC Important?

So, why should you collect customer feedback and pay attention to the voice of the customers? Customers using your product are in the best position to explain how useful, user-friendly, and worthy your product or service is. When collecting VoC data, look for:

  • Customer pain points
  • Hesitations or objections
  • Desires and needs
  • Requirements and expectations
  • Benefits, usage, results

And so, learning how they use the product and how successful it is in helping them complete tasks will help your business create better products as well as market your current products more effectively.

By collecting VoC feedback, your business can gain:

  1. Comprehensive and detailed insights into what your customers look for and need from your products and services.
  2. Data that can be put towards product development and marketing efforts.

VoC Program Stages

A VoC program — that is, collecting and using Voice of the Customer data — typically involves three stages:

  1. Collection — Collecting feedback and information via interviews, surveys, polls, etc. related to specific products or services.
  2. Evaluation — Analyzing and studying responses to identify customer needs and expectations.
  3. Implementation — Using feedback and analysis to create better experiences and products that boost business performance.

Voice of Customer Program Stages.

In this post, we will specifically focus on the collection phase of VoC data and what methodologies work best.

And when collecting VoC data, it is good to be prepared with the following questions for each data collection project:

  1. What is the purpose of this data collection project?
  2. What is your target audience or group? (Current customers or new prospects?)
  3. How will you collect this data? (In-person interviews, online surveys, social listening, etc.)
  4. What stage is the customer or prospect in? (Unaware, problem aware, solution aware, product aware, most aware)

Once you have these factors in place, you can focus on questions to ask your customers and prospects.

What to Ask Customers?

Before we dive into VoC methodologies, let’s quickly run through how to prepare for customer interviews and surveys. In other words, what questions to ask your customers so you can get the best feedback and insights. Your questions can be focused on how customers perceive your business or how they use your product or service; customize questions accordingly. Here are some questions to consider:

What made them look for your business/product/service?

  • When did you realize you needed something like [product/service]?
  • What brought you to [business/product/service]?
  • How did you find out about [business/product/service]?
  • What problem were you trying to solve with [business/product/service]?
  • How did you go about researching for a solution to your problem?

How or why do they pick a business/product/service?

  • What matters most to you when choosing or signing up with a business or purchasing products or services?
  • What characteristics do you look for in a business, product, or service before purchasing or signing up?
  • Why were you interested in trying our [product/service]?
  • Did you consider any alternatives to our [business/product/service]? What were they?
  • Why did you choose our [product/service] over [competitor]?

About your business/product/service

  • What comes to mind when you think about our [business/product/service]?
  • How are you using our [product/service] at the moment?
  • How would you describe the [business/product/service] to a friend?
  • What do you like the most about [business/product/service]?
  • What is the most useful feature of the [product/service]?
  • What surprised you about [business/product/service]?
  • Would you recommend [business/product/service]? To whom and why?
  • How can [business/product/service] improve your customer experience?
  • How can [business] improve the [product/service]?

Understanding pain points, concerns, and issues

  • What would you like changed or modified regarding the [product/service]?
  • What features do you wish the [product/service] had, that it doesn’t currently have now?
  • What concerns do you have about [product/service]?
  • What competitor would you prefer over our [product/service]? And why?
  • What’s the #1 thing you can do with [product/service] that you couldn’t do before without the [product/service]?
  • What’s the biggest problem that you were able to solve/fix with our [product/service]?
  • What concerns or hesitations did/do you have before deciding to buy or sign up for [product/service]?

Understanding results and outcomes

  • What has changed for you since using [product/service]?
  • What measurable results have you noticed since you started using [product/service]?
  • What results are you hoping to achieve with our [product/service]?
Voice of Customer methodologies.
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#61863947 ID#27446420

Top 10 Voice of the Customer Methodologies

Let’s now look at the 10 different Voice of the Customer methodologies that you use to collect customer data:

1. Detailed Customer Interviews

One of the traditional VoC data collection methods is conducting detailed interviews with consumers. These interviews can help you get insights into the customer’s perspective about your business or specifically about a product or service you offer.

You can conduct in-person, phone, video, or email interviews, depending on your capabilities. However, in-person interviews are considered the most effective for this purpose. You can choose to interview particular customers or target groups, depending on why you are collecting this data and how much information you need.

Be prepared with a list of questions and follow-up questions before conducting the interview. Inform customers how long this interview will last and what the purpose is.

2. Customer Surveys & Feedback Forms

A customer survey is another good (and common) way of collecting customer information and understanding customer expectations, needs, and pain points. There are a few different ways to send out customer surveys:

  • Online surveys through links or emails through survey tools such as SurveyMonkey
  • Phone surveys through customer service teams or automated IVR systems
  • In-app or in-software surveys
  • In-person or suggestion-box surveys
  • Contact forms surveys, etc.

You can send out such surveys and feedback forms when prospecting new leads or to new and long-term customers. As mentioned above, be prepared with questions to include in your survey form. When appropriate, include and offer multiple-choice options, drop-down lists, text-boxes, and so on. This will enable customers to provide more information and give you detailed results.

3. Customer Reviews

Online customer reviews are a great spot for collecting information about how customers are using your products and determining how they feel about them. You can look up Google reviews as well as industry-specific review sites such as G2, TrustPilot, Capterra, etc.

Additionally, since these reviews appear online and are visible to potential customers, you will want to watch these reviews and respond to them as well. Respond to good reviews with “We appreciate your business.” And respond to negative reviews with positive and solution-focused responses. In other words, show new prospects how your business handles negative reviews and customer concerns.

Related: Global Call Forwarding Reviews

4. Call Detail Records

Call detail records can be helpful when putting together insights and data based on history. You can use call records to understand the preferred communication channels and contact times. Additionally, you might even identify common complaints that require the help of your customer support team. This information can be used to create support content that helps customers solve issues through self-service options, when appropriate.

5. Recorded Calls

Next, record and review calls with customers. A call recording service is a great tool for sifting through common customer needs, expectations, and complaints. Here, you can identify patterns, anomalies, and more. These insights can then inform better product development and enhanced customer experience.

6. Email Groups

You can use highly personalized emails to specific segments or send well-written generic emails to all your customers. Make it easy and less work for your customers to answer the survey. You may choose to include the feedback form or poll within the body of the email or include a link for them to click. Let them know the purpose of the survey and how long it will take them to complete it. You may even choose to include a reward for a lengthy survey that will take up a good amount of their time.

7. Social Listening

Social listening refers to paying attention to what your customers and clients are saying on social media platforms. More specifically, what are they saying about businesses, products, and services like yours? You can choose to simply listen or actively participate in the conversation to learn more about customer expectations and interests, directly from customers and in real-time.

8. Live Chat

Live chat (whether monitored or AI-enabled) is a popular customer support channel. Web visitors often use live chat to connect with a company as opposed to calling or emailing them. This makes live chat a good source for collecting VoC feedback. You can collect feedback by asking questions in real-time or scheduling a follow-up survey after assisting the customer.

9. Focus Groups

Focus groups are groups of people who asked to share their thoughts, feelings, and expectations about a product or service. You can use focus groups to test new products or features, gain feedback on existing products and services, learn how to improve user experience, and more. This is another common way of understanding the Voice of the Customer at different touchpoints.

10. Customer-Focused KPIs

There are two customer-focused KPIs or metrics that can help you gain insights into how satisfied your customers are and whether they will advocate for your brand:

1. Net promoter score (NPS) measures the loyalty of a business’s customers. NPS provides quick feedback from customers focused on whether they are likely to recommend your product or service. A common example of this is — “How likely are you to recommend our [business/product/service] to a friend or a colleague?

2. Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) measures the level of customer satisfaction after interacting with a business or using a product or service. Use questions similar to those in NPS measures and customers can answer with ratings such as a scale of 1-10 or range of Very Satisfied-Very Dissatisfied.

Let Voice of the Customer Methodologies Enhance Your Services

It’s not an underestimation how important customer satisfaction is, and companies should aim to ensure they are delivering on this fully. As we have demonstrated, Voice of the Customer data is a key tool for businesses to understand what customers appreciate about your business, and ultimately, where your business can improve. If you are aiming to maximize the experience for your customers, be sure to implement VoC methodologies and learn more about how to please those seeking out your products or services.

Understanding Cold Calling vs Warm Calling

What is the best way to sell to a new lead? This is the age-old question. Salespeople and marketers have tried and tested different methods and approaches and have collected varied results. Two of these methods that salespeople continue to use are cold calling and warm calling. But what is the difference between these methods and which approach is more helpful for your business?

The Difference Between Cold Calling and Warm Calling

Both cold calling and warm calling are outbound calling sales approaches. In these approaches, salespeople reach out to prospects and try to sell or move them down the sales funnel. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these methods and their pros and cons.

What is Cold Calling?

Cold calling is a sales technique where a sales team reaches out to prospects and leads who may or may not have heard of the business. In other words, these prospects have not interacted with your business or purchased products and services from you. They have not heard from your business or representatives before. Some of these prospects may not have even heard of your business.

Cold calling then is the attempt to increase brand awareness and sell products and services to these prospects by introducing them to your brand. Usually, sales teams are given a list of prospects deemed fit for specific products and services. This list is put together through market research of target audiences. Your job then is to reach out to them, educate them about the brand and product, and make a sale or set up a sales appointment.

Pros and Cons of Cold Calling

So, what makes cold calling successful and why do some business managers say that cold calling is dead? Here are the benefits and issues that come with cold calling:

Pros of Cold Calling Cons of Cold Calling
Solo hunting; reach out to customers on your own Customers are usually wary of unknown phone numbers and may not answer
Connect with new customers Customers are usually annoyed by cold calls
Lets you weed out bad leads and uninterested customers Inconsistent results
Sales calls can be conducted from anywhere No proper structure in place; you work alone
Helps increase inbound sales and brand awareness Chances of getting flagged as telemarketers or scams

Related: 7 Cold Calling Tips to Close More Sales

What is Warm Calling?

Warm calling, on the other hand, is a sales process where sales representatives reach out to prospects and customers who have previously interacted with the brand. These individuals are aware of your business and demonstrated some interest. Maybe they liked a social media post or downloaded an eBook from your website or submitted an inquiry about a product.

Additionally, warm calling also includes gathering feedback through surveys, informing regular customers about new promotions, or inviting them to webinars, etc. In some cases, calls made after cold emails may also be considered warm calling. This is because you have already established a connection and familiarity with the customer.

With warm calling, your job as the sales rep is to answer their questions, provide more information, and engage them. By doing so, you are moving them down the funnel and closer to a sale.

Pros and Cons of Warm Calling

If cold calling isn’t the way to go, can your business benefit from warm calling? Let’s look at how warm calling can convert more customers and what potential issues to keep in mind.

Pros of Warm Calling Cons of Warm Calling
Leads are aware of your business and interested Sales reps may not take these calls seriously enough
Leads are more likely to become customers Over-calling may discourage the prospect
Personalize calls to meet prospects’ needs Customers may prefer other channels of communication
Develop stronger customer and business relations Stock scripts may discourage leads

What Does Your Business Need?

Whether cold calling or warm calling is right for your business depends on your business structure, values, and goals. Also, another factor is where your business lies in its growth process. If you are a new business, then cold calling is the way to increase brand awareness and identify key markets and audiences. On the other hand, if your business is relatively established and has a strong online presence, then warm calling and inside sales will help maintain credibility and attract valuable customers.

How Can Global Call Forwarding Help?

Global Call Forwarding offers a variety of virtual call center tools and features that can support both your cold calling and warm calling efforts. Get outbound calling, particularly, to connect with customers and leads around the globe with local and toll free numbers. You can even use call forwarding services to maintain connectivity across different locations and time zones. Speak with our representatives to learn more about how we can help your specific business. Call us today at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online!

Conducting Market Research with a Local Phone Number

Market research is essential to understand your target audience, their pain points and goals, and how you can serve them better. Without these insights, your product or service does not reach its full potential. Learn how to use local phone numbers when conducting market research to achieve the best results.

Local Market Research: Definition

Local market research is the process of evaluating a current or new market. More specifically, when researching a market, researchers pay attention to customers’ and prospects’ needs, pain points, goals, and motivations. These insights then fuel product development and marketing efforts. If you do not know who your target audience is and where they are, you will be selling to the wrong crowd. Market research can help your business find the right customers and the best ways to reach them. There are many different ways to conduct market research such as interviews (in-person, phone, video), observation, surveys, etc. Check out our comprehensive guide to local market research.

Why Should Your Business Research Your Market?

Local market research helps your business gain insights into various aspects such as:

  • How customers view your business
  • What lucrative markets should you target
  • How to best develop buyer personas
  • How to develop your product in comparison to competitors
  • In what ways you can improve customer experience and loyalty

Market research studies current and new markets so your business can develop good and relevant products and market them effectively.

How to Conduct Market Research with a Local Number

Here we will look at how a business can use local phone numbers when conducting market research. Businesses can get local phone numbers for various countries, cities, and regions around the world. Local numbers have specific area codes and formats assigned to them which are recognizable by locals within that area. This makes local numbers great tools for conducting research and test marketing. So, how can your business use local numbers to conduct research?

1. Market Segmentation

You can segment your target audience into smaller groups to get more detailed information and feedback from them. This process is called market segmentation. You can then use different local numbers for each segment to track responses and measure results. The four main types of market segmentation include:

  1. Demographic (B2C): based on individual attributes
  2. Firmographic (B2B): based on company/business attributes
  3. Psychographic (B2B/B2C): based on attitudes, traits, values, motivations, etc.
  4. Behavioral (B2B/B2C): based on usage, user status, purchasing/researching habits, etc.

Depending on what information you are looking for, you can either focus on behavioral or demographic elements or more. Information that you receive through market segmentation can help you tailor the product and its features as well as refine your marketing strategies to better appeal to each segment.

2. Brand Awareness Research

You can also use local phone numbers to learn more about your brand awareness. In other words, how much do customers know about your business, and how aware are they of its existence. Furthermore, you do not need to limit yourself to your own country. You can measure brand awareness in neighboring countries as well as target markets.

Your marketing and sales teams can take this a step ahead and study your customers’ awareness of the problem your business can solve. Most customers do not know that they have a problem or that there is a solution (your product or service) to their issues. Teams can take this opportunity to learn what stage of the buyer’s or customer’s journey your target audience is in.

You can also use local phone numbers to improve brand awareness in these target areas. You can do so by purchasing local numbers and advertising your product locally as well as focusing sales efforts in those regions.

3. Campaigning & Marketing ROI

Next, local numbers can help with marketing and campaigning efforts as well as measuring ROI. Use local numbers along with specific campaigns and promotions and study the results. How many customers are coming through specific campaigns or promotions? How many of these customers are converting? And how many stay on as repeat customers? The customers who don’t convert, what are they looking for?

These questions can help you determine better ways to appeal to customer pain points and display your product as a valuable solution.

4. Qualifying Leads via Presale Surveys

Presale surveys include questions marketing and sales teams use to qualify leads and determine quality prospects. This is a good way to weed out low-rank prospects as well as customers that won’t add value to your business. It also helps reduce time spent chasing bad leads. Your teams can use local numbers to easily connect with potential customers and vet them before they move further down the pipeline.

5. Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty Research

Lastly, use local numbers to keep in touch with existing customers. Your current customers are much more valuable than new customers because they are the ones who are likely to stay and become advocates for your brand. And so, you want to ensure your business and products are satisfying current customers. Measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty can help you understand how your product is performing and how much customers value it. If it is not performing well, you will need to make changes and improvements.

Survey New Markets with Local Numbers

You can get local phone numbers from Global Call Forwarding for target countries and areas. We offer international virtual numbers for more than 160 countries around the world and provide call management tools to effectively organize calls when conducting research. Browse through our inventory today or call us to learn more!

Telemarketing Versus Inside Sales

Telemarketing, telesales, cold calling, inside sales; they’re all the same, right? Sales approaches where a salesperson calls a lead and tries to sell a product or service? There is some truth to that. However, these approaches differ in their methodology and how involved salespeople need to be to convert leads. Learn about the key differences between telemarketing and inside sales so you can adopt a sales approach that is most effective for your business.

The Difference Between Telemarketing and Inside Sales

Telemarketing, inside sales, and cold calling are terms often used interchangeably. This is because they are similar services that make outbound calls to prospective customers and try to convert them. However, each approach and its methodology is different. Here we discuss telemarketing and inside sales so you can better understand the differences between the two sales approaches.

What is Telemarketing?

Telemarketing as a cold calling sales tactic has been around for years. The general understanding of telemarketing is that it is a scripted, one-call closing sales technique. In other words, telemarketing calls are highly scripted and they aim to close a deal or disqualify a lead in one call. These calls or prospects are usually about small-ticket, B2C products while the leads are low value.

Most people have come to expect telemarketing calls as spammy, disrespectful of time, and monotonous. Telemarketers get to the point; they engage with potential customers just once and decide if it is a closed or lost deal.

On the contrary, some businesses view telemarketing as more than just impersonal and monotonous selling. In this case, telemarketers don’t just try to close a deal in one call. Instead, they work on prospecting, building relationships, and sourcing opportunities, all during a phone call. And more recently, there has been a shift from scripted conversations to more personalized ones.

In short, telemarketing is quick and supports smaller sales cycles for low-ticket products.

What are Inside Sales?

The inside sales approach takes telemarketing to the next level. Inside sales includes multiple calls at various touch-points. The selling process in these calls is more complex with the reps taking a more involved approach and working closely with prospects. These calls are not scripted and tailored to the prospect’s specific situation and needs.

Inside calls target B2B and high-end B2C sales; that is, high-ticket sales. And they require longer nurturing and strategic targeting. Salespeople performing inside sales are well-trained and focus on personalization and relevance to bring new customers aboard. Inside sales also include:

  • Researching the market
  • Identifying and qualifying valuable leads
  • Studying customer pain points, goals, and needs
  • Understanding the lead before interacting with them
  • Building rapport and trust with the customer or prospect
  • Providing expertise and information to help prospects make informed decisions
  • Developing genuine relationships with prospects

In short, inside sales is more detailed, has a higher value, and a longer sales cycle.

Telemarketing Versus Inside Sales

As you can see, the key difference between telemarketing and inside sales is how involved the salesperson is.

Telemarketers may not be required to study leads beforehand or work closely with prospects to help move them down the sales funnel. They may use call center software and predictive dialing to go through their list of prospects.

Inside sales teams may use more advanced call center software and virtual communication tools such as outbound calling, web dialers, engagement tracking, sales forecasting, and more. The sales acceleration technology used by these teams helps them identify and convert valuable prospects by finding the best times to call and preferred methods of communication. This leads to a better experience for both the prospect and the salesperson.

Making Sales Calls with Outbound Calling

Global Call Forwarding offers a variety of call center software tools that help businesses make sales calls more effectively. You can use our outbound calling service with our web softphone to make sales calls from any location. Our virtual phone numbers enable you to increase your local presence in a variety of markets the world over. Want to learn more? Speak with our global specialists or chat with us online today!

What is a Follow the Sun Model?

More and more customers expect their brands and businesses to offer 24/7 customer support. This is significantly important for businesses with a wide and international customer base. The Follow the Sun customer service model can help your business become more reliable and accessible. Secure valuable global clients and increase their trust and faith in your business by letting them reach you easily!

Follow the Sun Model: How it Works

So, what is the “Follow the Sun model”? Follow the Sun is a customer support method that focuses on providing consistent customer support without regard for geographic location or time restraints. In other words, Follow the Sun is a 24/7 customer support approach for local and international clients.

Medium to large companies, especially international and multinational companies, can use Follow the Sun to offer 24/7 global customer support without relying solely on one customer service team. With such a model, customer service reps are not overburdened or forced to work late shifts. Instead, businesses can use remote or distributed customer support teams or BPOs to offer uninterrupted customer service. This constant workflow helps businesses:

  1. Offer accessible customer support and assistance
  2. Increase response times
  3. Build customer trust
  4. Position your business as a reliable one

3 Principles of a Follow the Sun Support Model

The main purpose of such a model is for businesses to offer uninterrupted customer service without geographical and time constraints. To accomplish this goal, Follow the Sun is based on the following principles:

1. Availability Across Multiple Time Zones

For this approach to work effectively, customer service and support teams need to be spread across different locations and time zones. This way, businesses can maintain continuity of workflow and support, and customers can find help wherever they are located.

2. Faster Responses

Customer service teams need to be on top of their jobs and resolve queries quickly and accurately. First call resolution rates should be high with agents available 24/7, not only for phone conversations or chats but also to resolve trouble tickets.

3. Knowledge Hand-Outs

Finally, a system should be designed where information, knowledge, and business processes are seamlessly transferred from one team to another. Handoffs for pending tasks and queries are essential so the next team member can resolve them and the customer does not have to connect with the business again for support.

3 principles Follow the sun

Pros and Cons of a Follow the Sun Model

There are numerous customer service approaches and models out there. All are trying to help businesses offer excellent and uninterrupted service. However, which model works best for your company depends on the type of business you run, your communication infrastructure, and your budget. More importantly, what are you hoping to achieve with a new customer service model? To determine if Follow the Sun support can help your business, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of such a model.

6 Ways Follow the Sun Can Benefit Businesses

1. Increased availability and accessibility

By having your customer service team work around the clock or in multiple locations, you greatly increase the chances of being available to every customer who calls your business. Every customer call is valuable and a potential sale. And so, losing out on customers who call during off-hours can hurt your business. Additionally, your business also becomes accessible to customers outside your target market. And this can help you find new leads (more on that later).

2. Faster responses and problem-solving

By employing agents at all times and locations, you can train your customer service teams to offer quick and accurate responses. Customers calling for assistance want their issues resolved as soon as possible and correctly. And if your business’ response times and first call resolution rates are high, your customers will come back for more and recommend you to their networks.

3. Consistent and reliable customer service

By doing all of the above, you can position your business as a reliable source of customer support. Current customers will rely on your service and continue to invest in it. You can then showcase them through customer reviews and testimonials that will inspire other similar customers to connect with your business.

Related: 6 Ways Customer Service Expectations Have Changed for 2021

4. Access to new markets and leads

Ah, the new leads. By making your business available in multiple time zones and locations, you have the opportunity to get customers in multiple countries. These may even be customers your business does not ideally include in top business personas. You can get insights into other areas for growth, new customer bases, and new ways to improve your product.

5. Considerate employee experience

A Follow the Sun model means not having to make your employees work overtime or odd shifts. Employees can work within their regular daytime office hours and provide support to customers in those time zones. This can help employees maintain a work-life balance and do a better job when interacting with customers.

6. Establish a global presence

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, your business gets to be on the global stage. You can establish a global presence without needing to open up multiple physical locations around the world. Some companies don’t need a physical presence to do business. However, an approach like this helps your company maintain a virtual presence in multiple locations and offer support to all customers.

A diagram showing how a Follow the Sun support strategy works.

Issues to Consider With This Approach

1. Communication and collaboration issues
When teams are distributed or spread across multiple locations, there’s a possibility of miscommunication and it is harder for teams to collaborate and be on the same page. However, we now have technology and communication tools that can help ease this process. Project management systems, chat, cloud-based CRM, and so on. Users can use these tools to enter and update customer info, assign tasks, update progress, and more.

2. Lack of coordination
Similar to the above point, a common issue with a Follow the Sun model is improper hand-off coordination. This happens when the previous team does not properly hand off pending or incomplete tasks to the new team or individuals in the next shift. Again, a well-designed CRM or project management system can help ease this process. However, employees need to take the time to update their records.

3. Unfamiliar tools and tech
Most of the issues mentioned above can be solved if efficient processes are set in place and advanced tools are used to streamline these processes. However, this means that your employees are well-versed in the different tools and technologies used. If not, then employees may spend more time learning the software or re-doing simple processes instead of taking care of customers.

How Can Your Business Offer 24/7 Global Support?

If you think your business can benefit from offering global 24/7 customer support, then you need to start planning how to provide this service.

First, Make a Plan
Establish goals and create a plan for how your business and customer service teams will offer round-the-clock, global customer support.

Some companies do this by having multiple customer service hubs or remote teams. They will use separate phone lines for each country or hub. Then, these companies get time-based routing or location-based routing from a virtual number provider like Global Call Forwarding. These routing strategies enable incoming calls to forward or route to different locations based on specific rules set by the business.

For example, time-based routing forwards calls to specific locations or numbers based on the time of the call. Location-based routing forwards calls to specific customer service teams based on the location of the caller. These strategies help callers connect with the most appropriate customer service agent in their time and location (and at times, language) preferences.

Another way to offer 24/7 service is to have all incoming calls (from different countries) forwarded to your main customer service hub and have employees work in shifts.

Next, Invest in the Right Technology and Tools
Don’t just “go with the flow.” Pay attention to the ways your teams can streamline and standardize the communication and hand-off process. Your teams will need the right tools and phone system to make this strategy work. For example, consider global SIP trunking to easily configure and manage your shift to a Follow the Sun model. Additionally, you will want project and content management systems that can help your managers and customer service teams communicate and collaborate virtually in real-time.

How you plan to adopt the Follow the Sun model depends on your communication infrastructure, business phone system, remote teams, and budget. Make a decision that works best for your business.

Reach More Customers by Being Active

The Follow the Sun model, if adopted and executed well, can help businesses reach more customers and a wider audience. More importantly, by offering reliable and responsive customer service, your company can secure valuable customer relationships and attract new leads. Learn how our call routing and call forwarding solutions can help your global expansion efforts. Call us today at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online!

Local Market Research: A Comprehensive Guide

Customers drive a business to success. Understanding your customers — who they are and where they come from — can help you offer better service. This is especially important when entering new markets. How do you know if this new market is going to be lucrative for your business? Enter: market research. Local market research helps businesses understand prospects and customers in target markets and regions. By gaining insights into your customers — their habits, preferences, goals, and motivations — you can improve your service and develop stronger relationships.

What is Local Market Research?

Local market research is the process of collecting specific information about your customers and prospective buyers. Your marketing or sales teams gather information about buyer personas and target audiences as well as existing or returning customers. The goal is to identify how your product will be doing in a new market or is doing in an existing market.

Benefits of Conducting Market Research

Market research helps your business slow down and pay close attention to your customers and buyer personas. More specifically, who are they? What are their pain points? What goals and solutions are they trying to achieve? And so on. Your business can then use this information to develop better products and a marketing plan that is more naturally appealing to prospects. Market research can help you identify:

  • Where your customers are looking for products and services
  • Where and how they conduct their research
  • What features and services (solutions) they are looking for
  • Which competitors prospects are looking at
  • What’s trending in your industry
  • What customers expect from a business or service like yours
  • Specific customer challenges and pain points
  • Who and what influences their purchases, and so on

By conducting market research, your business can identify strong markets, new areas of investment, strengths and weaknesses of your product, and new customer bases. Your teams can then create more effective marketing strategies.

Types of Market Research

There are many different ways to conduct market research and your teams do not have to do all of those mentioned below. Before doing any research, make a plan. Determine the goal of this research. Do you just want to learn more about your buyer personas or do you want to learn more about how your business stacks up against the competition? Similarly, do you have the budget to conduct a full-fledged analysis or can your teams make do with interviews and case studies? We have listed the different types of market research below so you can decide which ones make sense for your business.

1. Interviews & Focus Groups

Interviews (in-person or online) are one of the most common market research methods. Your teams take the time to speak with customers and prospects going through a series of questions and taking important notes. By speaking directly with the consumer, you can get a feel for their needs and preferences.

Focus groups are another common method of conducting research. With focus groups, a handful of pre-selected individuals are asked questions, test out products, watch product demos, and provide feedback or ask questions. This way, your teams can identify what aspects of your product and brand are clear and which areas need improvement.

2. Market Segmentation

Local market research gives insights into the new market that you plan to enter. And market segmentation helps you identify the best target audience for your product or service. Market segmentation is the process of dividing your target audience into smaller, more approachable groups or segments. Four main types of market segmentation include:

  1. Demographic (B2C): based on individual attributes
  2. Firmographic (B2B): based on company/ business attributes
  3. Psychographic (B2B/B2C): based on attitudes, traits, values, motivations, etc.
  4. Behavioral (B2B/B2C): based on usage, user status, purchasing/researching habits, etc.

By segmenting your market this way, you can approach product development, marketing, and sales with a renewed focus and cater to a wider audience.

3. Buyer Persona Research

This type of research is focused on creating realistic buyer personas that can help you develop better products and market more effectively. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of a target audience. Buyer personas are detailed and take into account a target audience’s:

  • Demographics
  • Work situation
  • Challenges
  • Desire, motivations, goals
  • What products or solutions they need
  • What they expect from your business

Your business can have multiple personas. Nailing these personas can help you target this audience better. Also note that personas develop over time so be open to modifying and updating your personas as new changes and expectations emerge.

market research
Source: DepositPhotos.com – Lic#206387476 ID#27446420

4. Brand Awareness Research

You can also use market research to determine how well your brand or business is known in target markets and areas. Customers that are not aware of your brand will look to other brands for solutions that you offer as well. This part of local market research lets you know how much attention you need to pay to increase brand awareness.

You can even take this one step further to identify how well your solution is known. For example, customers in another market may not be immediately aware of how your product or service can solve an issue they might be facing. For that matter, some prospects may not even know they have an issue that your product can solve. This is an important aspect of market research because it lets you know where and how to market to these groups.

5. Qualifying Leads with Pre-Sale Surveys

Before entering new markets, every business needs to be certain that this new market is going to benefit the business overall. Otherwise, you might end up wasting money, time, and other resources. One way to test new markets is by conducting pre-sale surveys to qualify leads and prospects.

Pre-sales surveys are questionnaires reps use when speaking with prospective customers to collect qualifying information about them. These surveys help sales reps identify good leads, understand the leads better, determine their needs and pain points, etc. By doing this, the business can reduce time spent on acquiring bad leads by focusing on good prospects instead. This further streamlines the sales process making it more efficient.

6. Product or Service Use Research

This type of market research looks at how and why your customers use your product or service. More specifically, what features or benefits do they use the most and why. And also, what features are they struggling with. This type of research focuses more on the purpose and usability of your product so you can refine and create better products.

7. Observation-Based Research

Observation-based research is, as the name suggests, research pulled together through observing how customers and prospects interact with your product or service. This is similar to Product Use Research because it helps identify how usable your product is and what areas need to be clarified.

8. Pricing Research

If your business is a new one or you find that customers are not going through with the purchasing process, you may need to look at your pricing structure. One way to determine if your pricing strategy is well-developed is by observing what similar products and services or your competitors are offering. Pricing research focuses on getting insights into the prices similar products sell at, what target customers expect to pay, and what the competition is doing. These insights will help you build a better pricing strategy that customers are comfortable with as well.

9. Competitive Analysis Research

This type of market research looks closely at what your competition is doing. More specifically, what competition does your business have? What’s working well in your industry right now? What is your target audience looking for when it comes to products like yours? What additional features and services are competitors offering? These insights can help you develop better products and processes while being at the frontline of your industry.

10. Budget & Campaign Research

Businesses can also use local market research to plan out budgets and measure ROI on marketing campaigns and investments. Your sales and marketing teams can track call records, visit times, customer preferences, and customer pain points, to name a few. And then use this information to streamline marketing efforts and budget more effectively.

For instance, market research and metrics can highlight popular service times. In other words, periods of time or certain days that the business is more likely to have customer interactions. The business can then offer more services during those periods. Similarly, test marketing can identify which marketing and promotional efforts are working well and which are not producing desirable results. Your business can then decide to allocate funds and which strategies to pay more attention to.

11. Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty Research

Next, you can use local market research to improve your customer relationships. Connect with existing customers to understand how they use your product, how satisfied they are, and how likely they are to stick with your business. This information is essential in retaining valuable customers and learning how you can improve your product or service to attract more customers.

Take the time to understand your customers’ pain points and how they use your product to solve their problems. This can give you new insights into how you can refine your product and market it better.

Related: 6 Ways Customer Service Expectations Have Changed for 2021

How to Conduct Market Research

To conduct original research, your business will need a research team (or your marketing or sales team) and a plan of action. Here are some things to consider when researching markets:

1. Make a Plan

Start by making a plan and setting goals. Consider these questions:

  • What do you want to research?
  • What core customer or target group do you want to research?
  • How will this research be conducted? In-person interviews? Observations?
  • What type of questions do you want answered?
  • Who will conduct this research?
  • How much do you want to spend or invest in this research?

2. Choose a Buyer or Audience Group

Next, identify your buyer personas and audience groups. Define and flesh out buyer personas so that they are specific and can help you narrow down core customer groups. Then, use this information to identify groups to target for your research. Compile lists, review your market segments, and create customer groups for engagement.

3. Decide on Methodology

Once you have your groups ready, decide what type of market research you want to conduct and how your teams will conduct it. Think: in-person interviews, video or phone conversations, on-field observations, social media polls, email exchanges, and so on. Make sure your methodology and budget go hand-in-hand.

4. Prepare a List of Questions

Based on your focus and goals, prepare questions or questionnaires that customers will answer. If you are doing a usability test, then prepare steps that customers will follow to complete a task or achieve a goal. Either way, give customers clear instructions and simple questions, then follow up based on their responses.

5. Use Local Phone Numbers

Local phone numbers make it easier to connect with local customers and prospects in different countries. This is especially significant for companies that have an international customer base. Make customers and prospects feel comfortable answering your research or survey questions. And if they receive a call from an unknown number, they will be less likely to answer your call and provide feedback. Your business can get local phone numbers from a virtual phone service provider like Global Call Forwarding.

6. Summarize Findings & Results

Finally, once all research and tests are complete, review answers and results and summarize your findings. Then share this data with the rest of your teams, especially with marketing and sales teams. The next course of action is to decide how this information can be used to create better experiences for your customers and prospects.

Conduct Research to Build Better Customer Relationships

Local market research goes a long way in understanding who your customers and prospects are and what matters to them. These insights can help you develop better products and experiences that draw more customers to your business. They can also show you how to develop better relationships with your customers so that they come back for more and recommend your business to others!

What is the Best Time to Make a Business Phone Call?

Sales teams and telemarketers are finding it increasingly difficult to connect with potential clients and prospects. This is because there is a growing intolerance for business calls interrupting one’s already hectic workday. However, sales and customer care teams can be smart about this and find better ways to connect with customers and prospects. To do this, you must identify the best time to make a business phone call and then train your agents and employees to follow professional and considerate business telephone etiquette.

What is the Best Time to Make a Sales Call?

Picking the best time to make a sales phone call depends on a variety of factors. These factors revolve around who your core and target demographic is and what their daily schedules are like:

  • Do they work 9-5 jobs?
  • Are they parents who will be busy taking care of their children before 9 AM and after 5 PM?
  • Are they students who have classes at various times of the day?

Determining your customers’ schedules can help you identify the best times to call them regarding a past or present purchase. Not only should you call at the appropriate time, but you should also maintain professional business phone etiquette. By practicing professionalism and respect for your clients’ time, you will increase the chances of developing good relationships and more conversions.

Best Days of the Week to Make Sales Calls

According to a recent study on the best times to cold call businesses, Wednesdays and Thursdays were identified as the best days of the week to call potential clients and customers. On Mondays, buyers and clients are easing into work mode and preparing for their upcoming week. Similarly, on Fridays, people are generally already in weekend mode and not looking for new business opportunities. Cold calls and unscheduled calls during this time are often sources of frustration and can lead to immediate rejection.

On Wednesdays and Thursdays — the middle of the week — individuals have settled into the workweek and are prepared for all kinds of business. During this time, your call will feel less like an interruption. As such, calls made on Wednesdays and Thursdays have a higher rate of translating into actual conversions.

Best Time of Day to Make a Business Phone Call

When calling customers and prospects, you have to be respectful of their time. Most telemarketers and salespeople fail to connect with their clients by calling them at the wrong time and proceeding to take up a lot of their time. So, what is the best time to make a business phone call?

The best time to make business calls is between 4 PM and 5 PM. Clients and potential buyers are getting done with their work around this time and have the mental capacity to consider your business or proposal. Avoid making calls early in the morning or when buyers are just getting settled into their workday. So, how early can you make a business call? The second best time for business calls is between 11 AM and 12 PM.

Also keep in mind, what time during the day your business will not have as much success cold calling. As a general rule of thumb, avoid making calls between 1 PM and 3 PM. This is the time most people take lunch and are least productive. Therefore, you may not get an ideal response. Furthermore, do not call clients after 6 PM, unless they give you permission to do so. You will only frustrate them during their free time and lose their business.

best time to call infographic

Other Sales Call Etiquette or Habits to Keep in Mind

As you can see, the recommendations for the best day and time to cold call clients take into account their schedules so you are not bothering them during peak hours. Following this thread, your team should also practice other healthy cold calling habits to maintain professionalism and improve the way your customers view the business. Here are some good business phone etiquette points and habits to follow:

  1. Always ask if they are available for a conversation; don’t jump right into the sales pitch.
  2. Don’t interrupt your customer; wait for them to finish.
  3. Don’t rush your prospect into making a decision or show frustration at the time they are taking.
  4. Don’t be distracted or eat during business calls; your customer should be your priority.
  5. Ensure there is no noise of conversations happening in the background.
  6. Return calls and follow up as promised.
  7. If you need to keep a customer on hold for a long time, ask to call them back instead of making them wait.
  8. The best time to call a prospect or customer is within an hour of them reaching out to you (via phone calls, emails, query forms, etc).
  9. Don’t call a prospect more than 6 times, if they have denied interaction.
  10. Use a business phone system that has high voice quality to avoid any miscommunication or need for additional callbacks.

Related: International Phone Etiquette for Business in 2021

Upgrade Your Business Phone System

Global Call Forwarding’s virtual phone systems offer high voice quality and global connectivity for businesses of varying sizes. You can start by purchasing a virtual phone number or porting your existing business number to our service and then building a phone system customized to your communication needs. Call us today at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online to learn more!

What is Customer Journey Mapping? (2021)

(Updated on Feb 2021)

As a society, we have always been fascinated with storytelling. We like to know where we started, who we were, and how far we have come. The essence of such storytelling and journey mapping is simple — we want to know how we got where we are. This process of mapping out a story or journey spills into the business world. Businesses pay close attention to their customers’ journeys and how they arrive at a company. This is called customer journey mapping.

Customer Journey Mapping: How Does it Work?

Companies develop entire marketing plans around the movements of their customers. Of course, they have to map these movements to ensure their strategy is working. That’s where customer journey mapping can help.

So, what is customer journey mapping? Mapping customer journeys helps businesses tell the story of how their customers travel across their brands. For example, customers may interact with a specific business through their exhibitions, marketplaces, webinars, website, social media, email, chat, etc. These are the different touchpoints that customers may pass through which a customer connects with your brand. Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual strategy of how your customer travels through your business from their perspective. By doing this exercise, you can identify common pain points and strategize ways to improve customer experience.

Tracking your customer’s journey can be a complicated yet powerful process. Such tracking can help map out precisely where your customers are, where your business is excelling, and where improvements are possible.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at what customer journey mapping is and how and why you should use it.

Why You Should Pay Attention to Customer Journeys

The vast majority of organizations don’t struggle to gather data. What they struggle with is understanding the frustrations and personal experiences of their customers. Understanding common customer pain points and their behaviors and expectations is crucial to the success of any business.

Tailoring to Meet Customer Expectations

Small to medium-sized businesses should map out customer journeys to identify ways to improve their service and product. For example, customers currently expect to connect with a company not only by phone calls but through email, live chat, social media, and even text messaging. As such, if your business does not offer omnichannel support, you may be missing out on a huge demographic. Another example is including customization and personalization. Stock emails and scripted messages won’t have the same effect as personalized messages and recommendations based on customer interaction.

Discovering a New Customer Base

Without closely watching customer journeys, you might miss out on key demographics and psychographics. When paying attention to the buyer journey and how certain customers arrive at your business and navigate through to purchase, you might discover a new customer base. Your marketing team can then devise strategies to appeal to this target audience and grow your customer base.

Providing Proactive Customer Service

Lastly, since your team’s priority is to identify and improve customer pain points, your business can take a more proactive approach to solve ongoing and new customer issues. You can also identify key touchpoints where customers welcome additional support and interaction. The bottom line is that you can use customer journey mapping to create customer-centric strategies.

customer journey mapping

How to Map Your Customer’s Journey

Customer journey mapping creates a framework that enables organizations to provide a better customer experience. To do this, you must document the customer experience from start to finish and identify potential improvements.

For example, if you own a coffee shop, you’d want to know what brought the customer in (i.e., Stage 1). Did they see an ad on Facebook? Did a friend tell them about your shop? Next, you’d want to know who helped them, who they had contact with, and how that exchange went. Was it pleasant? Then, you’ll want to know what motivated them to make a purchase. Was it the informative content on your website or in your email campaigns? Also, you’ll want to know what they thought of your product (the coffee) and whether or not they’d come back.

Using real-time information supplied by customer feedback is a step above surface-level data. Information and insights gained in these areas and across these touchpoints can help you visualize customer experience better.

Customer journey mapping does this all with the help of visual aids. Most maps are presented as infographics for easier digestion. Dimensions such as touchpoints, goals, and customer feedback are priceless to create an accurate customer journey map.

Tips for Creating Customer Journey Maps

Customer journey mapping should focus on building valuable insights and putting them in quantifiable maps. Identify your key touchpoints and factors that affect buyer journeys for your whole business or specific products.

Some questions to consider when mapping out the buyer journey include:

  • What is the customer thinking or feeling? Is something guiding their motivation or action?
  • What is the action?
  • What is their touchpoint with the business? (Examples: social media, paid ads, local directories, email, etc.)
  • Are there any changes that can be made to this step to improve customer experience?
  • What steps are needed to make this change?

Here are a few tips to help you do that:

1: Incorporate customer satisfaction measures.

2: Decide on the behavioral stages and develop data based on each stage.

3: Customize the journey map to match your audience (stakeholders might want different information than marketing departments, etc.)

4: Isolate your customers’ goals.

5: Identify key touchpoints (where do customers interact directly with your company?)

6: Get specific. Interact with your customers, survey them, and find out precisely when and how they get in touch with your business.

How to Use Customer Journey to Improve Marketing

The goal for any organization using customer journey mapping is to isolate the customer’s goals and perspectives and then use these insights to create a strategic and successful plan. An excellent customer journey map captures your customer’s experience concerning their needs and expectations. It helps you figure out how you stack up and exposes gaping holes in your strategy.

Essentially, they provide profound insight and create actionable steps for your organization. They show positive and negative interactions and help you replace those negative customer experiences with more positive and helpful ones.

By mapping out customer journeys and experiences, you can attempt to provide convenient and personalized service at every crucial touchpoint. Furthermore, you can create more accurate buyer personas for each step of your sales funnel. In short, mapping out customer journeys can support your inbound marketing efforts.

Related: Toll-Free Numbers for Marketing Campaigns

Using Customer Journey Mapping to Move Forward

Understanding how your customers interact with your products, service, or business helps your team take actionable steps towards an enhanced customer experience. It gives you the knowledge needed to expand and improve upon what you already offer. Clearly defining your audience, gaining greater insight into the customer lifecycle, and combining this knowledge with your team leads to tremendous business success. Use customer journey maps to ensure customers remain with your brand long-term while building strong client relationships.