Written by: Heidi Miller Austin, Texas
One bad experience with call tracking phone numbers can be enough to put you off them for good. For the uninitiated, the use of call tracking phone numbers for call analysis is the practice of using a specific phone number to man-in-the-middle communication between two parties to be able to capture and analyze data about how they reached each other. A potential customer might contact a business via phone through online ads (Google AdWords, Facebook), 3rd party niche listing sites (Angie’s List, HealthGrades), print media (postcards, flyers) – anywhere marketing might reach the customer and marketing return on investment can be tracked.
Being able to set the tone for how your customers find you and what their experience is in that communication sets the tone for your entire relationship moving forward. One such personal experience recently highlighted this in startling clarity.
I tried to reach a doctor that had been recommended to me, searching his name through Google on my iPhone, seeing his business listing and pressing Google’s convenient “CALL” button. Filling out the business Google listing is an invaluable first-step optimization for all businesses since Google continues to be the reigning search engine.
I was met with a disconnected tone.
The doctor’s website didn’t show up on the first page when his name was entered into Google. This is almost difficult to do, so long as your website has your name and address on it, with 2-3 paragraphs of information.
As any tenacious referred customer might do, from Google’s search results I chose this doctor’s profile on a large, reputable 3rd party site that lists doctors of various specialties for patient reviews and feedback. I dialed the 800 number listed near the doctor’s name, expressly for new patients. This is where things got weird.
I was connected with a very polite woman who advised that she scheduled for many doctors and needed to take my info to get to my preferred doctor. I gave her my first and last name, phone number and full birthdate. She asked if I wanted the doctor’s phone number or if she should directly connect me. I asked to be directly connected. When I finally reached the office administrator, she had no idea who the person I’d spoken to was, no idea what purpose my personal information was gathered for. At this point, I’m angry. And all the front desk had done was answered the phone.
Is it the fault of the doctor’s office that a 3rd party website scooped my information, likely to “prove” their services are valuable to the office as a new patient source? Of course not, the internet is overflowing with disreputable companies with shady practices. But did the business’ inattention to their online presence cause me personal dissatisfaction, leading to my decision not to attend this physician? Absolutely.
There is so much value that can be gleaned from call analysis that it’s almost surprising to discover it can be done poorly.
Here’s how a great tracking number scenario goes: Customer Googles the business, the Google business listing has been fully optimized, complete with a tracking phone number tied to a dependable call-analytics company that directly connects to the normal phone system for the business. Customer reaches business seamlessly and business can see how customer interacted with the business’ marketing or optimization to become a paying client.
The doctor I had such a misfortunate experience with is missing an encompassing, comprehensive marketing strategy that combines connectivity, authority, clean communication, user-friendliness and professionalism for all online prospects. As someone in the field, I know this analysis of their shortcomings is self-serving. But as a user, it’s impossible to not lose my business if it’s this hard to connect with them. The wakeup call to action should be the first time you Google your own business and ask yourself honestly: Would you choose you?