Occasionally I get calls from advertising companies looking to use 1300 services for AB marketing. Now I don’t come from a marketing background, so I had no idea what they were talking about. I decided that I would catch up through some good old-fashioned research.
Wikipedia states: In web development and marketing, A/B testing or split testing is an experimental approach to web design (especially user experience design), which aims to identify changes to web pages that increase or maximize an outcome of interest (e.g., click-through rate for a banner advertisement). As the name implies, two versions (A and B) are compared, which are identical except for one variation that might impact a user’s behavior. Version A might be the currently used version, while Version B is modified in some respect. For instance, on an e-commerce website the purchase funnel is typically a good candidate for A/B testing, as even marginal improvements in drop-off rates can represent a significant gain in sales. Significant improvements can be seen through testing elements like copy text, layouts, images and colours.
So – what does this mean and how could you apply it?
To start with, the concept of AB Marketing allows you to compare different means of advertising. The 1300 number with its reporting features will give you the ability to compare the inbound telephone enquiries easily.
Lets say you put a new different 1300 number:
- On your website contact page
- On a specific landing page your promoting a special offer on (tied to adwords)
- On your email footer
- On your business cards
- On your print mail out campaign
- On your Yellow Pages advertisement
Imagine the level of detail you would receive after 3 months of running the above?
You would be able to tell exactly how you are receiving the majority of your telephone calls, and combine it with sales stats – work out exactly how much each lead per advertising medium is costing you.
That is vital information. You could be spending $1000 per year on a listing somewhere that is giving you no new leads. It may highlight a particularly profitable advertising medium that is struggling for budget.
We love setting up these campaigns, and always pass on as big a discount as possible to help with the cost of multiple 1300 numbers. Any questions, please ask in the comments.
I was thinking about why customers choose my business for 1300 numbers over others businesses recently and I drew a few conclusions which I wanted to share.
Firstly, my business is small compared to the “Big Guys” ie. Telstra, Optus etc. I am constantly receiving feedback from clients about how easy and simple I am to deal with and get things done/fixed. Surely this cannot be too difficult? People don’t want to be just another number on a screen – they want you to remember them, they want to know that your important to them and their issues and needs are important.
I guess as your business grows it becomes harder to manage this, however I don’t think there is any excuse for not meeting this basic need from all Customers. My business is at the stage now where I don’t hardly any of my clients, I have never spoken to them – maybe I have received an email or two from them but that’s it. I still do NOT find this hard at all. When someone calls, I load up there customer profile, take a quick look at their products – or ask them directly: “Please tell me about your business and what you need from my services.”
Not once have I had someone refuse to talk about their business, they get excited and passionate and love the conversation. When was the last time that happened to you when you called a “Big” company? Never I bet. During the call, I take a few brief notes and store it in the system, set reminders for certain tasks if I need to follow them up or if they require certain information I will send it to them on the spot. This way, if they call again, I can quickly load up there profile and see my notes from last time and remember whats going on. Nowdays, I generally have to rely on other peoples notes or my own notes from years ago to get up to speed – so I guess having a consistent system in place is definitely the key in that regard.
Now I do have to give the big guys credit, the sheer volume of customers/enquiries they deal with means its not always going to be perfect but I would question some fundamentals of their business model. Why do you have to go through endless IVR Menu’s or Voice Recognition systems to then speak with someone who isn’t a direct specialist in dealing with your original enquiry?
I image a group of numbers, maybe 1 for mobile, 1 for internet, 1 for fixed lines and 1 for inbound products. Each number would have an IVR menu with a maximum of 2 levels deep. The first level establishes what type of enquiry you have eg. Sales, Support, Billing. These need to general enough that everyone can easily choose an option.
The second level may not be required or it may drill down the enquiry further, so for example Sales -> Straight to a Sales Rep. For Billing, you might have: Pay my bill, Billing Error, General enquiry. Then finally the IVR Menu drops the call down into the specific group that handle those calls. Hold times would be managed so that no one was waiting more than 2 minutes – if they do it set’s up an automatic call back service so they can continue their work.
Finally once the operator deals with that specific enquiry, if they require further help outside of that operators help, the operator connects them either into the Relevant IVR, or establishes the department through conversation and transfers that call to the relevant department. The operator definitely doesn’t try and help the caller if its not their area of expertise.
I think this could seriously work much better than the current systems I’ve dealt with, and I know as my company grows I will certainly be moving towards this style model. Would love to hear your thoughts on this, please post in the comments below.
Many people who are new to the business world, specifically to the Inbound telecommunications world ask me what to look for when choosing a 1300 number for their business.
There are a few key points I always suggest, lets go through them now.
- Work out your budget. If you have no budget – your restricted to selecting a standard number from the public list. This list has 2000+ numbers on it and you probably won’t find any numbers making words. You will find some good numbers that rhyme, or have repeating numbers or sequences of numbers.
- Smartnumber or not? Smartnumbers is a branch of the ACMA. It is their job to sell the premium 1300, 13 and 1800 services to the public. They do this through auctions, and the reserve starts around $250. This questions really ties back to Question 1 – do you have a budget. If you have a budget and time to wait for the auction to finish (3-4 weeks) then go for it. They look impressive and definitely have some hype attached to them in the market place.
- Are some suppliers better than others? Of course! Each different supplier has their selling points, but its likely they all use one of the main core networks. I’m aware of Telstra, Optus, AAPT, Primus and GoTalk. Some networks are based on VOIP, some aren’t. These are questions you should direct at your supplier. My company focuses on high quality services, simple setup and explanations and personal service – these are the main selling points.
- Why should I go 1300 over 1800? Well 1800 services are “generally” associated with community services and feedback services. Also 1800 numbers are outside of most mobile cap plans and actually cost alot more to the caller than a 1300 service does and 1300 numbers generally work out to be slightly cheaper than 1800 numbers if your making use of the free time options for local callers to fixed line answer points. There is a unsaid standard in the Australian marketplace that automatically associates 1300 numbers with business.
- Hidden terms and conditions. Unfortunately, there are some suppliers out there that will charge you for everything they possibly can. Have a good read through the terms and conditions before you signup. Being charged for invoices, charged for answer point changes or charged extra for normal included extra facilities on 1300 or 1800 numbers are the things to look out for. It is quite normal for suppliers to have a direct debit requirement and penalties for late payment and direct debit dishonours as this is a general standard across Australian business.
Well I hope that has given you some food for thought. Please post any comments below – I would love to hear from you.
I was just reading an article talking about how they are planning to petition to make Mobile phone carriers change the rules surrounding the call charges for the so called 'free call' 1800 services in Australia.
I have always wondered why it has taken them so long to do this - especially considering its supposedly called a 'free call'. Ha.
1300 Numbers are very flexible services as you probably already know. Here is a list of features that Good Telco’s include for free such as:
- Call Overflow – This is perfect configuration when you want to make sure every call is answered. You can overflow from your business line in your office -> your mobile. You could overflow from your mobile to an answering service.
- Time Based Routing – The most common setup for this is to setup your 1300 service to come through to the office line from 8am – 5pm. All other times you might want the service to go to a Voice To Email service which states your opening hours and gives the caller the option to leave a message. You might want the service to go straight to your mobile or a call answering service.
- Caller ID information – This information will automatically come through to your compatible handset. You will also be able to view the Caller ID history in your customer login area, or on your invoice.
- Location Based Routing (Limited) – You can drill down to a State level, Broad Regions, or even to an Exchange on a suburb level (Please note you cannot do this accurately for Mobile phones, you will need the Postcode Dialler for mobiles). This obviously can be quite tedious to setup and maintain, so often you would expect to pay for the staff time setting up this configuration. This really is best if you are a national service with multiple offices in multiple cities. You would be able to direct all Eastern states to the eastern head office etc.
Well that covers the free options, many of which are extremely helpful and generally people actually setup a 1300 number or 1800 number because of one or all of these features.
I was just reading an article talking about how they are planning to petition to make Mobile phone carriers change the rules surrounding the call charges for the so called ‘free call’ 1800 services in Australia.
I have always wondered why it has taken them so long to do this – especially considering its supposedly called a ‘free call’. Ha.
Anyway, the article is available here. I will be keeping a keen eye on this – I imagine if it goes forward it will suddenly make 1800 services more expensive to my telecommunications company on a wholesale level, or it could change the whole market. See we are currently at around 90% 1300 number usage (in my customer base anyway).
The market views 1800 numbers as your community or feedback services – not the normal perception an Australian business wants.
original article: david thomas – are 1800 numbers going to be free from mobiles?