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Why Call Centers & Live Chat Are Killing Paid Search Conversions


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Once is a while, a topic such as this one puts a little fire in my belly. In this case, I am talking about off- line attribution vehicles such as Live Chat and those pesky "Call Now to Order Toll- Free" #800’s plastered all over the client’s site and carts alike that are killing the opportunity for accurate tracking from a possible very successful PPC Campaign. It gets even worse if the client’s site sells a product or service with predetermined demographics and/or very complex instructions or just a "less than desired" (aka.crappy) conversion process.

Good for Client. Bad for PPC:
Great Marketing Strategy and worth the investment. It’s an obvious "no-brainer" that having additional outlets to make a purchase will increase online revenues and provide good user experience which leads to happy & loyal returning buyers. However, for us search geeks in the PPC world who rely on good performance, it’s a freakin’ nightmare.

Communicating to the Client "The Issue":
It’s one of the most frustrating things when communicating and convincing a client to simply ask them to either accurately track or replace it with a new dedicated #800 to separate it from other channels. Because if you do not, the "well-oiled" machine that you created and used to get 100 conversions a week now is only getting 35 and the KPIs which you were achieving have gone down the toilet. It is also often a losing cause to ask to get data on their call volumes and/phone sales and do some fancy math to calculate the attribution.

In conclusion:
The goal of this post is to bring attention to this often overlooked "conversion buster". There are many solutions out there that can help track the performance of PPC, even though the consumer decides to order of the phone or through a Live Chat person. However, it is imperative to start the dialog about this during the beginning stages of the relationship such as the sales and scoping process

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6 Responses to "Why Call Centers & Live Chat Are Killing Paid Search Conversions"

  1. Scott says:

    Are there solutions to this problem that could be done without incurring additional costs?

  2. BG Mahesh says:

    Yup, I agree with your findings. It surely applies in the internet space in India. See http://www.mahesh.com/2008/01/15/cpc-statistics-are-not-a-true-reflection-of-performance

  3. handsome rob says:

    Several good points made. I personally recommend (and use) ClickPath to track phone calls and it goes a long way to patch that disconnect you spoke of. Also provides a lot of valuable insight… on one particular site, we learned that visitors are twice as likely to place a phone call instead of filling out a short online form. When you find out something like that, it shows that you have to focus at least as much on your receptionist as you do on your stylesheets.

  4. JC Collins says:

    I used to be so frustrated as well. You may want to check out KeyMetric.net. They have an analytics tool that tracks all online and offline responses, including telephone calls, from any source including traditional advertising to paid or organic search keywords. They even work with our existing telephone system which is great. As far as I know, they’re the only solution out there that can do this without having a one to one toll free number ratio.

  5. calianalyzer says:

    Great article. The problem with most call tracking solutions is that like image-based ads, phone numbers do not always generate immediate conversions and play to visitors at a psychographic level – and therefore the solution cannot associate latent calls accurately. I do say most however as I have used many including ClickPath, Voicestar, and KeyMetric. Of all the solutions the only one I feel as though I am getting accurate call data from is KeyMetric. I beleive they also have a VOIP to IP address solution that is perfect for call center integration.

  6. […] was reading “Why Call Centers & Live Chat Are Killing Paid Search Conversions” today. I agree with the contents of that blog post, it applies to India for […]

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