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Call Tracking & Call Routing

Overview
Too many times potential customers are lost because their initial call was not tracked, their contact information lost, or they were not contacted for follow-up in a timely manner. To make matters worse, insufficient tracking of callers encourages guesswork and results in wasted marketing and advertising dollars because a company does not know:

  • Which advertisement and what medium is the most effective?
  • Which publishers are actually sending leads for given campaigns?
  • Where are leads actually coming from? Your sales agents may forget to ask this information.
VirtualPBX Tracks and Routes Automatically
call tracking
If you are using different phone numbers for each ad, promotion, or campaign, your company can optimize its advertising budgets through a better understanding of an ad’s effectiveness through better metrics, for example, cost-of-acquisition and return-on-investment (ROI) analysis. The virtual PBX service facilitates this by tracking your call details including: caller ID, the name and address of each caller, as well as the date, time, duration, and destination of the call – even on missed calls from numbers with Caller ID Block enabled.

VirtualPBX Call Tracking is also:

  • Self-Managed: Allowing data to be added or deleted in real-time
  • Scalable: New destinations can be added online or through the phone
  • Flexible: Any call can be routed to a preferred destination based on user-entry
call routing
A company needs to not only track incoming calls, but also have the flexibility to route them in any number of ways to any number of destinations. This is accomplished with call routing based on a unique user selection, such as a sales agent’s extension, an area code or zip code, or a property code. Once the caller makes their selection, the virtual PBX can route the calls to individuals, information boxes, or groups such as companies, franchises, or retail chains.

VirtualPBX’s service is scalable to meet the needs of any size business, from single-owner startups, to home offices and small businesses, to enterprise-level companies. You only pay for what you need, with no wasted resources or dollars. With the ability to track and route a company’s inbound calls like no other call forwarding or tracking service in this market, VirtualPBX’s service is the best choice for companies serious about getting the most out of their advertising budgets. By tracking a hot phone lead from when the call starts to when the final hang-up occurs, a company can realize:

  • Higher velocity of call leads forwarded to the proper destination in the least amount of time
  • Immediate lead referral to advertisers, groups, channel partners, or franchises

Who Uses Call Tracking & Routing
Any company that needs to to track caller response to advertisements, promotions or campaigns, or track where the call is coming from, could use the virtual PBX service including:

  • Companies that need to direct incoming calls to their own call centers
    or dispersed sales reps
  • Any vendor selling through channel partners
  • Businesses with multiple offices
  • Publishers selling ad space
  • Real estate listings
  • Retail chains
  • Franchises
Who Pays For This Service
There are many ways to cover the costs for this type of service, depending on who needs the information and how they get it. The “who” are those companies spending money on the advertisements. The “how” has two answers: companies get the information themselves or from the media where they advertise.
advertisers
Many advertisers take it upon themselves to purchase call tracking services and use those numbers in each of their advertisements. In this case, they are the owner of the call tracking numbers and the entity responsible for managing the call tracking and routing configurations.
publications
Publishers of realty magazines, classified ads, and membership directories have the need to prove to their advertisers or members that their advertising dollars are working in the form of leads and prospects. Some publications have taken it upon themselves to offer call tracking services as an incentive to advertise in their publication.

What if the advertiser is not getting many calls? This is an opportunity for the publication to work with their advertisers to improve their ad layout or sell the advertiser on premimum locations within the publication that offer higher visibility.

Either way, being able to prove to their advertisers that they are maximizing their ad dollars puts the publisher in a very powerful position.

Call Tracking
Getting noticed by your market is one of the main goals of marketing. It’s more of an art than a science. The most popular ways of marketing are advertisements in different media, direct mail campaigns, and your website. But how does a company know where their leads are coming from?
different phone numbers
The first step to figure our which advertisement, promotion or campaign is the most effective is to track each of the calls. The good old fashioned way is to ask the caller “how did you hear about us”? While this is more personal and potentially a way to get more information from the caller, it’s not always effective — the caller may not remember how they heard about your company, or more often than not, your sales personnel may forget to ask the caller.
For Each Ad, Promo, or Campaign
One of the most effective ways to effortlessly track inbound calls is to put a different phone number in each advertisement, promotion, direct mail campaign, and website. Any place the caller will see your information, put a different phone number. If you have the same advertisement in three different magazines, the ad will remain the same, but the phone number would be different. In the end, you may have 5, 25, or even 100 different phone numbers, but you’ll have the peace of mind knowing exactly where the calls came from, and how effective each campaigns is at getting the prospect’s attention.

Measure Ad Effectiveness
When you know which advertisement, promotion, website or direct mail campaign generated the call, you have enough data to measure which ad is getting the most exposure, not to mention peak call times and dates for better planning of live agents answering the inbound calls.

Optimize Ad Costs
With call tracking in place, companies will be able to accurately measure which ad campaign is receiving the most calls, from which publication from which market. As the information from incoming calls accumulates in the virtual PBX call tracking service, valuable insight can be mined from the data.

detailed call information
While it is very important to spend your marketing dollars wisely on those ads, promos and websites that generate the most calls, it’s not enough to just get a call. A prospect that took the time to call is interested in your product or service – don’t let them get away! They need to get routed immediately to their destination, or called back immediately. The only way to do that is with the proper contact information.
Caller ID, Name, Address
It’s extremely important to find out the caller’s phone number. Most phone systems and phone services will allow this. But it’s just as important to get their name, not to mention their address, especially in the franchise, real estate, and services industries.

Call Date, Time, Duration and Destination
A call that lasted twenty minutes is potentially a much hotter lead than one that lasted two minutes. This is good information to track the interaction with viable prospects. You’ll know exactly how many calls took place, including the date and time.

Capture Missed Calls
What about those calls that never made it to the desired destination because they hung up, or the live person on the other end didn’t answer the call? The virtual PBX service tracks all calls, whether it was completed or not, allowing you to follow-up on leads that otherwise might have been lost. Prospects are very impressed when their call is returned even if they didn’t leave any contact information.

real-time web-based reports
The virtual PBX has a complement of sixteen real-time web-based reports allowing you to analyze your call traffic in a number of different ways. All reports can be exported to comma separated (CSV) as well as XML to be imported into your preferred spreadsheet application or into your customer relationship management (CRM) database. The Advertiser Call Report can be automatically generated and emailed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. With this information at hand, you will have all the information you need to make informed, timely decisions regarding ad placement, ad dollars, and deploying staff to answer calls.
Call Routing
It’s not enough to be able to track incoming calls effectively. A company needs the flexibility to be able to route their incoming calls in almost any way necessary. If the call routing options are limited, the call tracking options will be just as limited. There are three steps to properly route the inbound calls:

  • Determine how many phone numbers are needed
  • Determine how the caller is to be routed
  • Determine where the caller is to be routed
phone numbers
As discussed in Call Tracking above, the best way to effectively track calls from multiple sources is to use multiple phone numbers. However, there are times when it makes sense to use one number and route the caller to multiple locations through that one number. The choice depends on how and where the companies want to route their callers.

NOTE: The best way to track a call is through a toll-free number. By calling a toll-free number, the caller gives up their right to block their caller ID because the owner of the toll-free number is paying for the call. So, bottom line: to get the maximum benefit, use a toll-free number for call tracking.

Single Number
A company would use one phone number when they want to ask the same question to all prospects and send them in multiple directions based on some type of decision-making factor, such as area code, zip code, a unique multi-digit identifier. Some examples of this might be:

  • “For the company representative nearest you, please enter your 3-digit area code”
  • “For the franchisee in your area, please enter your five-digit zip code”
  • “For more information on the property listing you are interested in, please enter
    it’s 4-digit code”
  • “Please enter the 4-digit code for the advertiser you are looking for”

Another single-number example would be for a vertical publication, such as a real estate listing. In this case it would make sense for the company to offer the call tracking service to their advertisers as an incentive. They would put a single number in place for the entire publication, and then each advertiser would receive a unique multi-digit code.

Using one phone number, while best used to funnel callers through one set of questions and route to multiple locations, would assume that the advertisement is being run in one publication. If the company wished to run the same ad in multiple locations or publications, then ideally they would use a unique phone number for each.

Multiple Numbers
A company would use multiple phone numbers when they would want to run the same advertisement in multiple locations or publications. By doing this, you can track the leads from each of the publications or medias, determining the best response to the overall campaign, thus optimizing ad dollars.

Continuing with the same example as used above in the Single Number section, if a company wanted to ask all prospects the same question(s), then route accordingly, but want to run that ad in multiple medias, they would need a unique phone number for each media. Each of the unique phone number would dial into the same system, thus funneling all callers through to the same greeting, asking the desired question and routing accordingly. This funnels all callers through the same question(s), but allows you to track which ad the calls came from.

If you are a publication with a diverse set of advertisers, then you would have an option of using a single number and each advertiser would be issued a multi-digit code. However, there are those advertisers that do not want to use a code and wish to have a phone number on their advertisement. In that case, the publication could use a hybrid approach and offer the multi-digit code as a base line, or offer a unique call tracking number to the advertiser for a premium.

The VirtualPBX service is scalable to meet the needs of any size business, from individuals, to home offices and small businesses, to enterprise companies. You only pay for what you need, with no wasted resources or dollars. With the ability to track and route a company’s inbound calls like no other call forwarding or tracking service in this market, the virtual PBX service is the best choice for companies serious about measuring their advertisement effectiveness and optimizing their advertising budgets.

route decision
The next step is to figure out how to handle the callers once they’ve dialed the phone numbers. The virtual PBX has the flexibility to route in a number of different ways, depending on how you want to handle the caller.
Direct
One of the more simple ways of routing the caller is to advertise a phone number that dials directly to the desired destination, be it directly to a person, a company, or just to an information box.

An example of this would be a publication issuing a unique phone number for each advertiser. The virtual PBX would have an extension in the system for each advertiser. Then the unique phone number would connect directly to that extension, which would then dial out to the advertiser. In this case, the caller does not enter anything to get to their desired location, except for dialing the original number.

User Selection
There may be situations where the intent is for a caller to dial one number, and then be sent in different directions depending on how they answer the initial question. Some examples of user input are:

  • Unique multi-digit code
  • Contract number
  • PIN number
  • Extensions

There are a couple of different ways to route by user selection within the virtual PBX. All routing is accomplished using extensions. The extensions numbers can be 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-digits long. When routing using a unique code that is more or less sequential – such as each advertiser gets a code within the 8xxx series – then these codes can really just be extensions within the virtual PBX service.

Example: Property Codes
If you are a publication with the same type of advertisers, such as property listings, apartment and multi-unit dwelling publications, it makes a lot of sense to use this configuration of one number and each advertiser gets a unique multi-digit identifier.

Geography
There are times, however, when a sequential code is too limited. The route decision needs to be something more granular, such as an area code or zip code. It would be ideal to be able to direct the caller to the desired destination based on a manual entry of their zip code or area code, or potentially to route automatically based on their caller ID. VirtualPBX provides two functions to solve this issue: SelectRoute™ and AutoRoute.

VirtualPBX SelectRoute™
The VirtualPBX SelectRoute option routes calls automatically based on a wide set of user inputs, up to nine digits in length. Ask the caller to input their zip code, area code, a PIN, an account number, or spell out a product name and they are automatically routed to a pre-defined location in the Virtual PBX. Caller entry data and the destination is mapped using our web interface.

VirtualPBX AutoRoute
With VirtualPBX AutoRoute, the caller ID of incoming calls automatically routes to a pre-defined location in the virtual PBX using the area code, the area code and prefix, the area code and a portion of the phone number, or area code and the entire phone number. Like SelectRoute, AutoRoutes can be mapped using our web interface. AutoRoute destinations can be:

  • An extension
  • An ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) queue
  • A block (the caller is played a “…Your number is blocked…” message and the call can then be terminated)
  • An extensions voicemail
  • The system operator

route destination
The third and final step in properly routing inbound calls is to establish the destination. Destinations are as varied as the advertisers but are typically individuals, information boxes, or groups.
Individuals
If the intended destination is a person, then you would use an extension within the virtual PBX. Each extension can dial out to find an individual at any valid phone number, worldwide.

Each extension within the virtual PBX can be configured to dial that individual at up to four different phone numbers. Known as Follow Me Calling, the virtual PBX will dial whichever phone number has been designated as the default. If the person does not answer on that phone number, the virtual PBX will then start dialing the rest of the phone numbers, trying to find that person.

Each virtual PBX has voicemail. So if that intended party does not answer, the caller can leave a voicemail on that extension, which can be emailed as a .WAV file attachment to the intended party’s email, as well as sending them a text message on their cell phone alerted them to the fact that they have a new voicemail message.

When the individual receives a call from the virtual PBX system, they are not immediately connected to the inbound caller, by default. They are given some information, Call Preview Detail, about the call, such as which phone number it came through as well as the inbound caller ID. The individual then presses # to accept the call. Alternatively, the virtual PBX service can be configured to connect the call automatically so the individual receiving the call does not have to press the # sign.

Information Boxes
In some cases, the intended destination is not a person but an information box that plays some type of message for the caller. The options are almost limitless what information can be given out to the caller. For example:

  • Marketing or advertising information about products and/or services
  • Directions and store hours
  • Property information

Each of these information boxes is an extension within the virtual PBX. This means that once the message plays, the caller could record a voicemail message that would then be sent on to a destination via email.

Alternatively, the extension could have the ability to record voicemail messages turned off. In this case, the caller would hear the outgoing message, then be automatically transferred back to the main menu to choose another option, or just hang up.

Groups
There are times when the called needs to be routed to not just a person, but potentially a group of people or another company entirely, like a franchise or a branch office.

Using SelectRoute, or just choosing a digit from the main menu, a caller could be routed into an automatic call distribution (ACD) queue, called TrueACD™ Queues within the virtual PBX service. An ACD queues allows the caller to be distributed to a group of extension owners, or agents, based on load balancing or skills based ranking. Typically, ACD queues are used in call centers and other groups where the same type of call is dispersed to a group of people to handle the call load.

Alternatively, there may be a situation where inbound callers need to be sent to another company entirely using another virtual PBX service. VirtualPBX’s Multi-System SelectRoute™ gives the ability to route the inbound caller using SelectRoute, but to multiple systems, thus integrating the systems to form a whole. This is used quite often in the franchise industry, where an inbound caller is asked for their 5-digit zip code, then automatically routed to the proper franchisee’s own virtual PBX system. Using a configuration like this allows the company to maintain a consistent sound to the caller, but also allow the local franchisee to utilize the virtual PBX in their own ways.

Getting Started
We can customize and configure a virtual PBX for your specific needs and applications. How you answer the questions below will help determine your virtual PBX call tracking and routing service:

How many phone numbers will you be using?

  • You’ll need a unique phone number for each ad, promo, or campaign
  • If you want the caller to enter a unique code, you’ll need one phone number per ad
  • If you want the caller directly connected to the specifc destination where a sales agent might handle the call, you’ll need a phone number for each agent

How do you want to direct the caller when they dial the phone number?

  • Do you want to direct the callers, asking for a multi-digit code, zip code, or area code?
  • Virtual PBX will record a custom, professional recording, send it out to a studio, or you can provide your own

How many extensions do you need?

  • You’ll need an extension for each destination where you want the caller routed
  • Live extensions can route a call to a person at up to four phone numbers for
    Follow-Me Calling
  • Mail-only extensions are great for giving information to the caller, such as hours of operation, driving directions, or information about your products, and services

What type of SelectRoute, AutoRoute, or Multi-System SelectRoute mapping do you require?

  • If you want to route the callers to individual destinations based on zip code,
    use SelectRoute
  • If you want to route the callers to other virtual PBX systems based on zip code entry,
    for example, franchises or retail chains, then use Multi-System SelectRoute
  • If you want to automatically route the callers by auto-sensing their phone number,
    use AutoRoute