How Call Centers Impact the Bottom Line for Local Service Businesses

By Matt Buchanan

Answering phone calls from new potential customers and effectively selling their services is the lifeblood of any growing small- to medium-sized business (SMB). To gain better insight into a call center’s role in this, we recently published our 2019 Home Service Call Performance Report to better understand how call performance impacts the bottom line. What we discovered has major implications for call centers and call answering service providers.

Call Answer Rate: The Performance Perception Gap

There is a huge perception gap between how well local service SMBs think they answer their phones versus how well they actually answer them. We polled local service SMBs on how well they think they answer the phone, and they estimated they answered 97 percent of their calls on average. Based on our call analysis findings, we learned that these businesses in reality only answer 66 percent of their calls on average.

The impact of this misperception has massive implications for these businesses. For starters, they are missing out on meaningful revenue by not answering their phones. Even worse, they don’t even realize it.

Call Centers versus In-House Staff: Call Centers Capture 70 Percent More Leads 

Many businesses assume call centers are less effective at representing their business in a positive light than they can do themselves. The reality is that when it comes to phone interactions, call centers are far superior at consistently capturing potential customer information for further sales engagement.

We found that call centers answer the phone 99 percent of the time (which makes sense), but they were also able to capture customer information 75 percent of the time. Compare with in-house staff who answered the phone 65 percent of the time and were able to capture customer information only 66 percent of the time, this works out to about a 70 percent increase in leads captured when using a call center.

The reality is that when it comes to engaging potential customers over the phone, professionally representing a local service business, and building trust, professionally trained call centers are consistently much better at converting phone calls into captured leads.

Cost Center versus Profit Center: Show Value by Delivering Revenue-Driving Insights

By utilizing a call center, local service businesses can increase their booked appointments by 80 percent without spending a single additional dollar on new marketing initiatives.

There is a really great opportunity to shift the mentality from call centers as cost centers to profit centers. Most buying decisions are made through a process of discovering pain points and then providing a solution that can solve those pain points at a price that makes sense for the buyer. But if these local service SMBs aren’t aware of the problem, then hiring a call center means buying a solution to a problem they don’t think they have.

So, how can you, as a call center marketer or leader, help these businesses discover a huge problem they don’t know they have? And then once they are aware, how can you continue to uncover revenue-generating trends to keep adding value? The answer is by making a case with data.

Invest in call analytics to understand and identify the pain points and trends of a business’s call performance, as well as the customers they are trying to service.

Some critical capabilities will be:

  • Offering call attribution reports to help clients spend their marketing budget more wisely
  • Offering time and location optimization reports to identify targeted ad strategies
  • Offering reports on trends of revenue-generating conversations with call transcription and text mining
  • Offering lead quality reports to help call center marketers better understand the audience they should be targeting

 Call centers have the unique opportunity to change this mentality, and those who take the leap in investing, building a strategy, and building products or services around customer call analytics will be the leaders in this change.

Matt Buchanan is the co-founder and VP of sales at Service Direct, a pay-per-call marketing service provider. Access their 2019 Home Service Call Performance Report.

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