Let's say that you love working with your digital marketing agency. They truly understand your audience, your positioning, and the shifts in your competitive landscape. They communicate flawlessly with you. Through regular analysis they proactively adjust your online copy, calls-to-action, and other aspects of your site, successfully driving relevant traffic and providing an online experience your customers love.
Now imagine that, one day, your IT director tells you she's found a new platform that's easy to use, and that she sold the CFO on how your company can save money by eliminating that digital marketing agency you love so much.
The digital marketing agency's value is in their expertise, the content they create, and the effectiveness of the changes they make, not simply in their ability to make changes.
Yet, it's not uncommon for marketers to experience that same type of upheaval when it comes to their organization’s Caller Experience Marketing.
I’ve fielded many calls and emails from despondent clients who say, “Our IT team implemented a new VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system / service that has built-in music and messaging capabilities, so we have to stop using your service.”
To be clear, IT professionals are not the bad guys. I mean, some of my best friends are IT people. They simply have a different set of priorities than marketers.
VoIP is an attractive proposition to IT because it offers reduced communication costs and simplified network management, especially for organizations with a multi-location footprint.
With that said, why might VoIP cause concerns for a marketer? Ultimately, it depends on the features of the on-premise or hosted VoIP system your organization is considering. Here are a few weaknesses found in some VoIP systems that can lessen the effectiveness of your Caller Experience Marketing.
1) Your content starts from the beginning. Every. Single. Time. You can almost sense the frustration of frequent callers or those callers placed on hold several times during a call when they can predict what they'll hear when placed on hold. The Aussies at Captivate On Hold illustrate the worst-case scenario perfectly in this short video.
2) You have to rely on IT staff to upload new productions. Because most VoIP set-ups don’t allow for an external audio source, most content needs to be sent to an IT staff member in the form of an mp3 or .wav file for loading into your system. Promoting the launch of your organization’s new product or service may be tops on your marketing agenda, but your IT team may not be as motivated to have that content telecasting by a particular date.
3) Your system isn’t friendly to produced media. VoIP systems use a ‘codec’ to determine how voices and other types of audio are transmitted. In order to save bandwidth, some systems have default codecs designed to strip out audio they don't recognize as a human voice.
4) You have to play the same content everywhere. Do your multiple locations need the flexibility to promote different branding, events, products, or services? Some hosted VoIP scenarios limit flexibility by allowing for only a single production across all your locations, divisions or lines.
VoIP isn’t going anywhere and, within the next decade, it will likely account for more than 90% of all telephone systems. So, as a marketer, your best defense is a good offense. Let the appropriate decision-makers at your organization know that when they explore switching to VoIP, they need to look for a system or service that avoids, or has workarounds for, the above pitfalls.