How Call Tracking Can Improve Admissions Office Efficiency

Each day, higher education admissions offices receive hundreds of phone calls regarding dozens of topics. Sometimes it's the mother of a soon-to-be student, and other times it's the prospective student himself. Either way, a caller should be treated as a priority. A call tracking program such as Who's Calling can help you accomplish that. Here's how.

Evaluate Phone Staff

With the ability to record and listen to phone calls, you'll be able to determine whether your phone staff is handling calls in a professional manner. Call tracking software allows you to play back call recordings immediately, so any issues can be dealt with right away. Not only that, but you will also be able to use the call recordings to train staff on how to handle phone calls correctly (or how not to handle phone calls).

Note the Topic of Each Call

Degree plans and transcripts and class sizes, oh my! It's hard to keep track of every topic that comes up during the hundreds of phone calls your staff receives each day. Call tracking software allows your admissions employees to make notes of the main topic of each call. You can then sort the call recordings by subject and figure out which ones are most important to parents, students and post-grads.

Track the Success of Each Ad Campaign

One of the benefits of call tracking is being able to identify which calls come from which advertisements. When prospective students call wanting more information about the school, it would be nice to know how they got in touch with you. Are your social media efforts the most relevant, or are your huge billboards (literally) paying off? Call tracking lets you know who is calling, where they are calling from and how/where they got your phone number, so you'll know what marketing efforts are hitting the bulls-eye and which ones aren't even hitting the board.

[INFOGRAPHIC] The History of the Do Not Call List

Since the birth of the Do Not Call (DNC) list, there have been 105 cases and close to $100 million in penalties. Check out more statistics about the Do Not Call list in this infographic.

Do Not Call Infographic

Feeling a little worried about DNC violations? Learn how to protect your business from DNC fines and penalties here.

Adapting Your Company’s Website for Google Hummingbird and the Dawn of the Semantic Search

As a developer, your company’s website is your pride and joy and the cornerstone of your business’s marketing strategy. You spend hours researching the right keywords for your industry and go cross-eyed studying its analytics. You've developed quality outside links to your site, and your social media campaigns are on point. Over the last month or two, however, traffic on your site has been declining despite your best and, until now, successful SEO strategies. The genesis of your search engine woes may be Hummingbird, the latest and most sophisticated Google algorithm update to date.

On September 26, 2013, Google announced that it had implemented Hummingbird approximately one month prior. Whereas previous updates such as Panda and Penguin functioned as a tune-up to Google, Hummingbird is tantamount to dropping in a whole new engine. The main focus of this update is the recognition of conversational, long-tail search queries to provide more specific results.

This latest evolution is a result of the ever-growing mobile device market. When using voice recognition such as Siri, people tend to make their requests in a conversational manner, so it's important to Google that its voice search technology provides mobile users with the same semantic and comfortable user experience.

So how do developers adapt to Hummingbird, an update that impacted 90 percent of search queries worldwide? The following concepts will not only help you adapt your company's website but prepare it for the future of SEO.

It’s Not About You

This particular update was created to improve the end-user search experience and provide relevant results based on more semantic search queries. It was not meant to change the dynamics of SEO or reduce the ranks of  low-quality sites. Unlike previous updates, it was meant to be transparent from an SEO standpoint. However, the use of long-tail conversational queries will almost certainly bless websites that already provide quality, descriptive content. It is important to maintain your off-the-page SEO tactics, as Hummingbird should not affect them one way or the other.

Keywords Are Still Important

While semantic search is not the death of a keyword-based SEO strategy, it does add a new search dynamic — the context of keywords. It's now important to research not only what keywords consumers are using but how they are using them. Your market research should reflect how people ask for information about products and services in general, not necessarily what they would type in a search engine. You can more effectively derive quality keywords from this research, thus improving both SEO and PPC effectiveness.

Create Your Website for the Consumer, Not the Search Engines

As always, you can’t go wrong with fresh, quality content. It's important to remember that search engines can't purchase goods and services, but consumers can. Be aware of keywords, but write your content for the end-user. As semantic search evolves, the gap between what consumers look for and what search engine web crawlers look for will undoubtedly close.

In conclusion, while there should be no initial SEO impact from Hummingbird, search engines will continue to favor quality content as semantic search evolves. Developers can drop their SEO “blinders” and create a website that will not only entice their target demographic but also soar to first-page search results.

Does Your Business Have Two Faces?

Businesses often sport two faces: the one you see online and the one you talk to on the phone.

woman holding maskWhen Two-Face, the comic book super villain that spices up Gotham City from time to time, flips his coin, you never know which side it will land on.

While this makes for an exciting plot twist for readers, when businesses pull the same stunt with their poor phone service, leads are thrown for a loop that sends them flying into the arms of the competition.

Does the following scenario sound familiar?

Initially consumers in the early stages of their research are won over by what they see on your site. Then they hit your Click To Talk button and connect with a business that bears your name but doesn't resemble the face they've come to know and love online.

You shuffle them haphazardly into a phone tree of never-ending transfers. They're confused. What happened? They loved you. They wanted you. In return, you delivered them a completely different type of service from the one they experienced online. They thought they knew you. They were wrong.

You need to remember this: The prospects that call your company are not your run-of-the-mill leads. These callers are far more valuable.

frustrated man at laptopA recent study by the Corporate Executive Board reported that customers reach out to businesses by phone when they are 57 percent of the way through the decision-making process. This means that the people who call your business like what they've read about you online and are nearly ready to seal the deal. That is, if you don't fumble the lead with your poor phone service. To avoid appearing two-faced, here are some tips you should follow.

Quickly Get the Call to the Right Rep

When a prospect calls your business, don't waste their time by requiring them to speak to multiple people before reaching the one that can actually answer their questions. Instead, simplify your call handling process by creating a customized phone menu with intelligent call routing options so you can quickly close the sale.

Listen in on Calls

You can't see the face of your company clearly unless you're looking into a mirror. Recording and listening to your staff's phone calls and letting your employees evaluate their own calls is a great way to identify what type of phone service your leads are experiencing. If what you hear doesn't match how you present your business online, train your employees on the correct way to converse with leads.  

Rescue Mishandled Calls

Two wrongs don't make a right, so it's vital that you don't mishandle a lead and fail to call them back to correct what went wrong. Invest in a call tracking company that sends you mishandled call notifications by text and email so you can see when one of your staff members showed their ugly side and potentially missed an opportunity.

You don't want prospects to compare your business to a psycho Batman villain, and neither do we. Make sure you're putting your best face forward both online and offline by investing in some call tracking tools.