You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “metadata” bandied about recently in the press, particularly as it applies to telephone logs. But what exactly is metadata, and how can it benefit your small business?
In short, metadata is information that helps to describe some “thing”, such as a phone number or code from a recently sold product. This collection of information is usually stored in a database where there are numerous categories that relate to each other in some way. This structure facilitates finding, sorting and filtering information of interest. Books, for example, have “titles”, “authors”, and “publication date”. Telephone calls have a “calling number”, “called number”, “time”, and “length”. This makes it easy to ask simple questions like, “show me all the calls from 415-555-1234 in the past 30 days” or “how many copies of The Great Gatsby have I sold?”
Customer contact systems, such as the one integrated into Halloo’s virtual phone features, collect this “metadata” or information. Queries can then be made quickly and easily about various relationships between stored data. These reports can generate valuable information that can be used to improve numerous business functions, including sales, customer support, scheduling, and marketing.
The reports alone are not useful. In order to make this information “actionable”, the data must often be supplemented with additional data. This can be collected along multiple points of your business processes and interactions. For example, you may want to add the name of the caller, company affiliation, sales potential, or open support issues, for each customer in the contact management system.
Over time this information creates a “digital trail” that can paint a bigger picture, allowing your organization to see the forest through the trees. In other words, your company can use the information collected to plan targeted mailings to the hottest leads, estimate sales volume based on past sales, or schedule employees based on peak call volumes. Sadly, managers frequently create fancy reports with the information but fail to make the connection on how this information can be used to build a competitive advantage.
Truth be told, many customer relationship management (CRM) systems are complex and not user-friendly, so they are often despised by sales and service reps. Most employees hate the tedium of data entry, especially if a particular call to a potential customer was not productive, so the system quickly becomes a hindrance. Having a CRM that is built right in to your virtual phone system reduces the tedium to a minimum, automatically capturing the basics of each and every call – date, time, and caller. This allows your reps to focus just on the business at hand, adding notes about follow-up actions and sales potential.
Halloo’s contact management system is easier to update, providing more timely and valuable information. You can then incorporate the insights gleaned into your sales and support centers, drastically improving your customer service by anticipating needs, assigning follow-up calls, and accurately predicting inventory, along with many other benefits. Halloo makes it easy for you to increase the quantity and quality of information in your contact records, without breaking the bank. With this enhanced “intel”, you’ll be able to streamline your business processes, improve customer satisfaction, and increase sales.