Magazine article Marketing

Calls in the Wilderness

Magazine article Marketing

Calls in the Wilderness

Article excerpt

Too many responses are lost as a result of poor preparation.

Ken Gofton looks at how both telebureaux and media buyers can work together to their mutual benefit

Over the next couple of months, the focus in the DRTV debate is going to shift to improving the relationship between the media buyers - who book the slots on TV - and the telebureaux that handle the resulting calls.

This isn't an idle prediction. Some of the leading figures in the DRTV world - such as David Stubley at Channel 4 - have pinpointed the interface between media buying and call handling as a weak link that needs to be improved.

Last year, a furious row broke out when research by BT and Channel 4 suggested that 37% of calls resulting from DRTV ads failed to get through.

BT and Channel 4 now acknowledge that a more realistic figure is around 22%. All parties agree that figure is still far too high, but it is not so outlandish when you consider the extremes between best and worst practice in the industry.

It's now known that the original results were seriously skewed by just eight appalling examples which lost up to 95% of their calls - such as the company which put an answerphone on its 0800 line: 1200 callers managed to get through, but 58,000 didn't.

No matter that all the worst examples involved failures on the part of client companies' own call centres. The finger was pointed at the telebureaux. Their understandable response was: 'it's not true. Or if it is, it's not our fault'.

Handling DRTV calls brings its own problems and a lot can go wrong. It's a feature of the game that most calls are generated within minutes of the ad being broadcast. Calls come in a series of sharp peaks.

Bureaux work to schedules provided by the media buying agencies. They can be caught on the hop with insufficient staff if an ad goes out when they're not expecting it.

"We're accused of slipping extra slots into the schedule, but it's not true," says Channel 4's Stubley. …

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