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Capping off the first day of DMS ’11 and the Performance Media SuperForum was a one-on-one session with David Read, director of Pay for Performance of AT&T Advertising Solutions, and BIA/Kelsey moderator Charles Laughlin. Read talked specifically about how AT&T has integrated pay-per-call into the local sales channel. While it has been successful, Read said that implementing pay-for-performance has not been without its challenges.

In particular, AT&T underestimated call duration guidelines that led to customer-service issues. In other words, some customers were upset that they were being charged for calls that they did not think had any value. Secondly, and adding gas to the customer-service issue fire, was related to the number of non-relevant or “nuisance” calls.

Read reported that two of the changes AT&T made to better manage the expectations of its advertisers was to implement a better call management tool and also updating its program to offer a fixed fee plan in addition to its original pay-per-call plan. The fixed fee option was launched in April 2011. Additionally, AT&T has looked at this as an outcome-based selling initiative, which is more focused on selling the outcome than on traditional selling of features and benefits.

Right now the clients involved in pay-per-call are primarily print customers — around 65 percent to 70 percent. At this point, AT&T is seeing an approximate 50-50 breakdown between calls generated from organic traffic and distribution partner calls.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Businesses who begin pay-per-call campaigns should monitor the average duration of their calls. After a few months employees may discover that the program can be used for their personal long-distance calls. By monitoring the average duration, companies can identify when such personal calls start creeping in, typically three months after launch, and lasting longer than 15 minutes.

    FWIW, businesses who are unsure about pay-per-call can use Google Voice as a free alternative. By signing up for multiple Google Voice accounts, they can use one Google Voice phone number for execution ‘A’ and another Google Voice phone number for execution ‘B’. Since the calls are going straight from Google Voice to the same main line, the buyer doesn’t notice anything unusual but the business is able to count which execution drove the most voice phone calls.

  2. Also, Yext’s transcription/keyword system for filtering non-sales calls from the ‘billable’ list is a fine solution and it would be great to see the other IYP’s follow suit with similar technology.

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