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Thread: Affiliate Phone Tracking Solutions

  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Affiliate Phone Tracking Solutions
    Hi All,

    We're trying to assist one of our clients implement phone tracking, which is always great. The difficult part is one that we rarely think of, they're willing to have their phone reps ask the consumer for the tracking code (aka promotional coded on SAS javascript phone tracking), it's the relaying of that information to the network that proves difficult, and the difficulty can increase with the success of the program. This can be done programmatically but would require a major undertaking for their back end system.

    I've researched this, and came across this post by Volare Media back in August:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...23&postcount=3

    Here's what it reads:

    Recently I evaluated some solutions for this including the method you described. I decided to go with a custom system that goes like this:

    1. Customer visits site via affiliate link and calls 1-800 #
    2. Cusomter places order over phone
    3. email is sent to customer with a link to retrieve confirmation/receipt
    4. Customer visits confirmation page with conversion tracking
    5. Affiliate gets credit for the sale

    I created a simple form for the call center agents to use and it even saves them time by automatically generating the confirmation email for them.

    Whether or not its the best solution for you, it is an option to consider.
    The immediate drawback that comes to mind is that if the consumer has a hard time receiving the email, or accessing the email, that both parties could lose the sale.

    So, after that long post, my questions to you are:

    1) What do you think of this solution?
    2) Can you think of / Have you seen anything better?

    Thanks for your comments,

    -Mike

  2. #2
    Newbie Rolet's Avatar
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    i use click Path for all my phone tracking needs and on merchant site we use the SAS tracking script......

    I do love Click Path though, they are GREAT!!!!!!

  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    if I'm getting this whole picture correctly, it seems to me that this technique means the rep will not have to ask for any embedded code (aka affiliate id) and nobody has to enter manual credits into SAS. If that's the case, then...

    from just the affiliates point of view...

    you're asking here about email receipt difficulties - which is one side of the story, but aren't presenting this discussion as the trade-off that it really is...

    with this system, you do have email receipt at the cookied machine as an issue... plus the leak where the person may get the email, but not visit the page for whatever reason...

    but...

    without this system, you have rep training / turnover / data entry mistakes, customers not finding the proper code on the page, javascript enabled, customers calling when they're off their computer, manual sales credit entry delay, possible manual sales credit mistakes, no afftrack capability, and no referral data / stats capability as issues...

    go with the system!

    make sure that the particular "phone sale" email / confirmation page only goes out for phone orders only or you'll get duplicate credits issued. this can also be done automatically so that reps don't have any other tasks added to their current checklist (and they can't screw it up either).

    since you work with other merchants, you should be able to slice and dice some stats afterwards to measure it's relative effectiveness compared to rep aff code entry method. let us know how it turns out!

    as an OPM, proposing these kinds of solutions must please your merchants!

  4. #4
    http and a telephoto
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    Plus anytime they pull up the confirmation email it registers a second or third or more sale. Which then have to be reversed. Not what I would consider to be a good solution. Experienced it already with a merchant and know of another having similar problems.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi Mike,

    Shoot me an email I'll explain how we had it set up at Mondera. Requires programming but I've never seen a better system.

    Cheers

    chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
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  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    Plus anytime they pull up the confirmation email it registers a second or third or more sale. Which then have to be reversed. Not what I would consider to be a good solution. Experienced it already with a merchant and know of another having similar problems.
    This can be programmatically solved fairly easily.

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    A solution like this has many other benefits, as well. If you're doing in-house PPC and are tracking conversions, this will track any of those orders that come through the phone.

    One slight change I would recommend: Instead of just doing a normal "confirmation page", which consumers might or might not view, put the order in a pending status and require them to go to a page to activate the order. I suspect that many would never load the confirmation page if it's not required (especially if they already receive an email confirmation). Train your phone reps to talk them through "confirming" the order online.

    It might just be a terminology issue and you might already be planning what I recommend, but I wanted to throw it out.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Nunez
    The immediate drawback that comes to mind is that if the consumer has a hard time receiving the email, or accessing the email, that both parties could lose the sale
    That should be the main concern but from my experience running ef for a while not many sales come through phone, but that also depends on the products ofcourse, as some require more phone calling orders than others and some programs do have many, many sales that require more phone orders as opposed to direct online order so I can see where a good system could be implemented, but anything that has to wait for email or automated coul be risky. I always opt for the manual verification sent to me directly and then credited manually and an occasional inquire to customer service to make sure.

  9. #9
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    Thanks Everyone.

    Chris, email sent.

    My initial thoughts on the method I stated was a little guarded. I never like adding another step to the order process.

    But one side effect of this method that may work out for the retailers benefit is fraud prevention and credit card reversals. If the order isn't shipped until the confirmation link is clicked and the consumer lands on the landing page, it is a consumer confirmed purchase. I know that fraudsters could just use a fake email, but why bother when they can just go someplace else that doesn't need it?

  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Another layer of fraud protection, I didn't think of that. It is a good angle as well.

    Take Coley's "require" input, it's important. But you'll have to find an easy way for people who legitimately say "no thanks" when asked for their email. Either way, I like what I'm hearing here.

  11. #11
    Newbie Rolet's Avatar
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    Michael what if you could place code on the Merchant site that would generate a 1-800# specific to that affiliate, no need for the CSA to ask for a code as the phone number is affiliate specific, when the user called that number, it was dropped into a reporting interface that gave you the total sales amount by affiliate. The only thing the CSA has to do, in enter the sales amount after the call was completed (using the key pad on the phone), and the CSA was prompted by a recording after the user hung up to enter this information. Would this be a solution you would like? The one part that I see as an issue, but honestly it may not be, there may be a way to send a feed with this information to the networks, but there would have to be some manual commission entering. A report would have to be run from the phone tracking solution and entered in to the affiliate program management software.

  12. #12
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    Hey Rolet,

    I love it. It's another great way to track phone sales. I'm really happy where this thread has gone. The only issues I see with your method, though both are solvable, are below:

    1. Generating enough 800#'s for all affiliates. Some of our program have had over 20k affiliates.

    2. It still requires extensive programming to tie the 800# to the affiliate and enter that value into the order system of the CSA.

    Like I said, both solvable, and yet another great phone solution.

    -Mike

  13. #13
    Newbie Rolet's Avatar
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    Michael,

    Actually the quantity of phone numbers is not an issue :-) - there are clients with more than 40,000.....and the tie in is java script on the merchant site, I can explain more in detail to you if you would like, but this solution exists, I am still working with this company to come up with the perfect solution for Merchants, Networks and affiliates. If you want more info feel free to pm me.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolet
    Actually the quantity of phone numbers is not an issue :-) - there are clients with more than 40,000.....
    Nice, didn't know that. But if everyone did it, they'd have to run out sometime .

    and the tie in is java script on the merchant site, I can explain more in detail to you if you would like, but this solution exists, I am still working with this company to come up with the perfect solution for Merchants, Networks and affiliates. If you want more info feel free to pm me.
    That's assuming that the CSA's order system is integrated with the site or is web based. There'd still need to be a way for the IVR and entering the order to connect.

    Just playing devil's advocate here...

  15. #15
    Newbie Rolet's Avatar
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    how it works -

    You place the script on the pages where the phone number should be dynamically inserted, and the user calls the number and it forwards it to the answering service for the merchant.

    When the CSA picks up the phone there is a prompt letting the CSA know that this call is being delivered from an affiliate link (note CSA doesn't need to ask for any id #'s as the phone number being called in on is directly related the referring affiliate). After the call is completed, the CSA is prompted to enter the commissionable sales total for this call. Once that has been done then the CSA hangs up.

    Now where there still needs to be some integration work -

    The merchant then log ins to the reporting inter face for this vendor and can view reports with a multitude of queries, but most importantly by referring affiliate id, and at this point the merchant can view sales total and commission due to that affiliate by sales generated through calls.

    As for phone numbers - I have asked this question of them as well, and this is not an issue.

    I see the biggest obstacle with this vendor as being the ability to integrate the data into the networks (SAS, CJ...) so the program managers don't' have to manually post the commissions...I am speaking with them about ways to resolve this issue

  16. #16
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    Hey Rolet,

    Yup sounds like a great solution. It's a lot like Chris' from earlier, but his eliminates the need for the 800#'s.

    All networks have a "batch" reporting feature that should simply the syndication of sales data. Just ask for the batch reporting and the network will know what you're referring to.

  17. #17
    Newbie Rolet's Avatar
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    I am more concerned with the feed from this vendor at this point - not sure it is compliant with the batch process...

    Chris didn't post publicly a solution (now I could just be totally missing it, but all i saw was a post telling you to contact him)b- Chris please share..........

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolet
    I am more concerned with the feed from this vendor at this point - not sure it is compliant with the batch process...
    Lol, yup, always a concern.

    Chris didn't post publicly a solution (now I could just be totally missing it, but all i saw was a post telling you to contact him)b- Chris please share..........
    Send him an email, he may have a reason for not posting it.

    -Mike

  19. #19
    Affiliate Network Rep Danny K's Avatar
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    At first all the considerable problems with email deliverability and customer compliance had me dismiss this method. If a unique URL is being generated for the email, can that be shown within their process to the csr and the completion method be voiced (providing it was kept simple enough to "jot" down by customer) before letting the customer off the phone? The email would then be an additional and optional supporting method of confirmation.

    I think this would also help justify the final step as a requirement. Although, I can appreciate the suggested requirement method, it is also a potential conversion threat when left exclusively to email.

    A beautiful topic dear to my heart. Just getting the code to show under an 800 number can be a long hurdle race for an affmgr of mutlichannel merch's.

    Suluta Rocks! Nice work.
    Last edited by Michael Nunez; January 16th, 2008 at 01:40 AM. Reason: Suluta Spelling.
    Danny K. - Network Administrator, Digital River- oneNetworkDirect.com, Email: dkautt@digitalriver.com

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolet
    Michael what if you could place code on the Merchant site that would generate a 1-800# specific to that affiliate, no need for the CSA to ask for a code as the phone number is affiliate specific, when the user called that number, it was dropped into a reporting interface that gave you the total sales amount by affiliate. The only thing the CSA has to do, in enter the sales amount after the call was completed (using the key pad on the phone), and the CSA was prompted by a recording after the user hung up to enter this information.
    This sounds pretty good, but from a merchant standpoint it seems there would need to be additional information tracked - such as the order number, in case something needed to be reversed.

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