Normal Caller ID Not Good Enough? Here’s the Best Alternatives

Caller ID has been helping us screen calls from telemarketers, ex-partners, and overly chatty relatives since the late 1980s.

Nevertheless, spam callers keep finding new ways to get around it.

In fact, it’s gotten so bad that a prevailing opinion these days is to avoid picking up any call that doesn’t come from one of your contacts—and even new phones are coming out with stock features that can send unknown callers directly to voicemail.

But what if you miss an emergency call from someone at your kid’s school, or an important call from your doctor’s new office number?

For unpredictable reasons like these, many people continue to rely on traditional caller ID and its available alternatives to help keep unwanted calls at bay. 

Using Your Carrier’s Caller ID

Despite its shortcomings, traditional caller ID is still included in most modern phones and service plans these days.

Meanwhile, lower-tier plans from major providers and smaller or regional providers tend to offer base-level caller ID services that only show the number that’s calling. 

In an attempt to address the pitfalls of traditional caller ID, large cell providers are now offering enhanced caller ID services as part of their higher-tiered plans.

These services vary between carriers, but they generally offer a better caller ID database and more features to combat spam. Here’s an overview of what some of the major U.S. carriers offer:

Verizon: Verizon’s Call Filter is a service that identifies incoming callers by name and provides spam warnings. It also lets customers block unwanted calls.

AT&T: AT&T’s ActiveArmor service offers automatic fraud blocking and suspected spam warnings. Customers can also customize call-blocking settings based on their preferences.

T-Mobile: T-Mobile’s Scam Shield includes Scam ID and Scam Block features, which help customers identify and block potential scam calls.

Sprint: Sprint’s Premium Caller…

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5 Reasons Your Customers Hang Up During Your IVR Menu

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus are a quick and easy way to enhance the customer support experience that your company can offer over the phone. They allow callers to navigate through self-service menus by pressing numbers on their keypads or by speaking with an automated conversational response system. 

IVRs that are properly set up will spare customers the headache of enduring long, awkward wait times while also helping them find answers to their queries without the help of a human agent. 

“Properly set up” is the key phrase here, of course, because a half-baked menu can do more harm than good. In particular, a bad IVR may lead a call center to suffer from high call abandonment rates, which is a strong indication that it needs changes right away.

5 Reasons Your Customers Are Hanging Up (and What to Do About It)

1. Your IVR Menu Is Painfully Long

The problem:

An overly complex IVR menu can annoy or bore your customers so much that they decide to drop the call. This is obviously counterproductive, as IVR systems are meant to help customers fix their issues quickly.

Naturally, having a maze of menu options will do anything but that—especially if it forces customers to wait until the IVR finishes reading out every single menu option without giving them the option to skip ahead. 

Furthermore, if this happens on every single sub-menu as well, it can make customers feel like they’re in a never-ending nightmare—like Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day. 

The fix: 

No matter how tempting it is fill your IVR menu with endless options, just keep it simple. Ideally, your IVR system should include around three to five menu options, and its sub-menus should follow the same format.

Try to put your most popular menu items at…

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How to Copywrite – Get Insane Results as a Beginner

Copywriting can seem like a dark art. It’s not.

There’s a few, simple tricks that ALWAYS produce results. Get more sales, leads, and traffic just by changing a few words.

And these steps are simple enough for a complete beginner to use.

Look, if you follow each step in this list, you’ll be a better copywriter than 99% of marketers. I’ve worked with hundreds of marketers in my career, they’re almost all terrible at copywriting. So a little effort goes a LONG way.

They’re not complicated, they’re easy to remember, and anyone can act on them.

1. Focus on Headlines

Above all else, spend time on your headlines.

Years ago, I ran marketing for a SaaS company called KISSmetrics. For most of my tenure, I was responsible for the marketing lead quota. I ran hundreds of A/B tests on our marketing site and blog in order to hit those goals.

I quickly learned that the headline on our homepage could increase or drop free trial signups by 30%. A single sentence drove about a third of our free trials. No joke.

I’ve seen this over and over again. Headlines at key places in your marketing funnels have an enormous impact on your business:

  • The headline on your homepage
  • Subject lines in sales emails
  • The headline at the top of a key landing page or sales page
  • The headline of any major marketing campaign
  • Product description lines

I once did a series of conversion optimization teardowns at a conference of bootstrapped SaaS founders (MicroConf). For one woman, I told her to focus on the headline on her homepage. The next day, she came up to me and said that changing her headline doubled the conversion rate on her site overnight. One sentence literally doubled her business. That’s…

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When to Use Automatic Call Distribution (And When to Avoid It)

Automatic call distribution (ACD) is a technology used in call centers to distribute incoming calls evenly among customer service agents. ACD helps you make sure every calling customer is connected to an agent as quickly and efficiently as possible.

ACD might sound like a great idea for every type of call center, especially when you handle high volumes and a variety of complex metrics. However, it might not be so effective for a small team that only needs a receptionist or a simple interactive voice response (IVR) system. 

So, when should you use ACD and when are you better off with other options? 

ACD vs IVR: Mistakenly Interchangeable

A lot of people think these two solutions are one and the same. Actually, ACD technology is a complex way to automatically route incoming calls to the right agents, whereas an IVR system uses caller input to direct a call.

These technologies are used at different points in the call, too. ACD routes calls that are already connected, while IVRs are used for pre-call routing. Where an ACD system can use IVR technology, an IVR system does not necessarily need automatic call distribution.

That’s why an interactive voice response system is enough for a team that handles a low volume of calls. They don’t need the automatic distribution part—they just need a smart, easy, and customer-friendly way to route calls to the best agents.

A Closer Look at When ACD Makes Sense

There are plenty of situations where an ACD can come in very handy, such as:

  • When you manage high call volume. ACD ensures that your agents are being utilized to their fullest capacity by evenly distributing calls among them.
  • When your team handles complex, hard-to-classify issues. ACD can help you automatically direct customers to agents with very…

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Here’s When Website Breadcrumbs Actually Help Your Visitors

Similar to directory levels in an operating system, breadcrumbs are secondary navigational tools that help visiting users identify their current positions on websites, mobile applications, and even some offline systems.

A screenshot highlighting breadcrumbs on the Best Buy websiteA screenshot highlighting breadcrumbs on the Best Buy website

In a nutshell, breadcrumbs can help both search engines and human users find their way around your site, but it’s not always clear how important they are to include in your design. 

Technically, What Are Website Breadcrumbs?

The origin of this particular usage of breadcrumbs comes from an old fairy tale about a pair of siblings (aka Hansel and Gretel) dropping a trail of literal breadcrumbs to find their way back home after being left to fend for themselves in a scary forest at night.

Similar to those breadcrumbs, webpage breadcrumbs are used to illustrate a visitor’s journey back to a site’s homepage from whatever page they’re currently on. They provide a constant lifeline in case users ever get lost.

Typically, breadcrumb trails are positioned in a horizontal line just below the main navigation menu of a website, providing clickable links, clear whitespace, and text symbols to distinguish between the different steps along the trail.

Screenshot demonstrating the three levels of breadcrumbs on a pet medication website.Screenshot demonstrating the three levels of breadcrumbs on a pet medication website.

Today, nearly all popular operating systems with a graphical user interface (GUI) use some form of directory trail or breadcrumb navigation to make it easier for users to navigate through directories, folders, and files.

Screenshot of a GUI with a directory trailScreenshot of a GUI with...
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5 Cost-Cutting Call Center Workflows You Can Copy Right Now

Call center workflows can help you automate tasks, free up your agents’ time, stay financially lean, and ensure that customer inquiries are handled on time. 

However useful they may be, though, you don’t need a million workflows to get your call center going. Just the right ones.

Pro-Tips for Implementing the (Free) Workflows Below

First and foremost, you can grab any of the frameworks below as they are and start using them. However, every business is different, and yours will likely show particularities you need to integrate into your workflows. Take a bit of time to review and adjust each template.

One of the main reasons workflows are so helpful is because they connect different departments. Don’t limit them to just your Customer Care team, for instance.

Building a workflow for a call center means you have to align multiple platforms to ensure seamless communication with customers. Start by identifying your customer’s preferred platforms, whether it be traditional phone calls, emails, social media, or live chat. Then integrate them together so information flows freely across all touchpoints. This helps you make sure all customer communications are managed and tracked from one place.

Documenting everything is crucial, even the smallest changes. Without taking notes on what you’re doing or the changes you’re making to a workflow, you’re left with zero traceability and continuity. 

Make sure your entire team is trained, and regularly ask for their feedback. You want to fine-tune your processes to make sure they are up to date with customer demands, business changes, and shifts external to your business.

A mistake to avoid when using call center workflows is being too rigid. Your workflows should be a blueprint, not a robotic template. At the end of the day, every customer interaction is unique, and your team should know how…

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Can’t Find Clear IVR Pricing? These Estimates Will Help

The most basic hosted IVR plans can cost as little as $20 per user per month. For more advanced cloud-based IVR systems, prices can go up to several hundred dollars per user per month. On-premise IVR systems involve a larger upfront investment, ranging from $5,000 for the most basic setup to $100,000 or more for advanced systems. There are also ongoing maintenance costs to consider.

The key factors influencing call center IVR pricing are whether the system is on-premise or hosted, the number of users (with volume discounts often available), the number of phone lines or numbers required, the payment terms (annual versus monthly), and the specific features needed. For example, adding features such as advanced voice recognition and integration with proprietary systems will increase the cost.

We’ll cover pricing for these categories:

  • Outbound IVR
  • Inbound IVR
  • Hosted IVR
  • On-premise IVR

Keep in mind that these are ballpark figures to help you understand what to expect when it comes to IVR pricing. Actual costs can vary based on your specific requirements and your chosen vendor. 

The Most Common IVR Pricing Structures

Different IVR pricing structures cater to different business needs. Read on for a breakdown of the most common types of IVR pricing structures.

VoIP IVR Pricing

Many VoIP providers include IVR features in their call center plans. These are typically structured around monthly fees and vary from basic to advanced plans, calculated per user or per line. This option is ideal if you’re looking for a modern, internet-based solution that offers a variety of features. 

Hosted IVR Pricing

This is a popular choice for many small and medium-sized businesses due to its lower upfront costs and scalability. Hosted IVR solutions are cloud-based and involve a subscription-based pricing model. Hosted IVRs are an excellent…

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How to View Your Website on Mobile in 30 Seconds or Less

Ever wonder what your website looks like on a smartphone? There’s a simple way to do it even if you don’t have your phone handy. Use your computer. It’s easy to do and we’ll show you how.

And if you want to see the desktop view of your website on your phone? We’ll walk you through that, too. We’ll even show you the options for different ways to view your site using website builder tools.

Use Desktop Browser View to See the Mobile Version of Your Site

Popular browsers like Google Chrome and Safari have many semi-secret features that most casual users don’t know about. One of those is the ability to view the mobile version of a website from your desktop computer.

Why should you care? According to analytics firm Statista, nearly 60 percent of website traffic comes from people using mobile devices—and this doesn’t even include those using tablets. Knowing this, you can’t afford to give your mobile visitors a subpar experience.

If you have or manage a website, especially one with an ecommerce component, you want to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. The easiest way to identify issues is to see how your site looks when viewed on a smartphone. The more responsive your site, the better the visitor experience.

Every popular browser lets you see your site through the “eyes” of a mobile phone. While the interfaces vary among browsers, all make it easy to do. Let’s take a look at how this works in two of the most popular browsers, Google Chrome and Safari.

View your mobile site on Google Chrome desktop browser

Step 1 – Open the Inspect Element tool

There are four ways to access the Inspect Element tool in Google Chrome.

Option 1:…

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How To Add AdSense To Your Website

Let’s walk through the entire process, step by step.

From getting your website approved for AdSense, all the way to crossing the $100 payment threshold. 

That’s the first time hard cash will hit your account.

5 Steps to Add AdSense to Your Website

We’re going to show you what this looks like on a site we built on WordPress.

Don’t worry if you are not using WordPress. It’s going to be the same basic process regardless of the website builder you use.

Step 1: Verify Website Ownership

The first step is connecting your website to AdSense and proving to Google that you own it.

If you haven’t already, create a Google AdSense account.

You can create an account without a website, but we are assuming you have one.

Fill out all the information. Agree to the terms and conditions, and make sure your website domain information is correct.

Click Submit. 

This will prompt you to verify that you own the website.

Google Adsense website verification pageGoogle Adsense website verification page

There are three verification methods you can use. Each one relies on adding a small bit of code or text to the source code of your website.

Copy the AdSense code snippet, Ads .txt snippet, or Meta tag,and paste it into your site as directed.

We used the “AdSense code snippet” to verify our WordPress site, which Google told us we should place:

  • Between the tags
  • On each page of our site

Okay, great. So where is this head section to paste the code?

It depends on your WordPress theme, but it’s usually pretty easy to find. Some common places to look in the WordPress admin panel:

  • Theme Settings > Header Settings

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Use These 4 IVR Best Practices to Avoid Customer Hang Ups

When it comes to keeping customers on the line, there are four key call center IVR (Interactive Voice Response) practices that make a real difference. These practices are vital because they address common reasons why customers hang up—and can help you prevent customer hangups in the future. We’ll break down these four practices, explaining what they are and why they’re effective, and we’ll give you the exact steps to start implementing them in your call center.

4 IVR Best Practices That Stop Customer Hang Ups

1. Make It Easy To Reach a Live Agent

What it is: With this strategy, you provide an option within your IVR menu that allows customers to bypass automated responses and speak with a human agent.

Why it prevents hang ups: Technology is great, but sometimes customers want to talk to a real person. According to a retail communication report by First Orion, more than half of U.S. consumers prefer phone calls for complicated issues, underscoring the importance of human support in customer service.

By offering a live agent option, you’re there for customers who want a more personal touch or don’t like dealing with automated menus. This can be particularly helpful for complex or sensitive situations. 

And again, some customers just don’t want to interact with an automated system, no matter how well it’s set up. Giving them an option to speak to a rep will go a long way in keeping them happy.

How to implement it: To set this up, include an option in your IVR menu, such as “Press 0 to speak to a customer service agent.” Make sure your system is programmed to quickly reroute these calls to an available customer service representative. You should also keep an eye on how many calls go to your…

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