In an age where it seems almost everyone communicates primarily by text messages or social media apps, T.J. Frevert has noticed an emerging trend.
“Phone calls are becoming more important, not less important,” said Frevert, vice president of product and technology at Callcap, a conversation analytics company based in Wichita.
“If someone is going to take the time to actually call you, you better answer the phone, you better handle that,” Frevert said. “That is such high intent” to call.
Callcap has developed customized systems to help clients sift through calls, whether it deals with someone unhappy with the cost of a service or displeased that a technician didn’t show up on time. Callcap can “score” those calls in “near-real time,” Frevert said, allowing the client to respond quickly to the caller’s needs.
“Being from the Midwest, we wondered, ‘Is this too ‘Big Brother’? Is it going to be an uncomfortable situation?’” Frevert said. “But it hasn’t been. People are so happy that someone was actually paying attention and they’re calling to resolve a problem.”
Some of their happiest clients are service providers such as heating and air conditioning firms or disaster recovery professionals. If someone’s air conditioning goes out in the heat of summer or their basement’s flooding and you are able to take care of it quickly in a professional manner, “you’ve got a customer for life,” Frevert said.
“It’s great for brand reputation, once you get a customer in that way,” he said. “It’s less expensive to keep a current customer than to try to acquire a new one.”
A happy customer’s word-of-mouth is still the best marketing a company could have, Frevert said.
This Call May Be Monitored
Callcap was founded in 2002 as a call-tracking company specializing in helping clients determine where their customers were coming from. By putting unique phone numbers in phone books, on the side of vehicles, postcard mailers and websites, Callcap could provide detailed breakdowns on “what’s driving customers to call us,” Frevert said. “They can optimize their marketing budgets based on those results.”
That soon morphed into customers wanting more: they wanted to know what was being said in those calls, so Callcap developed a way to record calls.
Then clients wanted to know which calls actually led to sales, but they didn’t have time to listen to all of them. Callcap developed call monitoring.
“You’ve probably heard it on some calls – ‘This call may be monitored,’” Frevert said.
Some businesses use it for training purposes, while others may use it for liability protection.
The greatest value, he said, is helping businesses identify leads for new business or responding to unhappy customers in a timely fashion to resolve their issues.
“That’s what I’m still, every day, excited about: We’re going to help businesses deliver better experiences and do it in a way that makes them more money along the way,” Frevert said.
Callcap was a bootstrap company, growing as revenues allowed.
“We had started to look for investment to step on the gas and grow quickly,” Frevert said.
Over the course of that search, company officials met a team from Marchex, a Seattle-based company that, like Callcap, specializes in call tracking and analytics.
Marchex acquired Callcap in late 2018, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.
“They liked what we were doing,” Frevert said. “They told us to keep doing what we were doing. It’s been great for us.”
Marchex and Callcap were competitors for a lot of years.
“It was exciting to join forces and become one of the largest call analytics companies in the nation,” Frevert said.
Trevor Caldwell, senior vice president for strategic initiatives and investor relations at Marchex, said Callcap has been a great fit because their focus is on call monitoring and analytics for more than a dozen industries – including home services, health care, automotive and telecommunications.
“These areas of focus are important to Marchex and we’ve found during the past year that Callcap has an innovative team that really is customer-centered, making them a strong cultural fit with Marchex,” Caldwell said.
A good example of the synergy between Marchex and Callcap, Caldwell said, is the recent launch of Marchex Sales Edge, a product suite utilizing artificial intelligence that enables businesses to understand customer conversations in real time and at scale to optimize the sales process and win more business.
“It was exciting to join forces and become one of the largest call analytics companies in the nation,”– TJ Frevert
“Callcap is contributing a great deal to what Marchex does on this front, as their technology powers complex, custom evaluations of millions of calls each month, providing deep insights into consumer and business conversations,” Caldwell said.
Deep knowledge of consumer intent is key to delivering a personalized experience and engaging with customers at critical moments of their buying journey, he said.
Still Growing in Wichita
Often, companies that are acquired by a competitor see cuts in employment. But the opposite has happened for Callcap.
“We’re still growing in Wichita,” Frevert said.
Employment stood at 25 early in 2018 and has doubled in 2019.
“We’ve got good talent” in Wichita, Frevert said. “That gets overlooked.”
It is one reason why Callcap became a charter member of FlagshipKansas.Tech.
Author Credits | Stan Finger | @StanFinger | Stan is an award-winning journalist who twice earned nominations for the Pulitzer Prize over the course of a distinguished career at the Wichita Eagle. A native Kansan who grew up on a farm in central Kansas, Finger has also written two books: Into the Deep, a look at the deadly flash flood in the Flint Hills in 2003, and the novel Fallen Trees.
Image Credits | Fernando Salazar | @fsalazar58 Amazing photojournalist. Okay, we said that because he’s so humble, but seriously, look at his incredible work!