DRMA Spotlight - Dial800: Cracking the Code19 Feb, 2013 By: Thomas Haire
Scott Richards, CEO of Los Angeles-based Dial800, doesn’t hesitate when asked how the company earned recognition as part of the prestigious Inc. 5000 for the second consecutive year.
“We want to give tremendous thanks to all of the people in the direct response business who work with us and support us,” he says. “They’ve trusted us with their business, and they are why we’re on the Inc. 5000. They’re why we’re adding new employees. Without them, we’re nothing.”
A company with more than two decades of success under its belt, Dial800 provides marketing optimization tools to help marketers increase leads and sales. The Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) member, helmed by Richards and James Diorio, chief operating officer, just enjoyed its second consecutive year of expansive growth. “The marketplace is embracing the value that Dial800 brings,” Diorio says. “We had 22-percent growth in 2012, and it’s the second year in a row we’ve had that kind of growth — in a down economy.”
Both Diorio and Richards say that the company’s position as a provider of memorable 800 numbers, call tracking, call routing and unified data reporting has put it in a special position in the DR space. “Clients may come to us for one thing, but there’s a much greater value proposition,” Diorio says. “What they find is that they get a toolkit they can use to collaborate with their partners or their sister companies. The reality is, if anyone in the chain doesn’t succeed, that chain isn’t going to work.”
Richards agrees. “Today, the margins are so thin in DR. Before, when you had so much cake, everyone could eat all they want and they didn’t care about the crumbs left on the floor. But, nowadays, if Dial800 helps you get all those crumbs off the floor, it could make the difference between a non-profitable campaign and a profitable one.”
While much of Dial800’s initial push into the DR space was centered on RapidRecall — its ability to provide marketers with better, more memorable 800 numbers for its customers to respond to — the company has wowed a number of clients with its ability to enhance campaigns with its AccuRoute call routing solution and CallView360° call tracking platform.
“The numbers are the backbone of our business,” Diorio says. “But what’s been great this year is how we’ve evolved in our tracking and routing solutions. AccuRoute takes all the knowledge we have in the routing world and makes it easy for our clients. People will only work with a technology if it’s easy.”
Behind all of that technology is a base that features a pair of “mutually redundant” data centers in Los Angeles and Dallas that are online 24/7, according to Diorio, whose technological expertise has been crucial to expanding the power of Dial800’s solutions for DR marketers, media agencies and call centers.
“He built a couple of companies in technology,” Richards says. “He’s managed full tech staffs, and his whole background is in technology design. The infrastructure of technology is extremely important to him and to the people he’s brought in.”
The company’s commitment to technology solutions that are easy to use is part of its perceived strategic advantage over what Diorio calls a group of “really solid competitors.” But Richards defines what he sees as the big difference for those using Dial800’s array of solutions.
“They can route calls, and we can route calls. But, with our 800 numbers, we’ll give you more calls to route,” he says. “There’s nobody else out there that can make that claim — or even tries to make that claim.”
That makes collaborating with others in the industry easier. “Collaboration is only possible based on the integration of the individual technologies in each individual company,” Diorio says. “We’re called on often to streamline. If we’re working with a call center, we’ll be called on by a media agency to make sure everything is working well. We’ve worked hard to make it as simple as possible for them to integrate with each other.”
With the company debuting version 2.0 of its CallView360° platform in January, that opportunity for industry-wide collaboration on campaigns is growing. “CallView360° 2.0 isn’t an addition to the first version,” Richards says. “We built the house again, from the absolute foundation. It’s a quantum leap — people have never seen anything this advanced in call tracking.”
Diorio adds, “It all starts with understanding your call volume. We have tons of ways to slice and dice that data — time of day, day of week, source, destination, result, sale, etc. That’s a key part of call tracking. We’ve also enhanced it, so working in conjunction with call routing, everything is seamless and integrated.”
The system is also enhanced thanks to a deal Dial800 made to incorporate a GUI interface into COREMedia Systems’ DR media tracking platform, which gives media buyers uniform call center data.
“Its almost impossible to generate three- or four-to-one MERs today. And when you’re just hoping to get close to a break even on a continuity program on the front end, marketers are looking deeper under the covers,” Richards says. “They’re saying, ‘We have to look at some demographics. We have to listen to these calls. We have to find out what we can do to make this piece better.’ Our toolset enables them to do that.”
Richards is even more strident in his description. “The difference between customer service and concierge is that customer service is reactive and concierge is proactive. If a client has a problem, they call and you try to solve their problem — that’s customer service. A concierge will analyze their accounts and try to see where there are opportunities to tighten up and to optimize what they’re doing. Then we take a proactive approach to the client.”
That kind of proactive approach has served Dial800 well, and the company is committed to continuing down that path. “The response we’ve had in this industry has been great. We’ve worked hard to clarify our value proposition,” Diorio says. “But it’s only because it’s been received by the marketplace that we’ve been able to enjoy these gains. In 2013, the goal is to continue to do great by our clients — and the industry.” ■