Comparing English and Hispanic DR Contact Center Sales

Committee Corner
Greg Sarnow

Over the years, Allegro Response has had many opportunities to compare Hispanic direct response and contact center results with our clients’ English-speaking campaigns. These comparisons have led us to review key performance indicators (KPIs) on the front end, as well as the opportunity to listen to many English and Spanish calls for the same campaign, comparing call quality, key metrics, and agents’ soft skills. 

The purpose of this study is to show marketers effective data points that will help them manage vendors and make decisions on marketing to both English and Hispanic consumers. Some of the key findings of this comparison:

  • Conversion on English and Spanish calls is similar. (This is price sensitive. Higher ticket items impact conversion more in the Hispanic market, unless they are for health products and services). 
  • Revenue-per-order (RPO) for English calls is oftentimes 10-20 percent higher
  • The Hispanic market generally has a lower cost-per-call and cost-per-order, making up for the lower revenue-per-order. 
  • Only when calling, English and Hispanic buyers strongly prefer speaking to a salesperson for products that have continuity, soft offers, or risk-free trials. 
  • For risk-free trials, Hispanic consumers have a lower stick rate.
  • English callers accept IVR for simple products that are $59.99 or less. Generally speaking, Hispanic consumers strongly prefer a live agent. 
  • While many English DRTV campaigns consummate 50-75 percent of their orders on the web, the Hispanic web sales are closer to 5-10 percent. 
  • Hispanic customers do research on the web but as the percentages noted above indicate, mostly call if interested in purchasing regardless of the price.  

Analyzing calls gives valuable insight to marketers for both markets, including: 

  • Generally, the Hispanic call is 15-20 percent longer than an English call. 
    • The language is more formal and, therefore, it takes longer to say the same thing. 
    • Hispanic consumers ask many more questions and are traditionally more skeptical.
  • Hispanic consumers want to be sure the product will fulfill the promise made in the advertisements. 
  • While a very large percentage of the Hispanic demographic has debit cards, Hispanics take more care in using the cards. Often, their first reaction is to say, “I don’t have a card.”
  • English callers often come to the phone or the website with credit card in hand or close by. 
  • English callers often come to the phone or the website ready to buy. 
  • Hispanic consumers are often only comfortable making a purchase when a peer, family member, or trusted friend agrees with the purchase. 
  • Hispanics tend to expect the person they are communicating with to help them make the final decision. 
  • Sales agents are required to be very effective in sales to overcome the skepticism and typical questions Hispanic consumers ask.
  • The training process for successful Hispanic agents is far more lengthy and detailed than for an English agent.

Marketers often become disappointed when revenue-per-order for Hispanic sales is lower than their English results. Marketers can achieve better comparisons when working closely with the contact center to focus on upsells. This, however, is only possible when the sales experience and training of agents is a very high commitment of the center. 

One of the conclusions our data suggests is that near-shore, bilingual agents that have lived in the United States and have lived U.S. culture are more successful in both general and Hispanic sales than English-speaking-only agents. 

It is quite common that near-shore, bilingual agents: have a college degree; work with more sophisticated sales and customer service projects; and have lived in the U.S. and understand the culture, as well as having familiarity with DR.

Over the past 10 years, marketers selling in both the general and Hispanic markets have utilized vendors according to the market. This trend is changing as bilingual sales agents have a far more sophisticated sales training due to the challenges of achieving excellent results in the Hispanic community. Agents across several call centers indicate that they find it much easier to make a sale to the English-speaking consumer. While this does not impact campaigns that use IVR for English, having the proper opt-out choice for the consumer is becoming a necessity with stricter Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements. 

Working in both the general and Hispanic markets requires marketers to understand the behavioral style and the idiosyncrasies of each market to optimize results. But it is easier to do now than ever.