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E-commerce Meets Voice: Click-to-Call Transforms Online Customer Service
[June 25, 2007]

E-commerce Meets Voice: Click-to-Call Transforms Online Customer Service


TMCnet Associate Editor
 
Customers generally cite a pretty simple recipe when describing companies they’re loyal to: respectful customer service delivered in a timely manner. All too often, from the customer perspective, the use of interactive voice response (IVR) systems raises hackles right from the get-go. Yet companies like IVR because it helps them streamline the time-consuming and costly process of serving their customers.
 
So how can companies keep costs down without alienating their customers? Since more and more customers are now making purchases and seeking assistance via the Web, it makes sense for companies to consider this new channel. Especially when coupled with voice, the Web is a particularly powerful customer service channel.
 
Some companies already have begun to offer Web-based chat as a way to access customer service. This is a step in the right direction, but doesn’t close the gap completely; chat often can’t offer the privacy and responsiveness that customers demand. To truly leverage this new channel, companies need to tie together voice conversation with e-commerce.
 
This new recipe is called click-to-call. It involves technology that lets customers initiate phone calls by clicking a button on a Web page. This either launches a call to a sales or service rep using PC-based phone, or places a request for callback on a traditional phone line. This functionality adds a whole new layer of flexibility and timeliness to customer service.
 
Perhaps best of all from the company perspective is the fact that click-to-call does not require abandoning existing PSTN infrastructure to set up this new service channel. Existing infrastructure can, with a modern click-to-call solution added, be integrated seamlessly with the company’s online presence.
 
Companies that have installed click-to-call solutions are discovering the power of this new channel to address a paradox in the e-commerce world, namely that customers use the Internet to locate products and services but usually opt to buy these items offline. Click-to-call closes this gap, letting buyers move easily between phone and Internet channels in one, unbroken session. For the customer, this offers immediacy and the human touch of voice combined with the convenience of online shopping.
 
Click-to-call is a great way for companies to increase sales conversion, reduce abandonment, enhance customer satisfaction, and create more productive calls—all without having to abandon their previous technology and marketing investments.
 
Not convinced yet? One sure way to see the benefits of click-to-call is examine how other companies have fared when using this new technology. In a recent white paper, eStara decided to present several such examples. The company included in the paper three case studies showing how several companies—Jenny Craig, Kimpton Hotels and DaimlerChrysler—are using click-to-call for customer service and e-commerce.
 
These companies said that click-to-call helped them win customers and create new revenue opportunities, all while catering to customer preference for assistance through the voice channel. To read these case studies for yourself, click here to access eStara’s white paper.
 
Mae Kowalke previously wrote for Cleveland Magazine in Ohio and The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. To see more of her articles, please visit Mae Kowalke’s columnist page. Also check out her Wireless Mobility blog.


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