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Click to talk - would you pay?
I want to offer this service, input please
wayzel




msg:632538
 12:05 am on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great forum everyone:

With so many people using PPC these days....

what do you guys/gals think about click to talk services? I am trying to gauge market interest before I go build this thing.

It would be a hosted service button similar to the live chat/assistance buttons in use these days. Ideally, it would be placed on the shopping cart or product info pages. When clicked, it would ask for the customer's phone number. They enter it and choose a time delay from a pulldown menu (such as, "call me now, call me in 3 minutes, etc.) and then click on a "submit" type button. The customer then receives a phone call (not PC call,) and as soon as they pick up, they are connected for free to the ecommerce / business owner's phone number of choice. This is a live person to person connection.

The website owner could set-up filters for their buttons. So, they could say, "don't send me calls after 5pm, or if this button on the blue widgets is clicked, send that call to the blue widgets specialist in my company. "

Do you think this would be a useful tool? Would people buy such a service? What do you think it is worth...$10, $20, $40 a month with a bundle of minutes? What if we threw in a free toll-free number as part of the package? What if we charged 5 or 7 cents per minute flat? The business, not the customer, pays for the service. They could create an unlimited number of buttons. They could also set it up to accept international calls if they wanted.

Looking forward to everyone's feedback! Thanks.

 

KevinC




msg:632539
 12:43 am on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

kind of interesting - but why as a E-commerce site owner would I not just have a toll Free number?

Not to mention - as a consumer I would be more inclined to call a toll free number as opposed to giving a company my home phone number. I would be afraid they would put me on a list an hit me unsolicited sales calls.

that may just be me though.

fabfurs




msg:632540
 12:47 am on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ok! I'll play devils advocate.

Why would my ecom site be better served by using your proposed service. I currently offer my client a 1-800 number to dial which cost me only 0.06 per minute and if I call him back (when it looks like a hard sell) cost me 0.00 to 0.02 per minute on a national toll plan.

Don't get me wrong your service will work because the concept is in use now on some of the big ecom sites. It could be very easy to setup on a small site, a form poping off a message to an in-house operator during business hours who initiates the call.

I think that you might need to round the product off by including the actual call-center service so that you can actually build in $ for the valued-added service.

Keep on working the idea.

wayzel




msg:632541
 12:56 am on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just to clarify, the part where the customer gets called back happens automatically. From the business's end, they just pick up their phone when it rings and their customer is waiting to speak to them on the other end. Maybe there is an optional "press 1 to accept this call" message.

a_chameleon




msg:632542
 4:06 pm on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

There's an intrinsic value to this service (IMHO), wayzel -that in my mind supports the idea 100%, although these services aren't as popular yet as they should be..

How many of us have called a co. from the "Contact Us" page, wanting specific info not presented/unclear on the site, and had to 'drill down' 5,6, even up to 8 or 9 levels to get a human on the phone? And the process took several mintes, at least?

Does this sound familiar? I call my insurance company, to get a claim progress update, and had to "inform" the system
a) Whether this a new or exisitng claim, b) whether this was a personal or auto claim, c) whether this as a "PIP" or property damage claim d)Was anyone injured? before I was allowed to speak to a person.

Forget pressing "0", this just drove me back to the top menu level, and the system didn't even give me the usual shortcut "If you're calling from a rotary dial phone, please hold for.."!

W/ CTT, I'd have gotten a callback frokm a human, who'd have 1} Already had the claim no. and details in fromnt of them and 2} was calling for one reason only.

Or, how about this little ditty?

"We're presently experiencing highre than normal call volumes... Your expected wait time ia X minutes..?

I feel that click-to-talk would well serve a *lot* of e-Commerce businesses

:)

wayzel




msg:632543
 6:39 pm on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks Chameleon for your input. I agree completely. Getting the claim number would be pretty complex to implement, but at least if you are deep into their website, logged into your account, etc...the click to talk button visible there would be programmed to connect you to the right person, not the general menu system.

I just wonder, do you think this service would be an easy sell to ecommerce site owners/admins? For some reason there is a lot of live chat out there but not much like Click to talk.

HughMungus




msg:632544
 10:28 pm on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

As someone who runs a phone-based web service (though not one like your concept), I can empathize with your interest in providing the service.

However, I would bet that any company that can afford or is willing to pay $X per minute or even for the service you're offering would already have a toll-free number. Part of the problem with a setup like this is that some consumers will use a service just because it's free. So what happens is your clients would be getting connected for calls that people could have more easily and effectively used email for.

There was a thread about just such a service here on this forum somewhere. You might do a search. Hate to give you negative feedback on the idea but I just don't think the benefits are strong enough to displace existing systems.

Compworld




msg:632545
 10:32 pm on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

A Company already beat you to it. Hearme Technology had this technology back at the turn of the century. Tried to turn a free service to a paid service, they went bankrupt. Choose another field.

CompWorld

wayzel




msg:632546
 11:32 pm on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

The negative feedback is fine and realistic, but, I'll play devil's advocate.

Everyone on the boards seems to love toll free numbers...rightfully so. But, they have limitations (IMHO.) They don't point to specific employees so customers can get frustrated by the press 1, 2, 1, routine. Also, they can't be used from overseas, and that's a problem for many businesses in travel, tourism, banking, wholesale, etc. Click to talk could cost the same as toll-free, about 6 cents per minute in the US. In fact, one might as well bundle it with a toll-free number and give away the click to talk as a free-add on. Toll Free lines only cost a few bucks a month anyway.

Estara Solutions (on the Nasdaq) provides click to talk to Continental Airlines, JCrew, etc, and they have made a viable business out of PAID service. (Expensive paid service, at that.) But, mom and pop ecommerce sites might think click to talk is pointless. I don't know. They aren't on the big player's hotlist...maybe they've done their homework. Alternatively though, maybe businesses that have a global target and are willing to pay the dime a minute that call might cost would think its worth it because they could potentially book their empty $150 hotel room, land that that specialty international widget order, or what have you.

I think a strong argument can be made for an ROI on this. If you spent $10 at 6 cents per minute, you would have potentially spoken to dozens and dozens of leads. If you put the button on the right parts of your site, you can help make them more targeted leads. Or just point it to voicemail. If they are interested, maybe a few leave a message for more info about your widgets.

hotwheel




msg:632547
 11:28 am on Jan 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

This idea is a $30 dollar mouse trap (I'll spare you the business case).

People want simple and familiar toll-free numbers...sure instant phone connections may be a better product, but it doesn't make it a marketable product.

a_chameleon




msg:632548
 4:16 pm on Jan 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a lot of background in speech reco., so I may not be as objective as most; I can't help but wonder if CTT isn't as popular as it should be because Johhny Lunchbucket doesn't believe it really works.

For instance, I have a huge retailer / e-Commerce corp. customer, and they use offer this service on their site.
(Their provider calls it "Push to Talk" and it's callback feature "click to call"). They don't get near as much from the actual CTT as they do the request-a-callback, but they do sing it's praises. (sticky me & I'll give you details and some co's to talk to).

Johnny Lunchbucket probably isn't going to be easily convinced to don a headset or begin speaking into his desktop mike any time soon IMHO and it's because public opinion of voice Tx/Rcv across PC's is less than glowing - most average users have no faith in such unless they're IP Telephone users and are already familiar with the process.

;)

Perhaps when Longhorn rolls out in '05 and MS endorses and exhorts it's millions to utilize the built-in speech reco. will the public have "faith".. I dunno. Even though most PC's now will support very, very good recognition (provided they have decent onboard soundchips/soundcards) Johnny Lunchbucket doesn't know this and still holds to the outdated reputation speech reco. gathered in early days, when it didn't work all that well.

I think another stumbling block is companies that offer these services haven't evangelized it well - plus a lot of venerable webmasters are mired in doubt as to what's necessary server-side to support it, which ain't really all that much. Many will whine about the bandwidth/network resources they believe it will hog, when in fact it isn't all that much with today's highly evolved compression algorithms; nonetheless the larger providers host it anyway, and take all the fuss from the client.

Do I think it's a sellable product.. Yes. Absolutely. But I'm a professional salesperson dealing in the marketplace you'd be selling in, and can guarantee you it's not a 'wham-bam-thank you maam sell'; there's a decent amount of setup, trialing and remember - as with all sales to e-Commerce or site-based firms, you've got to sell 3 departments to get a check: IT or IT/Telco and then usually marketing, but always finance; they'll want to interrogate over ROI, does it improve AHT/AWT, how much will the corp. spend on training CSR's to use it, etc., etc.

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