from the front line: Help For Your Web Site

I Came across an interesting statistic regarding the use of Web sites as an order-placing tool. According to Forester Research [Cambridge, Mass.], 60 percent of all Web site visitors who start a form online never complete it.

So, once again I went on my 'browser trip,' to see what, if anything, in the e-commerce market had recently been invented to would ensure my Internet customers were not going to be part of that 60 percent. And, sure enough, I came across WebCallback (www.webcallback.com), which promised to prevent this kind of abandonment by adding their WebCallback button to my site.

One of the buttons on their site is labeled 'Please Call Me!,' so I did. By entering my phone number in the appropriate box, I received a call in less than 12 seconds from Sam Murray, the sales and marketing VP at Global Phone Corp., located in Falls Church, Va. Sam gave me a 'phone tour' of their product, stressing that one of the primary benefits of utilizing the service was to provide immediate help to the customer by putting the phone call directly to a person who can help.

The scenario of using their product goes as follows:

  1. The user clicks the WebCallback link, enters his/her phone number and clicks a button.
  2. The link immediately triggers a call to a specific number at your company. (Up to five internal numbers may be included in the search).
  3. Your sales representative answers, and a GlobalPhone recording informs them they are being connected to a Web site visitor.
  4. Your company representative and your customer are immediately conferenced together. All of the in an average time span of 12 seconds.

GlobalPhone uses a 'least cost routing' system, which automatically finds the least expensive route for calls, and then places them through fiber-optic/satellite lines. Domestic calls are only 8.45 cents per minute. Since two calls are actually placed, a WebCallback call costs 16.9 cents per minute.

I was most impressed by the ease of implementation of their product. Sam informed me that the installation of their software product took an average of five minutes and can be performed online from their Internet site. Once you fill out the online application, you are provided with a selection of call buttons (GIF images of telephones) to host on your site and a unique Web address to hyperlink it to. If you are not satisfied with the standard call form and want complete artistic or programmatic control over the forms, you can create your own.

Some of the other reasons Sam felt their product was a 'must,' included…

  • Human contact. The human voice is still the most powerful sales tool.
  • Security. Giving hesitant customers the sense their credit information is not going to be compromised.
  • Overcoming user frustration. Bad links, slow servers and tricky-to-navigate sites may frustrate a new customer.
  • Call direction. Clients can talk directly to the specific department.

"WebCallback is just an early form of using the Internet to communicate by voice. We are quickly seeing the successes in many of our clients of new business and contacts through WebCallback buttons they have installed. Boomerang Software (www.boomerangsoftware.com) and Legal Advice Line (www.legaladviceline.com) each have a good amount of traffic on their sites, and it is growing each month."

GlobalPhone is adding several new features to its service this month. Users with a single phone line will soon have the option to delay calls until they have finished browsing and have freed their phone line. Also, when Internet site offices are closed, GlobalPhone can send calls to a different phone number, take an e-mail message, or send calls to GlobalPhone voice mail. The voice mail will then be delivered when the office re-opens.

Here is some other food for thought. Do not wait until Voice over IP has all the technology perfect, or you will have brought thousands of potential clients to your site and lost them without WebCallback working for you. What’s a client worth? The average WebCallback call is around $0.85 (five minutes). Pretty cheap compared to the costs of most sites. And they are already through your site and anxious to move forward with the sales process, whatever that may be.

Bob Lewis is VP of IT at the FoodService Purchasing Cooperative Inc. (Louisville, Ky.). He can be reached at bob_lewis@fspc.com.