An Old Dog Learns a New Trick: How to Drive Phone Leads from Your Web Site

This guest post is written by John Federman, the CEO of eStara, a leading click-to-call company.

Remember the golden age of e-commerce when the entire industry leaned almost exclusively on internet self-help tools to address their customer service? Finding a 1-800 on a Website was next to impossible. The problem with this singular reliance is simple: consumers shy away from large or complex online purchases if they are not 100% certain about their expenditure. One issue, however insignificant, can spook the potential customer, resulting in Website abandonment and great dissatisfaction.

Anyone reading the business trade pubs this past week has no doubt seen the news about Google and eBay partnering to offer click to call service to online merchants, thus opening the promise of online advertising to an audience who may have avoided it in the past due to the complexity of their transactions or lack of a web presence. This partnership signifies the growing need for online merchants to connect with potential buyers over the phone. However, click to call offers much more than just a connection between buyers and sellers. When used strategically, click to call can increase sales conversion, reduce site abandonment and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Google and eBay are not the first to discover the customer service benefits of offering potential buyers instant phone connection to an online merchant. Major companies like Sears and Jenny Craig have been using click to call solutions to provide better service and improve customer loyalty. Because it is IP-based, click to call has the potential to erase the usual customer frustration of having to start a transaction over when the they transition from the web to a phone conversation. And, it could help reduce the need for customers to wade through “IVR hell” to speak to the right agent.

Customer-oriented companies have found that by offering click to call rather than a static toll-free number, they can ensure a continuity of customer experience by transferring information about the customer and the context of their online session directly to the call center at the time of call initiation. With click to call, call center software can be configured to display this information directly on the agent’s desktop screen, or it can use the incoming data values to trigger lookups into the company’s own databases to retrieve related details (customer records, purchase history, billing information, etc.)

Some companies may be concerned about the added cost of taking calls rather than allowing customers to complete transactions online, but what if the customer has a question or just isn’t comfortable purchasing online? Wouldn’t it benefit companies to offer these kinds customers a chance to speak to a live agent and thus complete the transaction?

A recent study by Jupiter Research found that for high-value, complex transactions, most customers still prefer live voice interaction over other methods of contact, including e-mail, text chat and FAQs. Ironically, the future of customer service isn’t a fancy new technology; in fact, it’s one of the oldest tools in existence: the human voice.

The fact is that the kinds of products and services that can be found online are becoming more and more complex. We’re not just buying books on Amazon or EBay anymore; we’re buying TVs, Cars and Boats. For these kinds of interactions, consumers have traditionally shown that they’re more comfortable researching online and buying offline. Click to call service bridges that gap.

This guest post was written by John Federman of eStara, a leading provider of proactive conversion solutions for enhancing online sales. Mr. Federman’s worked with companies such as, Dell, Sears and Verizon to improve online customer service and sales. To learn more, visit or call 1-866-4ESTARA.

If you have an idea for a guest writer, feel free to post the person or company’s name, web site, etc. in the comments section.

2 Responses to “An Old Dog Learns a New Trick: How to Drive Phone Leads from Your Web Site”

  1. Service Untitled » Customer Service Profiles:, Printing for Less, and Starbucks said:

    Sep 08, 06 at 12:12 pm

    […] A downside to Amazon is that it is very difficult to find their phone number. Not too long ago they added a click-to-call button on their customer service page (which works). Their system almost always work (which is very important) and Amazon very rarely messed up. […]

  2. Service Untitled » Cutting back on phone support. - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Feb 08, 07 at 12:28 pm

    […] Offer call backs. Call backs have a lot advantages. Some of them are discussed here in a guest writer post on Service Untitled. They allow a little bit of pre-screening for calls, save money, and are easier to limit. […]