Click-to-Callback Eases Multichannel Operations

Jul 28, 2005 1:43 AM  By

Your Web sales are doing great, but like many retailers, you’re also seeing many of your customers doing their research online, then ordering the product by phone—overloading your call center and pushing up operating costs. A simple technical solution can alleviate this problem, according to a report by Forrester Research Inc. analyst Bob Chatham.

In his report, Chatham advocates using click-to-callback to hand off Web customers to phone agents. “Low cost, simple technology, and organizational ease make click-to-callback a must-have for any significant multichannel business,” he writes. All that the customer has to do is enter his contact information online to receive a call from the company he wishes to contact. The trickier click-to-call, or click-to-talk, involves placing an inbound call to a firm through the user’s PC by means of a voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connection. The callback method, by contrast, does not require IP or other advanced applications; instead, it taps into existing telephony infrastructure. Chatham lists other key advantages of the technology:

It requires few new skills or training. Click-to-callback allows existing agents to do what they’re already good at: talking on the phone. The only new skills they need to learn are handling the Web applications that customers use and the technology required to push URLs to the customer’s browser.

Click-to-callback can be adapted for VoIP. Although few customers today use VoIP for phone service, it’s a market slated for steady growth.

The technology increases cross-channel conversion rates. Chatham cites the case of Dell Financial Services, whose implementation of click-to-callback resulted in a 55% online verification and conversation rate for credit applicants—at a cost of little more than $1 per call. Before installing the technology, the lender was losing about 90% of approved but unverified applicants.

Customer value and call center load are balanced. A marketer can control a click-to-callback button’s availability based on resources or customer profile, thereby easing the phone agents’ workload.

The cross-channel experience becomes seamless. Click-to-callback allows Web programmers to pass a case ID or other context variables to the CTI (computer telephony integration) layer of a firm’s contact center. Even agents without Web access can obtain customer information through a screen pop and push pages to customers.

Click-to-callback is measurable. The act of clicking a button and placing a call request is a Web event that firms can easily track with Web analytics packages so they can accurately measure the influence of all channels.

For more information, visit http://www.forrester.com.