Click to Call: Turning Online Lookers into Bookers
By Cid Jenkins Vice President, ATG's eStara | January 27, 2012
Despite dramatic growth in online bookings over the last decade, many hospitality companies continue to struggle with delivering quality customer experience online. The Internet can be a double-edged sword for hotel owners. It presents potential travelers with easy access to products and services, but it also gives them an incentive to look elsewhere for a better deal. It's important for hospitality companies to establish brand loyalty with online travelers and lessen the chances of Web site abandonment. According to Forrester Research, 47 percent of those who research their travel plans online don't actually complete their travel arrangements online.
Online travelers generally abandon Web sites because they have pricing issues or technical support issues. During the infancy of e-commerce, many online travel and hospitality companies felt they could address these concerns by providing prospective customers with self-service tools, such as FAQs. However, with more complex sales, like making hotel reservations or booking travel packages, companies are beginning to understand they need to be more effective at securing, supporting and retaining their online customers.
To do this, many companies are turning to click to call technology. Click to call lets users click an HTML button embedded on a Web site, e-mail, banner ad, search engine or online directory listing, and immediately launches an automated call between the consumer and the contact center.
Overview: What is Click to Call?
Click to call services integrate web-based channels with contact centers by allowing customers to initiate live voice conversations with customer service representatives. Using VoIP technology, customers have the option to escalate from site browsing, search or research to conversation, either directly through their PCs, or by immediate callback to a mobile or landline phone. Because the service operates in a fully-hosted model, calls are routed to customer service representatives without any additional investment in call center hardware or software.
Companies are getting smarter about Web visitors, and are taking aggressive steps to optimize every visit in order to maximize sales conversion, increase customer loyalty and reduce website abandonment. Click to call provides the ability to track online sessions, detect trends and provide a dynamically placed assist if a prospect has lingered on a single page for a specified amount of time, or exhibited signs of website abandonment. This data garnered from a customer's online browsing can be viewed on its own, or integrated with existing data sources for a complete view of the customer and a seamless, online transaction experience.