Online retailers have call to action elements down to a science with a “Buy Now” or similar button, and a check out process on their site, capturing the business when the visitor is online and most receptive. Online retailers know exactly how motivate or guide a viewer to engage in the easiest and fastest way possible—with only a click of a button. Retailers also know that an effective call to action is measurable so they know what is working on the website and what is not. This way they can change the call to action to help improve click through rates and increase revenue.
Creating an effective call to action is not exclusive to online retailers. Service organizations can learn from online retailers by deploying call to action elements on a website. Many service businesses focus on the design of the site and the information about the product or service—believing that the visitor will call or email if interested. This passive approach offers limited long term success.
Online visitors to service businesses are similar to online visitors to retail sites. They want the same level of responsiveness as they receive from retailers. They want immediate attention, fast follow-up and most of all, a sense of closure that their need has been fulfilled. Creating a call to action for clients to engage and close the deal is also easier than you may think.
There are a myriad of call to action elements available to encourage client engagement with service businesses. A widget can be easily added to a website, allowing the visitor to call the business. The visitor just clicks the button (similar to a “Buy Now” button) and a call can be made via the Internet (VoIP). Often online calling systems leverage Skype or another proprietary online “phone” system to complete the call. These systems provide a virtual contact center and can be effective in delivering immediate service.
Unfortunately, not everyone wants to have a live phone conversation, which is why some businesses deploy a chat or instant messaging tool. Chat has pluses and as many minuses. For a small business, a chat tool can create an immediate communication channel with a client. Businesses can also avoid paying international long distance charges associated with a telephone call. Chat is easy to use and can be a great vehicle for online engagement.
Conversely, file sharing in chat can dangerous if you come across an Internet criminal or hacker. An open port on your desktop can invite the delivery of viruses and spyware. Chat conversations can also be hacked or an impersonator can initiate a chat and potentially obtain sensitive information. A chat can also keep a small business owner chained to a desk typing out answers to inquiries or customer service issues. Chat can be 24/7 or have scheduled hours, such as 9am to 5 pm. But if chat is only offered during business hours, online visitors will quickly leave a site with a chat option that is turned off.
Both online calling and chat require human intervention, which means a human must be at the other end of the tool for it to work. These solutions can seem cost-effective on the onset, but after adding labor, benefits and other on-boarding costs, the price of these tools can potentially outweigh the benefit.
Another option is a 24/7 web engagement system that encourages clients to initiate a dialogue without human intervention. The vCita LiveSite Web Engagement Platform is available 24/7 and can be fully automated, eliminating labor costs. vCita LiveSite takes minutes to integrate and can be easily branded with any website. A LiveSite provides a dynamic communications portal so online visitors can engage on their terms, anywhere, anytime. Visitors can send a message or schedule an appointment for a selected service, and can even prepay. Businesses are immediately notified by text or email of the inquiry and can send a personalized or automated response. The visitor is successfully converted to a client and the call to action element is a measured success. After deploying vCita, business owners are free to focus on their clients and it is not uncommon to achieve a 300 percent increase in business opportunities.
It takes thoughtful planning to create a successful, engaging website so take time to include call to action elements to motivate the visitor to engage. A website can be much more than an online PowerPoint presentation of your services. It has the ability to actively work for a business, engage visitors and lead to conversion. With some forethought, your website can engage visitors, driving new business opportunities and delivering amazing customer service.