[label type=”important”]Print Media[/label]
Outbound telemarketing is used to solicit subscriptions and renewals to newspapers and magazines. Instead of having agents place calls manually, Computer Telephony systems use predictive dialers that place calls automatically from a list stored in a computer. Once a call is placed and an answer is detected, the call is transferred to an agent for handling. This leaves the agents with more time to speak with potential customers.
A classified listing in the local newspaper includes a telephone number to call for a recorded description of the item in question. After listening to the recording, callers may choose to be connected to the person who placed the advertisement. The number can be dialed automatically to preserve the privacy of the called party.
Reprints Of Articles
A magazine offers reprints of articles by fax. Callers dial a listed number and enter a code printed with the article, or they select from a spoken menu. Once a selection is made, they are prompted to enter their fax number and credit card and expiration date. The text of each article is stored as a computer file and is sent by fax server as soon as the calling party hangs up.
Wholesalers and retailers can use a Computer Telephony system to let their regular customers determine whether an item is in stock, and if so, to order it. A customer calls the system and is prompted to enter an account number. Once the account is verified, the caller enters item numbers and the quantity of each item needed. The system verifies each order by playing back the choice and informs the caller when the item is out of stock. When a session is finished, the system sends a copy of the order to a printer. The printed report can be used to pick the orders from stock. A list of out-of-stock items is maintained so the distributor will know which products need to be reordered.
Manufacturers can check the status of a shipment by dialing a Computer Telephony system and entering an order number. The system obtains the latest record from a database and plays a recording indicating the shipment date and any reasons for delay. The system is programmed to delay shipment to customers who have no credit record or have a bad credit history.
Many people find it difficult to locate dealers or service centers for products they have purchased or are considering. A locator system automatically routes callers to the closest dealer or provides alternative suggestions where an item might be purchased or repaired.
It can be very expensive for a company to inform the public when a product is recalled. A Computer Telephony system can provide this information at less expense by handling thousands of calls a day. Customers who call an advertised number are asked to enter a serial number or other identifying number to ensure that the recall applies to them. If it does, the system plays a recording that tells them the status of the product recall program, how to fix the problem, or where to take the product for repair.
Fax On Demand
Customers interested in purchasing a product can receive free information about the product by fax. They call a toll-free number and are prompted to enter a product identification number and their fax number. The system sends them a fax automatically. The number of the fax service is featured in print advertisements along with a list of the product identification numbers.
[label type=”important”]Professional/Recreational Associations[/label]
Merchants who must verify a customer’s membership or certification in order to sell or rent specialized equipment can dial into an association’s database and enter the customer’s name. After database lookup, the application can confirm the customer’s qualifications. A return fax can serve as proof of authorization.
[label type=”important”]Real Estate[/label]
A Computer Telephony system can be used to help potential buyers find a house. Callers dial a number and are prompted to enter information such as price range, neighborhood, number of rooms, style of house, etc. The system searches a database of homes currently on the market and responds by playing a description of any available homes that meet the specified criteria. The number of the broker selling the home is provided in case the caller is interested. The system may also offer to automatically place calls to the appropriate broker.
Lawn-Sign Number Lookup
Prospects enter the number listed on the lawn sign or “for sale” sign of a property that interests them. An audiotex message gives the property’s asking price, plus additional description, and offers to forward the call through to the listing agent.