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Social Media Commerce: Make Free Calls with Skype

Social media provides lots of ways to connect with your customers and answer their questions. In the 2011 Avaya Consumer Preference Report, the preferred mode of contact for customer service matters was the telephone. Skype provides a service for placing and receiving calls. You can use Skype to place free calls from computer to computer and, for a small fee, to forward incoming calls to your landline or cell phone.

When you sign up for a Skype account, you have the option of capturing code for using buttons on your website. The buttons (see figure) are easy to customize and can be installed anywhere on your site. After you install the code for the button on your web pages, all your customer needs to do is click, and Skype rings you at your computer and allows you to talk live.

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In addition, a button can show your availability on Skype: Call Me, Skype Me, Online but Not Available, Offline, or I’m Away. Keep in mind that there’s no reason to ever be “away.” For a tiny fee, Skype forwards all queries to your landline or mobile. If you’re really not available, whoever is trying to reach you can also leave a voicemail.

Your customers can contact you through their computer microphone and speakers to yours at no cost to you. You can also opt to have Skype forward incoming calls to your home or cell phone when you’re away.

Providing that extra level of customer service through person-to-person, live-voice interaction can save many a sale and gives you the opportunity to negotiate, add a personal touch to transactions, or up-sell. For example, if customers are making a large purchase, offer them discounts or sale prices on related items. (The operators at Victoria’s Secret do this very successfully.)

With all of today’s technology, there’s no excuse for failing to connect online to your customers.

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