Monday, September 13, 2010

Shoes of Prey - Phone Support

2 weeks ago we added a phone number to our contact us page which displays to customers with an Australian IP address, and we think it's working quite well. We average around 5 calls per day and for many of the calls the customer has ended the call planning to make an order. The customers who call in tend to be less internet savvy than our average customer, so speaking to us on the phone no doubt helps them feel more confident to make a purchase online when they may not have done this before.

In doing research into ways to build trust with customers, having a phone number listed on the site was something that was mentioned as helping customers trust you as a business, so even if they don't call just having the number there might help with conversions. We also added a video of Carmen saying hi and introducing herself on the contact us page.

On the operational side for now we've gone with a simple Skype In Australian number so any of Carmen, Mike, Jodie and I can just login to Skype to receive calls as they come in. We can all be logged in at the same time and each be on a separate call too which is convenient. We mentioned on the website that we'll be available to take calls between 10am-4pm Sydney time.

Moving forward, Brad Lindenberg of Lindgolf uses a company called Toll Free Forwarding to give him a US number that forwards to his Australian phone. It's reasonably priced so we'll probably do that once we launch the phone number into other countries.


  1. Hey Michael,
    We use Skype too. On our Contact Us page we have an AU and a US phone number. Both of those numbers are Skype numbers. We have also setup Skype voicemail, so when people call us from the US and we're sleeping they just leave a message. We also include the time and date in Australia on our contact page so people don't expect us to be there :-)

    I think we pay something like $30/year for each number. It's so easy to get a US number through Skype, why delay?

  2. Hi Jeni, ah, for some reason I had thought you could only get one online number per Skype account, however I see you can get them in lots of countries for the 1 account, that's great! I suppose the decision we'll need to make then is whether having a standard landline number is ok, or whether we want to go for a toll free or nationwide local number. It looks like Skype don't offer 1300 or 1800 numbers or their equivalents overseas. My feeling is that doesn't really matter too much, but I might try and look into that some more. Is that something you considered?

  3. Hey Michael,
    Yeah I think before we launched I looked into it and it's quite expensive. I'm glad we didn't because we get very few phone calls, and the majority of those are Vogue etc trying to sell advertising. Sounds like your call volumes are much higher, but no harm in trying the local US number, and then if volumes are high, look into the 1800.

  4. that's interesting michael, we actually took down our phone number a few months back, and have been toying whether we want to offer it again. your point about less web savvy customers calling is exactly what we got and spending 10 X 10mins on the phone just didn't prove to be super efficient. it's something we'll revisit and i hope you do another post on it in future.

  5. Hey Michael,

    Another great call forwarding company you should check out is They are able to forward your calls to anywhere in the world, including Australia (if that's where you need it to go). Just choose the number you want and have the calls forwarded to your current number or any line you want. It's really inexpensive and the service is impeccable!