June 30, 2005, 12:00 AM

CouponCabin.com deploys online demos to save on call center capacity

By using rich media demos to show new customers how to use its online coupons, CouponCabin.com has sharply reduced the number of calls to its call center. The system serves dial-up as well as broadband users, it says.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

By using rich media demos to show new customers how to use its online coupons, CouponCabin.com has sharply reduced the number of calls to its call center, founder Scott Kluth tells InternetRetailer.com. The system serves dial-up as well as broadband users, he adds.

“The online coupon is still a new idea,” Kluth says, adding that customers used to overwhelm his call center with questions about how they work, or about why they weren’t honored in a store.

CouponCabin.com presents links to coupons at major retailers including Sharper Image, Overstock.com, Best Buy and FTD.com. By clicking on a retailer’s coupon offer on CouponCabin.com, a consumer either gets a coupon code to enter into the retailer’s shopping cart or an automatic transfer of a credit that appears in the shopping cart when she completes her order.

But many new users will print out the coupon code and take it to a store for credit, not realizing it’s only intended for online shopping, Kluth says. After being denied use of the coupon in a store, they’d call CouponCabin’s contact center, he adds.

But CouponCabin now offers in its “About Us” section a rich media demonstration of how its coupons work. The service has proved popular in customer feedback surveys and has enabled CouponCabin to reduce its call center staff, Kluth says.

In the demo, from Autodemo LLC, users hear voice-over instructions coordinated with the moving image of a cursor clicking through CouponCabin to choose and redeem a coupon offer. The demo shows how a user can choose from different starting options, such as choosing a particular store or product category, then drilling down to an actual coupon offer, then seeing how the coupon credit is applied in the final shopping cart order page.

In addition to reducing the number of customer service calls, the demo appears to have increased repeat traffic, Kluth says. “It helps traffic because it takes something that used to intimidate people and educates them on how it works,” he says.

An added plus of the system, Kluth says, is that it’s designed as a streaming rich media tool that gradually downloads in sections rather than all at once, taking about 15 seconds to appear in dial-up connections. “Most people are willing to wait,” Kluth says, noting that 95% of users who click on the demo let it run to completion.

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