Had been working on the specifications of a VOIP based offering that could be a part of the so called "Web 2.0" providing advertisers ,and websites a way to embed a "call me" link , allowing for customers to get in touch using clients like "Google Talk" or "Skype".
Building up on my previous post about Google talk and pay per call, here i discuss how companies like Google and Yahoo can go about providing VOIP solution.
Companies like Google, Yahoo or MSN are uniquely positioned to provide users with the option of providing VOIP based "call me" buttons or links as a means of reaching advertisers. These call me buttons in turn can trigger "google talk" or "yahoo messenger" which are then routed to the merchants call center or customer service.
The VOIP calls might get routed either from "ad clicks", "search results", "auction sites", "maps" or "Email Ads" or directly from a company homepage. Companies like Google or Yahoo providing this facility can charge per call based on where the call gets routed from. Obviously if new business is driven to the business via "ad Clicks" the charge is going to be higher compared to a link on the homepage.
This kind of offering would be greatly help business that are bound by international boundaries. Take for instance, if one wanted to call up and do travel booking with an airlines or hotel or tour operator based in Europe or Asia, customers can call for free using "Skype" or "Google talk" and setup their travel. This kind of offering can become a "must have" since merchants not providing this facility might end up losing on some of the international clients.
Broadly speaking there can be three components to this kind of a VOIP system , the server part that will accept inbound calls, IM BOT that basically does the authentication, routes calls etc and the client API similar to Google Maps API that provides websites to a way to display hyper link to start a VOIP call.
VOIP Server: Self hosted or centralized
1. This Server would be standard IM / Voice server and will have capability to accept calls from any VOIP client like Yahoo, MSN, SKYPE and Talk.
2. Customers should have the option of either using self hosted server or go for a centralized model, similar to Google maps.
3. In case the customers are buying the server with the service then the VOIP Server should be able to integrate with the existing internal call center setup, including the phone based menu options.
4. From the customer perspective, this is a great value add since the CSR's are basically transparent to where the call originated and no additional setup is required to get this service running.
5. Since there is no phone involved from the caller side, the tone based menu options need to be replaced with keyboard and mouse click based menu options.
6. The server will host an automated BOT the takes the user preference after the call has started and then route the call according. A BOT will have more flexibility compared to the standard keypad based menu options.
VOIP BOT: For call automation and routing
1. When the end users are calling in, basically they are going to get connected the BOT which will be routing the call.
2. The BOT will have capability to accept Keyboard menu options and also show intelligent information to the customer based on its interaction with the customer
3. BOT should have the capability to authenticate users and display the user account information in case they don't need manual assistance.
4. The advantage with VOIP BOT is that a lot of these operations can be automated if the call is originating from the computer. Take for instance, customers who are calling request account status or status of an order. All this static information can be readily made available either in the chat window or via hyper link.
5. For companies like Dell which have extended wait times, accurate information about the wait time can be provide and also call back option can be easily enabled.
VOIP API: For embedding the "Call Me" link on HTML screens
1. Advertisers who are planning on using these services, the authentication model will be similar to Google Maps authentication model.
2. Customer registers their website and they are given an API Key, which is to be used by them. This key is specific to the Domain for which it is registered and cannot be used at other places.
4. This KEY is also used for tracking "Talk Usage" and billing.
5. In case the call gets routed because of advertisements or search result or a link in say Email that would be tracked and the "pay per call" charges would be higher.
This basically is a summary of a concept paper that I have been working on, to provides a way to make VOIP as convenient and cheaper means of communication on the internet.