Corbin Motors Uses SmartManual for Sparrow Cars

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Corbin Motors Inc. has installed an online interactive manual for its Sparrow electric commuter cars to reduce calls to its technical support lines.

Called SmartManual and created by OneCare Inc. the manual is designed to offer highly interactive customer support to owners of Sparrow, a one-seater three-wheel electric car priced at $14,900.

Located at, the manual is a step up from jargon-filled print manuals. Its interactivity is not just meant to offer answers to questions Sparrow car owners might have.

"Most manufacturers wrestle with the fact that their customers might visit their site once or twice to get product information before making a purchase," said Ross Glatzer, CEO of OneCare, Pleasantville, NY,. "We're helping to transform that Web site into a home base."

The SmartManual comprises text, photographs, video, three-dimensional product views and animation. As a troubleshooter, it explains how to assemble, install, operate and repair the Sparrow.

"We created software that provides a strong economic alternative to paper manuals and 800 numbers, and one of the things this software does is it takes advantage of the Internet," Glatzer said.

He said the SmartManual is a tool for market differentiation and helps reduce calls. According to Forrester Research and Gartner Inc. estimates, the average cost for technical support is between $12 and $18 per call.

Corbin Motors, Hollister, CA, usually receives 25 to 30 telephone calls a day from customers seeking help.

Since its installation last month on, the SmartManual section of the site has attracted an estimated 2,500 visitor sessions.

Founded in 1999, Corbin started making Sparrows after its spinoff from Corbin-Pacific Inc., a supplier of motorcycle seats and accessories. Its environmentally friendly vehicle line will be expanded with the launch early next year of the Merlin and the Merlin Roadster.

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