Lands' End became the first of what IDT Corp. expects will be a host of catalog clients last week when it agreed to integrate the Internet service provider's Click2Talk telephone application into its catalog Web site.
Click2Talk is an Internet telephone connection that lets customers click an icon on a company's Web page and be connected toll free to a customer service representative. Customers must have computers equipped with a soundcard, speakers and a microphone to conduct a conversation, but IDT spokeswoman Sarah Hoftsetter said those features are standard on new computers.
1-800 Flowers, Westbury, NY, uses the service, and IDT, Hackensack, NJ, is in negotiations with 25 catalog sites and 50 sites overall, according to Hofstetter. Click2Talk technology, which has been on the market for six months, has been targeted
to catalogs and other businesses that maintain a toll-free number through a direct mail campaign that is starting to see some response.
Lands' End, Dodgeville, WI, chose the application to make online shopping more convenient for its customers.
“Our goal is to ask how does the customer want to do business and how can we be there for them,” said Ron Frey, Internet business manager at Lands' End. “This is just another way to service the customer.”
Click2Talk is being positioned as a solution for households that use the Web but have only one phone line and for those who fear providing credit card information online.
Sixty percent of U.S. households with a computer have only one phone line, according to IDT and, thus, would need to end their Internet connection to make a customer service call. Hofstetter said that 89 percent of consumers are uncomfortable giving their credit card numbers on the Internet but would be more likely to provide the information to a live customer service representative.
Calls launched through Click2Talk are carried over IDT's Net2Phone Internet telephone network.