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When Click-to-Call Becomes Tap-to-Call: Two Powerful Forces Reshape Consumer-to-Business Communication

Shai Berger, Co-founder & CEO, F┼Źnolo

Date: Monday, June 27

Time: 11:30 - 11:30 AM

Location: Salon E

Category: Concept & Futurism

For decades, the process of calling a large company was the same: You dial their number, navigate the phone menu, wait on hold and then connect with an agent. Technology has made some incremental improvements, such as replacing the tone-based menu with voice recognition (which most people dislike just as much). But the basic process has stayed the same, as has the public's general distaste for it.   

Thankfully, a major change in this process is happening. It's a change that will benefit consumers by removing the long-dreaded annoyances of navigating phone menus, waiting on hold, and repeating information needlessly to agents. It's a change that will also benefit the companies by making agents more efficient and lowering the substantial costs of running a call center. The new process will allow the consumer to navigate the phone menu visually, provide key information in advance, and then request a call when the next relevant agent is available.   

This breakthrough is the product of two forces: 1) The smartphone, with its flexibility, power and growing ubiquity. And 2) The long experiment that's been quietly happening on the web with click-to-call technology.   

The simple trick of click-to-call has been a powerful force for innovation because it allows one to inject the creativity of the web world into the locked-down telephony world.  Once a phone call is being mediated by a 3rd party server, there are enormous possibilities: routing international calls cheaply, recording a voice message for transcription, navigating phone menus automatically, etc. In fact, click-to-call was the key spark that ignited a hundred different "voice 2.0" ideas roughly 5 years ago.   

But despite its many successes, click-to-call has always been hampered by the awkward transition between devices: One starts the transaction on a computer and then continues on the phone. This process was never as natural as the "native" dialing experience -- a "second class experience".   

The smartphone fixes this. Click-to-call becomes "tap-to-call" (which is how *all* calls on the smartphone are started) and the transaction happens all on one device.  So now, the web-augmented calling experience and the native calling experience have converged. Everything we've learned with click-to-call can be brought to the smartphone and elevated to a "first-class" calling experience.   

This talk will use examples that are here today, or just around the corner, to show how this phenomenon is changing the way that customers and companies connect by voice.

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