Show Me The Price Already!
This article has been republished in its entirety on August 11, 2019
(original publication date September 27, 2017)
Ever go to a website, shopping for something online, and they want you to call ... yeah, on a phone ... for pricing?
"What? Are they serious? Who has time for this?"
Oh, and the 'best' part? More often than not you reach voice mail; so now you need to wait for them to call you back. The irony! Ultimately (most of the time) they do call back ... but often at the most inconvenient moment when you're totally not focused anymore on the things you wanted to ask, or right when you're in the middle of something where you can't pick up. Fun, huh?
Oh, and here's another favorite (not!): Ever go to a website, shopping for something online, and there's no price in sight? But then you spot "it" ... over there, in the right margin, up in the header. The clouds part. Your day brightens. The world seems to shift to slow motion. "OMG," you think to yourself, "There 'it' is: the fabled 'Pricing' button! Yay, I'm saved!" Confidently, you maneuver over to it. You click anticipatorily* (*yeah, it's a word—we actually had to check!). For a moment nothing happens. But then? A new page starts loading, its coveted information about to be revealed. You're thinking, "If this price looks good, I can buy this thing and get it off my to-do list. I will have accomplished this. Yes!! That's gonna be so great! Finally I'll be done! Finally I can move on! Finally ..." You suddenly stop short, your heart sinking.
"A contact form? Are you kidding me? You won't just give me a price? I need to fill 'this' out first? Then press 'Submit'? Then hope somebody's back there actually paying attention to these forms? When will I hear back? Will I hear back?"
We've all had this experience shopping online and, frankly, it's super frustrating. So, when it came to publishing Clover Forest's new wedding packages, the historic James River estate and special event venue decided to approach things differently ... with an online quoting system.
How does it work? Easy-peasy. Check it out:
Choose one of 4 wedding packages
Select a date
Enter your PIN (if you don't have one, a PIN is instantly issued)
Enter your guesstimated guest count
Presto! You're done. A total price appears, even with the sales tax figured. But the convenience doesn't stop there:
If there's a sale or promotion going on while you're on the site getting a quote, you'll see it. If you've chosen a discounted date, you'll see it. If your date's already taken, you'll see it along with some surrounding dates that are still available, in case your taken date was flexible.
Straightforward. Transparent. Simple.
And there's more:
Got an airline credit card racking up miles to cover that honeymoon? Great! Click the button for the "Pay-In-Full" discount, book your event with an upfront payment, and get that mileage point balance up in no time.
Prefer to pay over time? Not a problem. If a payment plan is available for the date you picked, you'll see the "View Payment Plan" button. Click it to review the payment schedule. Easy.
So, how did Clover Forest do this? Deidre Jane, one of the venue's co-founders, explains it this way: "We're always striving to give people the best tools to help them know if Clover Forest is the special event venue for them. The online quoting system is just the latest tool we've developed." She continues, "We represent this beautiful property, steeped in history and elegance. It's perfect for special events. And we've got the most creative, compassionate, helpful staff you can imagine. And now we have this tool. It's what we ourselves would want if we were out there venue shopping."
It doesn't hurt that Ms. Jane, a transplant from California's Silicon Valley, has been working on computers and source code since hard drives in personal computers were the size of shoe boxes. (That's the early 1980s for those who weren't alive or might not otherwise know.) Her company PowerSolvers.com is a long-time think tank and consultancy that specializes in solving problems creatively and with technology. "It's only respectful to people to get them information they need in a timely manner, and these days 'timely' means 'instantly'," she says.🍀