angry phone callUpdated

A lot of companies want to help you test your websites. Now a startup called Volta wants to help companies test their phone calls.

The problem, said founder Patrick Stockwell, is that many companies aren’t calling their customers, and the companies that do don’t have a way to track which calls are paying off. Stockwell demonstrated his product on-stage today at the Launch conference in San Francisco.

Basically, Volta takes the A/B testing approach for websites, where you try out two different versions and see which one gets the best results, and brings it to phone marketing. (Another company called Overstat launched an easy A/B web site testing tool at Launch this morning.) Companies can create multiple scripts for their phone calls then mark down which conversions resulted in a sale or whatever else they were looking for, and which ones didn’t. Over time, the company can compare the results across all the scripts, get rid of the ones that didn’t work, and come up with new ones.

There’s also a component involving automation and online phone calls over VoIP (Stockwell said Volta integrates with services like Twilio and Ifbyphone), but to be honest I didn’t quite understand it, and there’s no information on the company’s site either. I’ve emailed Volta for details and will update if I hear back.

Still, the judges seemed less confused than I was. All of them said the company was one of their favorites. 500 Startups founder Dave McClure even walked up to Stockwell, handed him his card, and said that if Volta does what Stockwell said, “I will write you a fucking check.” He later said that he has a “raging boner” for the company. George Zachary, the partner at Charles River Ventures who was an early investor in Twitter, said he was similarly enthusiastic, although he lacked McClure’s audacity.

Update: Shotwell just sent me the following explanation of how Volta automates the call process:

Volta allows companies to insert “call triggers” into their existing software. E-commerce, CRM, etc. When a call gets triggered (purchase is made, credit card is expired, etc etc) the call appears in the Volta “call queue”. Agents can log in, plug in their USB headsets, and click call. The calls are routed from the browser via services like Twilio, Cloudvox, and IfByPhone.

Basically, instead of dumping a bunch of phone numbers into the system to call, they are automatically added every time a certain event happens from within a companies existing software.

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