Zingaya launches tweet-to-call service, when 140 characters isn't enough

Zingaya, the UK-based VoIP startup, has launched a fun new service today that makes it easy for your Twitter followers to call you. I’m calling it tweet-to-call in reference to the company’s main offering, its click-to-call widget that can be embedded on any web page. Dubbed zin.to, here’s how the new service works:

After logging in through Twitter, you’re asked to link your account with either a phone number (U.S.-only for now) or your Skype username. Next you choose whether to let any of your followers call you or only a specific Twitter user. And finally, you specify the window of opportunity or how long you want the tweet-to-call option to be open. The service then sends out a tweet along the lines of “@sohear please call me within 30 minutes via http://zin.to/”.

Pretty neat, huh.

A few caveats. As already mentioned, it will work with U.S. landline and mobile numbers only for now, although having only just thrown it out there, the company plans to open it to other countries soon. Secondly, the first 30 mins of call forwarding is free per-day after which you’ll need to buy credit, which is obviously how Zingaya plans to monetize this new service. That said, if you enter your Skype username instead, there aren’t any limits. Either way, it’s a way of letting followers call you without revealing your phone number or Skype handle. In my case, that means it’s also PR-proof.

So how might this be used in the real world? The company gives the following examples.

A pizza store Tweets that they’re having a 2-for-1 pizza special for the next 60 minutes.  People following the pizza store’s Twitter feed can click on the Tweet, putting the customer immediately in touch with the pizza store.  The customer talks through their web browser, the pizza store talks through their landline. Adds incentive to following a company.

An online retailer who sees their best conversion rates when their call center is engaged through the phone. They could use Zingaya’s zin.to Twitter app to get prospects on the phone with call center reps (through special Twitter deals).

Both work for us.