Many entrepreneurs and home business owners are looking for ways to better connect with potential clients. However, merely having a contact form may not be enough to spur potential clients into action. “Often, when someone finds a web site or reads a blog post by a consultant, there is nothing really engaging for those who want to connect,” Ran Oelgiesser told me recently. Oelgiesser is the CMO of vCita, a new service that provides an active way for clients to connect with business owners offering various services. “Our goal is to help entrepreneurs make web sites more actionable and engaging.”

vCita does this by offering a way for potential clients to schedule a meeting with you immediately. Rather than using a contact form to get in touch with you, vCita provides a special, personalized widget that allows the potential client to immediately schedule a meeting.

How vCita Works

I tried out vCita, having a custom widget created. The process was simple. I filled out my basic information, indicated the cost for a consultation (in my case, it would be free, since I’d be using vCita to set up client meetings to discuss my services)¬†and then used a calendar to set my schedule. “You define your general work hours, or you can customize your available for specific day,” Oelgiesser said. “Then, the client can choose three different options that work well for him or her, and you can pick your favorite of those three. Once the meeting is set, you each get an invitation to the meeting.”

You can choose to have a video meeting, audio meeting, or a browser-only meeting. You can also set up a phone conference, and arrange to share documents and other written communication during the meeting. vCita handles it all. And, when you bill the client, vCita takes care of that, too.

“vCita also secures a payment method from the client if you charge a consultation fee,” Oelgiesser explained. “This way, the business owner knows that a credit card or PayPal account has been verified, and the client is capable of paying for the service you offer. You can also request payment in advance, or arrange to bill later.”

What Does vCita Cost?

One of the most impressive things about vCita is that it is free — until you start charging. If you are simply looking for a way to engage others, and you aren’t charging a fee, vCita costs you nothing. The cost of vCita comes in when you start collecting online payments through vCita, or if you want to arrange phone conferences, customize terms of service, or look for other more in-depth services. Google Calendar synchronization, meeting scheduling and reminders, built-in contact forms, and a number of other features are free.

Who Could Benefit from vCita?

Personally, I think anyone who offers services and wants to be able to quickly engage clients by getting them to set a meeting while they are on a site or impressed by a blog post can benefit from vCita. Financial planners can use vCita to easily set up consultations and then bill later. vCita will keep track of the time you are on, and help you bill accordingly. Others can benefit as well, as Oelgiesser illustrated: “Perhaps you are a clothing designer selling unique items. If you customize your designs, potential clients can use this to set a meeting to discuss their specifications. Additionally, the designer can show designs and samples for approval using the video feature. And, when the job is complete, can use vCita to invoice and collect payment.”

If you don’t have much client interaction, though, vCita may not work as well, since the service is really about online engagement and spurring potential clients to contact you immediately.

Disclosure: I received no financial benefit from writing this review.